Recently, my husband and I celebrated our 29th Wedding Anniversary. We dated for 4 years prior to getting married so we have been in each other's lives for 33 years! That's a long time. Especially by today's standards.
My husband and I are soul mates. We have known that since the day we met. We are complete opposites but together we make the perfect person. We have had our growing pains over the years but even during the darkest times, we always knew we would be there for each other. We are in it for the long haul.
People sometimes act surprised when I tell them I have been married for 29 years like that is worthy of a prize or something. They ask "what's your secret"? There is no secret. I love my husband. He loves me. We understand there will be tough times but we made a promise before God to whether the storms together.
Our marriage isn't perfect but it's perfect to me. We have our little fights. We aggravate each other. But at the end of the day, we know we love each other and everything will work out. My husband is my biggest fan.
So as I was pondering the marriage question (29 years? Wow?), I started thinking about a recent trip my husband and I had taken to St. Louis.
Foreigner and Cheap Trick were playing at an outdoor amphitheater in St. Louis and being children of the 80's - it was the perfect time for an overnight getaway to celebrate our anniversary.
This is us - ready for the show to start:
BUT - this photo almost didn't happen. Because this entire trip almost didn't happen.
You see, my husband and I work together (self-employed) and have for the past 22 years as owners of a construction company. Most of the time our business relationship works but this one particular time - it didn't. And it was all because of me.
We have a few homes that we are renovating for resale and as a Real Estate Agent, I know the dates that are prime to list a home on the market. My husband and son had been working very hard for many weeks to try to get this one particular home on the market by MY specified date but things just weren't working out that way. As with any project, there are always delays out of your control that you just must deal with and readjust. But I am OCD and I had MY DATE to list it so let's just say normal reasoning was not in my brain during this time.
My husband and son and their crew had been working as hard as they could to get this house ready but it just wasn't happening. Reality - they had only been working on this house for 3 weeks and had worked long and hard days so I should have been thankful that at this time, it was even close to being ready to sell (SHOULD HAVE being the key words here).
Was I thankful? Was I patient? Not even close. In fact I was so stuck on the date in my mind to list this house that I became - well - somewhat of a B. If I am being honest (and I always am), I was downright MEAN to my husband and pretty much anyone in my family who was associated with this house.
For two days prior to this picture being taken, I fought with my husband - incessantly. And if I wasn't fighting with him, I just simply wasn't talking to him. I told him there was NO WAY we were going to the concert because I wasn't going to pretend to be happy when in fact I wasn't (like, seriously, what the heck??)
Poor guy had absolutely no idea what was going on and probably - for a few moments anyway - questioned his own sanity for even marrying me. He thought our relationship was fine - we just couldn't get a house done on schedule (MY schedule, by the way).
But me being me (drama queen) - our entire 29 year marriage was now completely over because we could not get this house done on time and I was upset because he didn't understand how important (MY) timelines were to me. Because somehow in my pea little brain, my husband not honoring my timeline to get a house done meant he didn't love me. It was bad, ya'all. It hurts to even write this but the truth is always the truth.
We were supposed to leave on a Wednesday afternoon but by that morning the house still wasn't done so I told my husband we were NOT going to the concert. We had been arguing for 3 days and I hadn't talked to him for 1 whole day so how could we just drop everything and go "celebrate" this marriage?
But then I heard that Still Small Voice - God's amazing voice of reason started to penetrate through to my very soul. Now I believe that God has a great sense of humor and I also believe He is very real in how He treats people because the word I kept hearing in my soul was "REALLY?" "REALLY, TERRI, REALLY"?
No other words. Just a gentle jolt back to reality. So I stepped back - and I shook my head in disbelief. What in the world was I thinking? How could I have been so zoned into this one little thing that I allowed it to affect my entire life? Once I snapped back to a (sort of) normal person, I realized how absolutely stupid I had been and I called my husband.
Now, at this point, I don't think I actually apologized for my behavior (baby steps) but I did tell him the house would get done later and we needed to take our anniversary trip because we both needed a break.
And so we did. We packed a little bag and headed to St Louis for our OUTDOOR concert - and it rained! Of course it did. My life had been nothing but rain for the past week so it was quite fitting to have it rain on the ONE TIME I decided to do something right.
But guess what? The rain ended - and God gave us this:
And that got me thinking - there will always be rain in our lives. There will always be times when things don't go as planned. But - if we endure and hold fast - the rainbow will come.
Life is not about being perfect. Most days we do well just to survive. But if we can stand strong during the storm, the rainbow will come.
So I guess that is my advice for anyone asking about the "secret" to a long and happy marriage. Just love one another. Stand strong together. Have patience with one another. And endure any storms - together.
Sometimes the rain will come - but then God will bring the rainbow!