happy eight years(ish)
Mid-November, we will celebrate eight years of epic disagreements, leaving cabinet doors open and dishes in the sink overnight TO CONGEAL INTO NASTY THINGS, not putting the laundry away in a timely manner, arguing over the way we argue, being loud in front of our friends, and bickering in front of my parents.
We will also celebrate eight years of laughing until we cry (more often me than him), picking up where the other left off with chores without whining (okay, maybe just less whining), learning each other's rhythms and finding grace over and again for one another, grieving and rejoicing hardcore in different seasons, and growing deeper in love as we trust Jesus more and more.
I have a friend who is currently engaged. When we talk, she asks me thoughtful questions and worries that the difficult things in her relationship may somehow signify BAD THINGS AHEAD. She is young and it appears to her that many young engaged sweet things around seem to be having fewer disagreements and a lot more giddy & cheery engagements. I rejoice for those cuties. But I am glad she sits on my couch for these discussions because my own engagement was filled with lots of yelling and I have lived to tell the tale.
When Cam and I went for our first pre-marital counseling session, the counselor reviewed the results of our Meyers-Briggs temperament tests and basically told us Your temperaments are not complementary and without Jesus you will NOT make it and I would seriously give this some reconsideration. We left his office, probably fighting again, and said, WHAT ARE WE DOING? But we kept going back - we believed Jesus was calling us to life together and if the counselor said we needed work - then by golly, we were going to counseling FOREVER. We had one fantastic argument during our engagement where I nearly threw my ring back at my fiancè. I was grumpy and insecure and recovering from depression and it is by the grace of God that Cameron did not throw up his hands and go, "Yeah, okay. This is too much crazy for me."
Our first couple years of marriage looked the same. We are big and loud people (mostly in the privacy of our own home) and we are both right a LOT and were shocked to discover the other person also believed they were right about VERY IMPORTANT THINGS LIKE CHICKEN ALFREDO. I have a strong sense of justice and he has a strong sense of compassion and when not surrendered to the Spirit of the Living God, these traits basically become weapons in the hands of an unrighteous judge (me) and a total martyr (him).
I know - there are some sweet, gentle readers here right now thinking THANK GOD I DO NOT HAVE THEIR MARRIAGE OMW ALL THE CONFLICT.
I am just shooting straight. We are a lively pair. But in case there is further confusion: we have totally got the hots for each other.
We've been together almost a decade and I think Cam is hilarious and he thinks I am ridiculous and we laugh a lot. We have SO much forgiveness practice that we can speak the language of grace to one another so fast now. Cam is silly when I would probably stoically suggest reading a book or making a list. And I am practical when he would like to spend every free moment having a party. He tenderly and intentionally puts me first and looks for ways to affirm me as wife, mother, sister in the Lord. I (hopefully) am getting better at discerning his needs, so that they are met before he asks, with love and attentiveness.
We are opposites attract, we are hiphop & show tunes, we are messy & organized, we are spontaneity and predictability, we are what the other needs in all the best ways. We function in the most God-honoring ways we know how. We work together to listen for God's voice for our family, we support one another in decision-making, we are learning to put the other's needs before our own. We practice mutual submission, because in this divine dance of marriage we are equipped by God's grace to love and respect one another. Cam never has to demand submission, because I am submitted wholly to the Lord and respect Cam's role in our family - I trust him. And I never have to demand more love, because Cam is submitted to Christ's design for marriage and seeks to love me sacrificially and without condition. Do we flesh this out perfectly every time? Of course not. But we are intent on God's best for our family and our hearts are set on Him.
Our marriage is a lot of work and it is glorious. It is a picture of grace upon grace and I am thankful every day that Cam and I decided eight years ago that this was worth fighting for. Literally and figuratively.
* * *
Because we knew we would not have the time (or possibly the money!) in November, we decided to go away for our anniversary earlier this month. The grands took the beastie girl and we squirreled ourselves away in a tiny quiet town a few hours away. We wandered bookstores and quaint shops and ate yummy food. We read a lot of books and we slept and we explored the biggest antique marketplace ever. We talked a lot and we were quiet a lot. It was exactly us and we are so thankful God provided for time away!
I love you, Cameron M Sandel.
And yes, now I will tell the world that I deliberately did not put a "." behind the M in your name because it doesn't actually stand for anything. Just M.
Thanks for loving me for all this time and being part of God's healing work in my life. Nobody else, forever and always, Wodie.