We made it to Wyoming! It’s been a little bit of a roller-coaster so far, and there’s a lot to write about (new church, Charlie’s first day at work, antelope sightings, giant ice cream cones, supernatural sunsets, etc.)
However, today is our third anniversary and all those silly “life” details will have to wait! We’ve been looking forward to today for weeks and can’t let it go by without some celebratory reflection on the last three years.
I think most people would consider beginning the fourth year of marriage as stepping out of “newlywed” territory. “The honeymoon is over,” they might say. All the exciting newness has worn off, and you’re just getting through the day to day together.
I say, “Even better!”
When I look back on the last three years of being married to Charlie, I can definitely say that our relationship has only improved. On our wedding day, I didn’t think it was possible to love each other more intensely. Now I know that the longer we walk down the roads of everyday life together, the more love we’re able to give each other.
Three years of living together (especially nine months of traveling the country on our own) has given us the opportunity to see the best and worst of each other. Travel nursing has put our marriage under a microscope as we depend on each other like never before. And while that’s harder at times than our simple life as newlyweds in Auburn, it’s bound us together even more as a family and as one person before God.
It would be easy to think that seeing all of each other’s weaknesses would shoot some holes in the perfect image we’ve held of each other. Yet just the opposite has been true. In my most broken moments, where I lose perspective and am at my worst, it seems like the love Charlie shows me only increases. When he’s had every reason to tell me to just get over something, he responds even more tenderly. When he’s staring my faults in the face, he decides I need more love.
I used to ask him where he learned to love so well. He would always say it’s because the Lord shows him how.
God has every reason to feel hurt and righteously angry over our actions as humans. We often show Him our worst. He would be completely justified in treating us the way we truly deserve. Yet when our faults are laid bare, His love only increases. When we’re completely broken, His mercy and grace towards us multiplies.
The verse we focused on at our wedding is 1 John 4:19. “We love each other because He first loved us.” Charlie and I love each other the way we do because we look to Christ’s example of love. Charlie leads me well because He follows the Leader. I (hopefully!) love and support him well because my life depends upon the divine source of Love.
In looking back over the past three years, I can clearly see how the Lord has guided us in loving each other according to His standards. Yes, we fight sometimes and get upset with each other. But I am always grateful for how little time we can spend in disharmony. I think the same is true of our relationship with God. Our sins cause disharmony but, as true believers, we cannot bear to stay separated from His peace for long.
So while our newlywed years were simple and blissful, I feel like we’re even more solid now. We have experienced more of life and have grown together as a family. I know that, no matter what, I’m married to a rock of a husband.
There is no one I’d rather walk both the easy and difficult roads with for the next hundred years. And there’s no one on Earth I’d rather be heading out the door to float down a river in Wyoming with than my sweet, funny, strong, honest, hard-working, godly husband, Charlie Duffield.