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How we’ve stayed married for 15 years

We celebrated our wedding on June 7, 2000. Which fell on wednesday. “You’re getting married on a wednesday??” people gasped. “Is that a German thing?” Of course not. No culture I know favors wednesday weddings. People get confused when wednesday is chosen and made special. I was born on a wednesday though and mom always said it was the best day of her life. Turns out my husband was born on wednesday too, May 7 the same day I got baptized years earlier. Seven is a cool number, I think. There are seven kids in my family, seven days, seven notes on the musical scale, seven directions. Seven symbolizes completion and wholeness in scripture. Bummer June 7, 2000 fell on wednesday. I loved the way that date looked in writing. There were practical reasons too. I only had two weeks off from school. The first weekend was graduation and the second weekend would have cut our honeymoon way short. In the end, wednesday won.

The good thing about picking a day no one else wants is options. Like changing your location at the last minute. Our invitation encouraged people to kick of their sandals and join us for exchanging vows on the sandy shore of Lake Michigan. Our German friends had a beautiful home with a private beach which seemed like a perfect setting. Except as things got closer, I started to get stressed out. How was the sound system going to work out? What about the weather? Will it end up being totally informal with kids romping around throwing sticks? The main access to this beach was a long set of wooden stairs from our friends yard and so on. So last minute, we changed locations to the oldest courthouse in Michigan. It’s beautiful and booked out 1-2 years for weddings. Except if your celebration falls on wednesday.

It turned out to be a beautiful day and I almost regretted not doing the beach thing. But as soon as the string quartet played- they sounded magnificent in the old courtroom with tall ceilings- I knew we were in the right place. We had cake for everyone at the courthouse and a longer reception at our friends place at the beach. It was a beautiful day and my cheeks hurt from smiling so much. When we wrapped up around 8pm our american friends yawned- Wow- what a long wedding (we got married at 11am) while our german guests wondered how the party could end so soon…

Fifteen years later I still sense bits of cultural differences in our marriage. Our perception of what is ‘normal’ remains as varied as our cultural backgrounds. Yet in many ways we are quite alike. Our mutuality draws us together with a deep sense of understanding. It also pushes us apart because we can end up hurt and empty at the same time for similar reasons. Both of us are quite pleasant to interact with for limited periods of time. But put us together for too long and add a little noise, stress, chaos, disruption and our social skills disintegrate. Marriage is humbling because it puts the squeeze on my shiny self and I don’t always like to see what comes out. I’d rather be alone with my dark side and marriage does not give me that option. We are learning though and changing. We’re less scratchy then we used to be and we no longer fight dirty. We cut each other more slack because we’ve needed it ourselves. We’re learning to use our words while teaching the kids to do the same. It’s hard. And rewarding. We’re less critical and more accepting. We have been finding words to wrap around those tender feelings stuffed down for too long. We are changing. Our marriage itself is ever adjusting to another change, a new situation, our own fickleness. Yet somehow, someway, we keep finding each other. Our rough edges are becoming smoother. Our marriage appears to survive on two lines of our most frequent text: I am sorry. I want to be your friend. 

Our marriage is working I think because somehow we keep finding each other. We know we’re works in progress and we are willing to listen to each other. We believe in grace and require it often. Marriage is harder than I thought because I am more broken than I thought. My knight in shining armor sometimes becomes a mirror in which I catch a glimpse of the ugliest version of myself. God have mercy. 

But love is worth fighting for and I am deeply grateful for the man who keeps wrestling with me.

So how do you stay married for 15 years? Here is a thought:

Don’t spend all your money on a wedding, you’ll want some left to pay for therapy.

 

wedding9 copy

 

wedding beach

Linking Up with Holly:

and Kellie:

purposefulfaith.com

14 Replies

  1. Shawna

    Beautiful! We love you guys. Happy Anniversary!!

    1. Astrid Melton

      Thanks friend! We are grateful for your friendship.

  2. This morning, Jennifer and I were laughing about this statement: “Don’t spend all your money on a wedding, you’ll want some left over to pay for therapy.”

    I didn’t know all that stuff about 7s, Wednesday, etc. Enjoyed the wedding, enjoyed the courthouse, and the beach. It was a good day!

    1. Astrid Melton

      It was great to have you guys there!

  3. So glad I visited here today from #RaRaLinkup! I love the part about 7s…my birthday is June 7th! How fun. And marriage. YES. I loved how you said we keep finding each other. Marriage is hard, even with similar backgrounds. Such a beautiful picture you’ve drawn here of how hard it is, what a struggle, and yet how worthwhile. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Astrid Melton

      Happy belated birthday! Dates are less important to me now but June 7 will always be special.

  4. Haha, I love your ending suggestion!! : )

    Also, this -“Marriage is humbling because it puts the squeeze on my shiny self and I don’t always like to see what comes out.” YES!

    Thanks for these wonderful words and welcoming others into what the Lord has taught you! Love from a #RaRaLinkup sister!

    (and happy anniversary!!)

    1. Astrid Melton

      Thanks for your kind words, appreciated.

  5. Happy anniversary! We got married on a beach almost 12 years ago, and people still talk about how fun it was 🙂

    1. Astrid Melton

      Cool. It’s definitely a great backdrop for photos.

  6. What a beautiful post, Astrid! Just lovely. This is a great description of marriage as a refining process. I love your text: “I’m sorry. I want to be your friend.” I’m going to send this to a friend who’s celebrating her anniversary on the 23rd.

    1. Astrid Melton

      Thanks Betsy. Marriage is hard and good-makes us better people hopefully…

  7. rachel

    This is just the greatest: “My knight in shining armor sometimes becomes a mirror in which I catch a glimpse of the ugliest version of myself. God have mercy.” Totally relate to so much of what you said…your story is true, encouraging, uplifting and points to Jesus the whole way. What a gift!

    1. Astrid Melton

      Yeah- someday it’s more than a glimpse… one thing noteworthy for 2015 is that we no longer fight like hormonal teenagers which is wonderful progress!

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