If someone had taken me aside on the morning of my wedding and told me that they’d had a premonition that seven years from that day I would be expecting my fourth child and living in a school bus I probably would have laughed my way down the aisle (as it was, I cried because that’s my natural reaction to pretty much every intense emotion I experience).
There was precious little that anybody could have told me that day that would have stopped me from marrying Noah. I was absolutely intent on making that commitment, come what may.
Looking back, there are a plethora of reasons that our marriage shouldn’t have lasted – not the least of which include the fact that we were terrifically young and I was about 5 months pregnant with our oldest. We were different from each other in many ways that we had yet to even scratch the surface of discovering, masked as they were by sheer, unmitigated adoration.
In short, we pretty much had a recipe for disaster.
And we have definitely dealt with our fair share of challenges. On top of the initial ways in which the deck was supposedly stacked against us, we’ve moved 5 times and I’ve been pregnant 4 times. We’ve racked up tens of thousands of dollars worth of debt, gone through a period of unemployment and then paid off tens of thousands of dollars worth of debt. A few years ago things looked pretty grim and we separated for a short time. Soon, we’ll be able to add to that list: lived in a school bus with four kids while trying to build a house.
Before we moved into the bus, I was telling someone about our plans and their reaction was “you guys are going to kill each other!” I really think that if that was going to happen, it would have already.
I know that seven years isn’t a huge amount of time for many people (my parents just celebrated their 39th anniversary!), but looking back over how far we’ve come I am incredibly proud of us.
We have had to navigate a land-mine-filled field of personality differences and figure out how to balance our strong points with our weak ones. We have learned how to fight fair and make up, when to stand our ground and when to let things go (there’s a LOT of letting go on both sides) and how to apologize. We have been absolutely blessed with a huge amount of family support and encouragement, and for that I am incredibly grateful, but nobody else could do the heavy-lifting of making this marriage work except for us.
Every day we are faced with the choice to be a team, to do the things that build each other up instead of tearing each other down, to speak kindness and show love. (Of course, it goes without saying that often enough one or both of us makes a DIFFERENT choice out of thoughtlessness or carelessness or busy-ness or preoccupation or what have you. Those days are not the best, but even then we have to choose not to allow the bad things to build up and become resentment, or to speak up about it if it is.)
We recognize that this whole thing we have going wouldn’t work nearly as well without both of us here to fill in each other’s gaps.
All that to say: when I take a good look at our life today and how we got here, there truly isn’t anything that I would change or take back. We’re right in the thick of raising a beautiful family, working toward a worthy goal and still figuring out how to navigate the challenges and stresses that life throws at us on a daily basis.
We’re in this together and there is no place I would rather be.