Twelve Years a (Love) Slave

grenade marriageTwelve years ago tomorrow, Glen and I tied the knot.

It was a glorious day, filled with laughter and love.

The honeymoon was just as I’d dreamed – and after our return, it only got better. The longer we spent in each other’s company, the more we fell in love. It was so effortless; like two pieces slotting into a whole. In Glen’s arms, I found myself and finally blossomed into the woman I’d always longed to be.

Living together was a total joy and felt like second nature.  We chuckled over each other’s foibles and quickly settled into new patterns of domesticity and (joint) godliness. Like sharing life with your best friend…except that we fancied each other more with every day! We were soul mates – and every kiss felt like the first.

Years passed and yes, there were challenges: bills we hadn’t expected, an unruly garden and the occasional evening where one of us worked late!  But the strength of our love meant that nothing could shake us. If we ever started to disagree, we’d pray and then chuckle together; each insisting that they were the one to blame. It was tempting to spend all of our time together; but we agreed that we could bless others with our love. I persuaded Glen to play more cricket and he would sweetly drive me out for coffee with the girls. Imagine our joy when we realised that we were pregnant! It happened so naturally and at just the right time. We knew we would be great parents – and sure enough, our little girl is an angel who never cries and sleeps like a dream.

So…Happy anniversary honey – here’s to another twelve years of romance and moonbeams!

Aaaah, that’s a lovely story.  I hope it’s your marriage.  But I’m afraid it’s not ours.

Our wedding was lovely – but planning it was not. #disorganisedbutperfectionist.

Honeymoon was a blast – but what’s not to like about pina colada for breakfast and someone else to wash your towels?

We came back and I lost my job. My depression got worse. A childhood eating disorder started to return.

We loved each other, but living together was HARD.  He didn’t do all the things the way I did, (right). Sometimes we were tired and we hurt each other. It wasn’t easy, like when we were dating.

The more I lived with someone else, the more selfish I realised I was.  But spotting it only made it worse.  And he was selfish too!  Maybe we’d made a big mistake.  I didn’t feel like a domestic goddess or a Fulfilled Woman. I felt the way I always did – except I was sharing life with someone who left the toilet seat up. Someone who saw the real me – beneath the smiles and the make-up.  Someone who wanted to make me feel happy all the time; but somehow couldn’t do it.

We settled into certain patterns.  We agreed on areas of life and marriage where we wouldn’t go.  Too dangerous.  Too close. I won’t ask you to change, if you don’t ask me to.

My eating disorder got worse.   The darkness felt bigger than us both.  And our love was like nothing in its shadow.

We despaired.

But there were always three of us in the marriage.

When we ripped one another apart, Christ bound us together. When our love dried up, His drenched our weary bones. When every inch of reasonableness said, ‘get out, move on, give up’  – the gospel said ‘be still. Be one.’

My husband is the best of men.  But married to the worst of women, (and that’s what addiction does), his love and his strength weren’t enough. Christ’s is – and was. He joined us and He carries us.  Through sickness and infertility and addiction and the weariness of life.

Into a spacious place.  Into a love that’s deeper than the first flush of passion. Into a relationship where we are known and loved.  Where we’re freed to be ourselves; with Him and with each other.

For 12 years I’ve rested in a husband’s love: and I thank God for every one.

But we’ll spend a lifetime in our Saviour’s arms: and that’s the real love story.



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