Today is our anniversary. December 18th. Eighteen years ago two people, one still in their teens and the other barely out of college, said I do.
I would say that it is our golden anniversary but a golden anniversary is when a couple is married 50 years. However, when someone turns a certain age on the date of their birthday, people call it their golden birthday so I have been telling people that it’s our golden anniversary.
No wonder they have looked at me a little confused and then just politely walk away with that “you have no idea what you are talking about” kind of smile.
Regardless, today is our anniversary.
Saturday evening we had a date night to celebrate. I am not much of a romantic – however, we did eat Kansas City BBQ, visited ZALES, stopped at Five Below to look for some last-minute stocking stuffers, and finished our date night with a stroll through the aisles at Target.
Pretty exciting, huh? Hang with me because I am going to come back to the excitement.
I am horrible at buying gifts. Two years ago to celebrate, I wrote a blog titled 99 Reasons For Loving My Wife. I wanted to tell the world how much I love Shayla. Check it out and it just might encourage you to look at ways that you love your spouse that you might not have thought about before.
Leading up to this year’s anniversary, I began to panic again about buying a gift. See, we really do not buy each other gifts. We never really have. I am the worst person in the entire world to buy a gift for. I am not even joking. I really am. The worst. It’s not even close.
There is a story why I am this way but I will save that for another time.
I thought for a while about what Shayla might like. Or what she might need. She needs a replacement K-Cup holder for her Keurig. Every morning I watch her scoop out coffee grounds from her coffee mug and ask her why she doesn’t just go to Bed Bath & Beyond or Amazon and buy a new one.
Nothing screams HAPPY ANNIVERSARY quite like an $8 plastic part for your coffee maker. I decided against it.
So, I was back to trying to figure out what I could get for her.
Okay, back to the excitement (or lack of excitement as many of you might be thinking) of our anniversary celebration date night. Yes, we went to eat barbeque. The reason why? Because we like to know what we are ordering when we are ordering.
Pulled pork. Brisket. Burnt Ends. These are things that we know.
Nothing frustrates us both more than going to a restaurant and not knowing anything on the menu, then leaving with a bill that could have been a nice contribution to the kids college fund.
Dinner was delicious and we then headed to ZALES. The store with lots of gold and diamonds.
Maybe this is where the story gets romantic and I buy Shayla something new and shiny and we leave skipping down the sidewalk into the night arm in arm…
The story doesn’t gain the excitement here. We go to ZALES once every 6 months to get her earrings cleaned and inspected. We have been doing this every six months for the past 13 years. I bought Shayla the earrings for our 5th anniversary in 2004.
We then went to Five Below and finished with the all so popular stroll through Target for all middle-aged married couples. There is something magical about walking through Target without kids. I don’t know what it is but it’s magical and we enjoy it every time. All of you parents with young kids know EXACTLY what I am talking about.
We were home by 8:00 and watching Home Alone 2 with the kids by 8:30.
Ladies and gentlemen, that was our 18th anniversary date celebration.
The reason I share all of this with you is because while today is our anniversary and it should be a special day, I believe that most married couples put too much emphasis on one day rather than celebrating the other 364 days out of the year.
I love Shayla more than anything this side of heaven. I love her more than pizza. I love her more than Kit-Kats. I love her more than running. I love her more than my kids.
We celebrate being married every single day because we realize what we have now was almost gone.
Too often in a marriage, the fights and discontent flood the relationship but then they are put on hold to celebrate the one day each year. The selfies in front of the restaurant are taken and the posts on Facebook are broadcast to tell the world how much you love each other so you can have all your friends “like” the post and tell you how happy the two of you look.
But behind the façade of Facebook, your marriage is falling apart or has already fallen apart. You are amazed that you have made it this far and have thoughts of wonder if you will make it another 364 days to the next day to celebrate.
Maybe you have had these thoughts behind the mask of social media.
If you do not make it another year, it is probably best because you would be happier by yourself. If you decide to call it quits, it would be easier on the kids in the long run and maybe you could have the marriage that you always dreamed of with someone else.
IT IS ALL A LIE. You would not be happier by yourself. The fairy tale marriage is not possible with someone else. The kids would not be better off in the long run.
It is all a lie that the enemy wants you to believe.
What if you celebrated today even though your anniversary is not for another 5 months?
What if you spent 10 minutes talking with your wife about your first date and laugh about the memories that you remember?
What if you grabbed your husbands hand while driving across town like you did when you were dating and you couldn’t wait to hold his hand in yours?
What if you celebrated every day because you were woke up to the person who God put specifically in your life to navigate with?
Marriage is hard. I get that. Trust me. I called it quits. I threw in the towel. Divorce papers were filed and our marriage was headed to complete destruction.
If I was only with someone else. If I only lived there instead of here. If I only had someone who loved me. If I only have someone who respected me.
I SAID EACH OF THESE THINGS AND MANY MORE THAT MAKE THESE STATEMENTS SEEM LIKE COMPLIMENTS.
We lived that turmoil that you are living in. We experienced the pain that you are experiencing. We survived the storm that was put in our path. It wasn’t by chance. It wasn’t by accident. And it wasn’t by luck.
It was by the grace of JESUS.
When we surrendered our lives individually to Jesus, we surrendered our marriage to Jesus.
Once we began to experience the marriage that God intended for us to have, we began to celebrate the mundane routine of day in and day out.
Whatever condition that your marriage might be in, know that there is a God who loves you and loves your spouse more than you can even comprehend. He wants nothing more than your marriage to thrive the way that He intended marriages to thrive.
He is waiting for you to surrender so your marriage can be reconciled.
2 Corinthians 5:18-19 gives us this promise.
18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19 that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.
Shayla, I LOVE YOU.
I celebrate today with you just as we do the other 364 days in a year. I am forever grateful that we surrendered so our marriage and life together could be restored.
I can’t wait to see what the next 18 years holds for us. Let's go.