I remember how nervous I was fifteen years ago while waiting for Jana to walk down the aisle at our wedding. As I stood there anxiously, the thought of fleeing the scene crossed my mind. As I wrestled with running or staying, the ceremonial music started and Jana walked toward me through the falling autumn leaves. It was a surreal moment that I will never forget. Any doubt that had creeped into my mind quickly vanished as I admired the beautiful woman that would soon be my wife.
Our marriage has not been what we envisioned on that October day many years ago. There have been dark moments in which it was difficult to be in the same room together and joyous times in which our hearts were overflowing with love. It has been fascinating to see our marriage evolve from newlyweds, to moving overseas, to having Marley, to now being back in the States.
Last week I had a friend, who is in love, ask me what was the most important thing I had learned in fifteen years of marriage. I thought for a minute and said that the most important thing in marriage was embracing difficulties and celebrating blessings. I explained to him that it reminded me of when I first started coaching after college. Early on as a coach I never celebrated victories as much as I suffered from defeat. Basically, when I lost as a coach, it impacted me more than enjoying a victory with my players. Unfortunately, I took the same approach when I first married Jana. The difficulties in our marriage would drastically impact our relationship, but the joyous blessings from God we would skim over without genuinely rejoicing. Since Marley’s birth we have taken the time to truly celebrate the blessings and accomplishments God bestows on us. Why wouldn’t we? God desires for us to enjoy life as a loving married couple, so we should recognize and embrace His goodness. We still have difficulties in our marriage, but when we have occasions of joy, we take the time to be present. I finished my mini sermon by encouraging my friend to grieve when your marriage hurts, and celebrate when your marriage is blessed.