Today, Kelvin and I have been married 146 days. They have been days full of immeasurable joy, dinners at the dining room table, lazy Saturday mornings, trips with the family, and date nights on a Friday. We have planned vacations and shared dreams, we have slowly filled our home with life. It has been 146 days of discovering who I am within the newly established confines of “us.”
On that gorgeous day in August I made these vows, unsure of exactly where we were headed, but certain that I wanted to head there with Kelvin.
“Kelvin. Today, surrounded by all of these people who love us, I choose you.
I choose you as I have chosen no one else, to be my best friend, my husband, and the keeper of my heart.
I promise to encourage you, to inspire you, to build a home with you that is full of joy.
When life gives us challenges, I’ll be at your side, to listen to you, to cry with you, to hope with you.
In our differences, I promise to respect your opinions, trust your actions and daily honor you as the head of our family.
And as we grow and change together, my heart will always be home to you, a place of grace, forgiveness, and unconditional love.
I make these promises to you regardless of the uncertainties of our future, sure
that there is nothing life can give us stronger than what we have found in each other.
Completely in love with what I know of you, and trusting in who you will
become, I give you my heart for all of my tomorrows.
You were my first love, you are my only love, and I will always be yours.”
They’re beautiful, right? Kelvin’s were equally beautiful. Our vows were my favorite part of our entire day, and appeared to be the blessed beginning of a flawless marriage.
But 146 days later (it didn’t take long, believe me), here’s what I have learned about myself. There are times when I am REALLY bad at being married. At being a wife. Flawless, I am not.
I’m sarcastic. I’m rude. I’m selfish. I expect far more than any human being can give. Sometimes I blatantly ignore the vows I pledged those few months ago, choosing instead to act for my purposes alone.
Two are supposed to be one flesh. I learned it. I studied it. I’ve prayed it over our lives.
But I fight it. I resist it. I deny it. Because selfishly, sometimes ME is still greater than US.
And then I remember this.
““My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.”
[2 Corinthians 12:9]
I, we, are normal. I have not “uncovered” anything life altering or ground breaking about marriage these last few months. The only thing these days have proven to both of us is that marriage is exactly what we were told it would be by countless people. Marriage is a perfect covenant between two imperfect people. We are weak in our imperfections. Vows are only pretty words until you make the conscious daily decision to live them out. We will break the “rules” time and time again, because we are human. We are fashioned to make mistakes. And we can only learn how to truly love each other in forgiveness.
I didn’t have to get married to discover that I am grateful for grace, forgiveness, for love without conditions. I have been blessed to experience all three, from others, long before I met Kelvin. I am, however, discovering that the confines of marriage, or perhaps successful marriage, REQUIRE all three.
A key clicks in the lock. He’s home, back from a week away, exploring the nation’s capitol while working for our family. We have big dreams. We both have to work hard to achieve them. He peaks in the door, smiles.
“Hi. I’m home.”
“My heart will always be home to you, a place of grace, forgiveness, and unconditional love.”
I am a wife. And this is our new life together.
Photos by Suzanne Rothmeyer
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We are SO grateful to Alec Cattarin for the work he did for us on our wedding day. What a treasure this video is to both of us.