Monday, August 6, 2012

"All the Joy and Sweetness Possible"

Our "guestbook" of sweet notes and advice
Two weeks ago marked my one year anniversary!  One thing I've loved doing recently is reading through all of our wedding cards.  It brings me back to the sense of boundless joy and tremendous possibility I felt on our wedding day.  I still feel those things, but in a calmer, more settled way. The newness is there, it's just a little quieter, and even more comfortable than it was on that first day, like of course being married to Andrew is the most natural thing in the world for me.

Another memento from the day, which I'm so thankful to have, is a set of notecards we provided our guests with, asking them to write us something special.  I'd been looking for a fun guestbook alternative, and this was perfect for us!  We set out cards and pens with a list of questions for our guests, including, "what's the secret to an extraordinary marriage?," "what's the best and worst advice newlyweds receive?," and "what's your favorite dinner for two?"  I loved reading everyone's congratulations and words of wisdom, and I'll share a few with you here!

  • Ad Jesu per Mariam (to Jesus, through Mary)
  • Don't expect a perfect honeymoon.  Living together and seeing each other 24/7 takes some adjusting.  Don't fight over the small stuff.  Enjoy life together!
  • Take time to date your spouse.
  • Love means...honesty.  The strength to endure it, and the wisdom to appreciate it.
  • May the good Lord shine a light on you, make every song you sing your favorite tune.  May the good Lord shine a light on you, warm like the evening sun.
  • Keep going to confession regularly.  If you keep your relationship with the Lord clear, you will be able to see better how to relate to each other.
  • Brush your teeth.
And lastly, one of my absolute favorites from our lovely friend Jenn, which has taken on a special meaning lately:

Laugh.  Be honest.  Be kind.  Make time for each other and yourself.  Anything that creates a space or wall between you: reject it.  And, know that God is good.  He loves you.  He wants to give you all the joy and sweetness possible.

A year ago, if someone asked me, I would've said that I couldn't even imagine what types of things might drive a wedge between us.  With Andrew, my heart has no walls.  His love breaks me open into my most honest, vulnerable, and sometimes weakest self.  Maybe it was prideful to think we'd never even touch the problem of something coming between us, but I've always trusted so much in our relationship that I couldn't anticipate anything like it.

Lately I've seen, though, that even when you love your husband with everything you are, little things can creep in.  The evil one tries to weaken the best, purest kind of love under the auspices of something perfectly innocent.  I started a new job a few months ago and have spent the last few weeks trying to figure out what exactly constitutes a prudent relationship with co-workers.  For me, it's been a question of how jokey or personal it's appropriate to be with a friend of the opposite sex.  It's like, is it alright or is it hurtful to your spouse to have someone you converse with frequently throughout the day, have a few inside jokes with, and can mostly be yourself around, in a way you don't experience with just anyone?  I struggle with the answer, and I pray.

With all my heart, I never want to come close to being emotionally unfaithful to Andrew.  I love him so fiercely, so without question, that I don't even think too hard about it most of the time, if that makes sense.  It's just such a constant, natural part of my life; one that feels like it's always been there.  Anyway, Jenn's words about rejecting anything at all that creates distance or puts up a wall between us has been medicine for my soul.  When I consider how much I want to love my husband in the best way, which is a desire that completely trumps any wishes I have for someone to just chat with at work, the answer to all my confusion becomes clearer.

A frequent prayer of mine asks the Lord to dispel anything in my life that's not of Him, and it's taken on a deeper meaning since I've been married.  It's not just about purifying my life, but our life together, you know?  It's a test of fire; one from which I'm confident that, by grace, we'll emerge wiser and deeper in love.

Unbind yourself.  Let all your walls down.

Have any of you experienced friendship issues like this?  How did you deal, and what fruit did it bear?

Oh, and speaking of marriage advice, what's the best piece of wisdom someone's given you?!

PS- Be sure to check out my new Contribute page.  I'd love to hear from you!

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