Sunday, October 20, 2013

Holy Matrimony!

{Recycled from the anniversary post, but it's just too darn cute}

Today our church is holding a big celebration for all of its married couples, particularly the ones who have been married for 25 years or more. Being the youngest of the bunch, the hubs and I were asked to speak during Mass and give our take on the sacrament of matrimony while simultaneously revealing how much more we have to learn.

Gulp.

I figured we needed some form of preparation and I didn't want to pen a script, so I thought a post would help get my thoughts in order. Having no guide other than "talk about marriage for five minutes," these are my Cliff's Notes:

{Also, this will publish on the day of our talk, so there's a good chance none of this actually came out of my mouth.
Just take my word for it and don't ask the parishioners, okay?}

You may or may not know this about us, but Jonathan and I met at the same Catholic Youth Convention we take a group of teens to every May. We tell the kids each year to pay attention to who they meet as you never know what God has planned. An entire decade and a half ago, our teenage selves shared a dance or two, talked over lackluster sandwiches, and sat in the same group during an icebreaker. However, other than an email or two after the convention {this was the dark ages before cell phones and Facebook, y'all}, that was our relationship. Just one weekend out of the year.

After his first year at the University of Central Arkansas, I joined him in the same dorm building, we became fast friends, spent the majority of our free time together, and the rest is history. Well, a bit of a complicated history when it boils down to it, but that's a different post for a different day.

We started our relationship in July 2005, became engaged in October 2005, and married in June 2006.

That period of my life was a complete whirlwind and I had no idea what I was getting myself into when I mumbled a shocked "yes" to my down-on-one-knee boyfriend. I didn't know how hard it would be to grow up. I didn't know that you have to work at marriage. I didn't know how overwhelming raising three kids could be. And I had no clue what true love could mean.

After seven years of marriage, I think I'm slowly figuring it out, but I can't wait to see what it's like at seventy.

From the moment we fell in love to this moment in front of friends and family, our love has grown every day. Perhaps we don't always show it and sometimes it feels like we take a step back, but we're human. There is one thing, though, that helps me know we can conquer anything life hurdles toward us.

There have been hard times over the past seven years. Financial woes, career confusion, pregnancy issues, and general frustration have created bumpy roads and wrong turns. But the one constant I see when I recall our problems is prayer. Maybe it sounds cheesy, but it's real. Whether we did it silently or aloud, holding hands or in completely separate places, we did it together. The one constant in our lives is the desperate need for God's intervention. Now I don't mean that He parts the clouds, greets us with a warm hug, and places a blinking arrow toward the solution. Far from it.

To get us through these times, we typically don't get obvious answers. We may want them, but it doesn't work that way. Instead, we look to Him for strength. For the courage to face these issues, work through them, and find peace. One of my favorite things about Jonathan is his unwavering faith. I need this in him as much as I need it in myself. I need to see him give his problems to the Lord, thank Him for all he has, and love Him unconditionally.

Together Jonathan and I try to keep the light of Christ in our marriage, we work together as a team, we laugh with each other, we offer limitless support, and we allow ourselves to falter. We are not perfect and we cannot be perfect. We will make mistakes and our relationships will take steps backward. It's the way we get back on course that makes us strong.

Don't get me wrong, I am well aware that we have barely dipped our toes into the ocean of marriage. We have so much to learn about each other and about our life together. We have a long way to go and no map to get there. I'm just thankful that I'm on this adventure with my best friend.

And to think, it all started at a gathering we attended because of our love for Jesus Christ. Imagine that.

"We love because He first loved us."
1 John 4:19


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4 comments:

Katharine said...

This was absolutely beautiful. Thanks for it!
I used to work in a medical library at a university, and a patron who was a psychologist came in and told me, "No one knows why, but if a marriage makes it through the first seven years, it makes it all the way. Well, we know that is a trend, not an irreversible fact, but it should be encouraging.
Anyway, lasting seven years is not the garantee: Jesus is. Right? :)

Jessica Bauer said...

Thanks so much, Katharine! And you are absolutely right. :) It was fantastic meeting you this weekend. Looking forward to the next time!

Jamie said...

Awesome! Your story is similar to that of me and my husband and I appreciate you sharing.

Jodi said...

Love this post! Thanks so much for sharing. :)