My husband and I are going to a wedding in August. It's yet another former Sunday school student. People we taught as teenagers are marrying and having children left and right.
Of late, I've been spending a little more time with one former student in particular. She has been married less than ten years, and I twenty-eight years. Despite this discrepancy in time, there are things we both understand about married life, and things to which we both nod in understanding. Speaking with her lately has caused me to reflect a lot on my own marriage.
After twenty-eight years, I still continue to learn about my husband, and I expect I will continue to do so. The stuff of married life changes us; suffering and trial change us. The man who courted me, and whom I foolishly thought I knew really well in 1987, continues to reveal new, rich facets of his character to me. How could it be otherwise?
Many years ago, my husband had a serious bout of cellulitis which began in his knee and was slowly making his way up to his pelvic area. He was in the hospital on intravenous antibiotics for a number of days. I had three small children eight years old and under. I remember driving to the hospital fearing what would happen if this infection did not clear up. Praise God, it did, but the massive amounts of antibiotics he took rendered his immune system rather weak, and over the following winter, he was almost every week. He would come home from a long work week and just crash all weekend, fighting a flu, a cold, or occasionally, a migraine. That exprience taught me a lot about his character in the face of health issues, and those were pretty minor compared to what some people face on a daily basis. Those lessons are not the ones you anticipate as you bask in the glow of being newly married.
I've had some health issues over the past six monhts, and there have been some hard trials along with them. I have long known my husband was a man of godly character, but having him care for me over these past number of months has shown me in even more glowing terms how God has blessed me by giving me this man. I said to him recently, "I never thought this would happen to me." Neither did he, but he did know that there would be trials. At times, I felt discouragement and I felt like a burden, but my husband said often, "In sickness and in health." He didn't know the specifics, but he knew there would be trials. I guess I knew it, too, but it's not something I dwelled on as a young bride.
Being newlyweds was fun. Planning our wedding, setting up housekeeping, and becoming a family were wonderful days, but these recent days, when I have seen the faithfulness of my husband, and seen him live out his commitment to me, have been days when I feel even more blessed than I could imagine. I have truly watched him live out the command to love his wife as he loves himself. And it really is true that when our husbands love us in this way, submission doesn't feel like a burden. I recently asked my husband's opinion about something I wanted to blog about. It was his view that I should think about it more. I didn't even hesitate to agree with him. Where did that come from? That kind of attitude was not so easy to do early in our marriage, but by God's grace, it's not as difficult today.
There are people in my local church who have been married 60+ years. By their standards, we're still young pups. If God blesses us with 28 more years, I look forward to what I'm going to learn. Marriage is still something with newness to it, and that's something I didn't anticipate when I was a bride.