Next week, I will be on vacation celebrating my second wedding anniversary with Kevin. It’s a yearly tradition of traveling this time of year that we hope to keep going for a long time.
This year, as I’ve grown more into the identity of what it means for me to be married, what comes to mind is the fact that marriage is mystery.
It is a mystery to think that two people growing up in a completely different spaces, and attending different educational institutions and spending most of their time in different cities could meet each other in the first place.
It is a mystery that after meeting each other, all of the proper things align to bring two people into a long-term dating relationship.
It is mystery that two very selfish beings (I’m talking about all of us here) would find a way to come together and say that “it is better to be together than alone.” And, would begin to make choices to include the other and put their partner first.
It is a mystery that two people would go as far as to make a covenant to one another saying when all the odds might be against them “til death due us part.”
It is a mystery that the daily process of self-sacrifice and love does and could last through the up and down moments of life.
It is mystery when two folks reach their 15, 20, or even 50 year anniversary and are not only together by legal paperwork, but are happy! And, are still working on the daily part of being the best person for each other (because it is something you have to re-learn over and over again).
Because none of these practices are “normal” to the human condition.
I know there are folks would easily begin to argue with me about the “mystery” of it all, using theological langauge to call this “God’s providence” or “God’s will” or the process of being pre-destined to find “the One.”
These phrases don’t seem loving enough to describe the God I know when the world of relationships can be so cruel.
But, after journeying over the past two years not only in my own marriage, but alongside the relationships ups and downs of others in my life, I am simply left with love and marriage to all be a mystery to me.
It is a mystery because I just don’t understand it. Nor, do I think that one day I ever will.
When I watch dear friends and parishioners, who desperately want to be in a relationship, hit dead-end walls with potential partners that just don’t see the beauty about them that everyone else sees, I just don’t understand. I am saddened by their long-term loneliness.
When I watch dear friends and parishioners, walk through difficult seasons of marriage where kindness, tenderness and hope of it getting better seem like a long past reality, I just don’t understand. I saddened by their intense pain.
When I watch dear friends and parishioners, walk through separation from a long time partner, where once loving stable homes are torn a part by the most ugly words “I want a divorce,” I just don’t understand. I saddened by their deep, deep loss.
And, yet while I acknowledge all of the despair that coveting for marriage or destruction of marriage brings, I am also filled with much joy. Because I believe the mystery of marriage is that it can also be very good.
When I look at the man who I took to be my husband two years ago next week, I am filled with a great sense of gratitude for this blessing in my life. I can’t imagine a more loving, more perfect partner to journey alongside. I am in awe of how beautiful God’s gift of Kevin is to me.
It is not that we don’t disagree or get annoyed with each other (of course we do), but the mystery of marriage as I have known it is that there is a foundation of love and committment between us that sees us through. And, not only helps us “bear with each other” but find ways to really enjoy one another company.
Will I feel this way in 10 or 30 years from now? While I very much hope so, I don’t know.
Yet, in the mystery of it all, I believe God’s grace is present and will be present in my life and your life as well.
God’s grace which is not explainable or logical, but comes often at the times that we least expect it. And does something with the good, the bad, and the messy parts of our lives that is more beautiful than we could ever imagine.
For this reason, I’ll keep working on my own marriage and performing weddings for others like the one I am doing tomorrow. With the hope that ’twas grace has brought me safe thus far. And, grace will lead us home.