After 9 long months of planning, organizing and stringing together my dream wedding, there I stood in my white dress looking outside my hotel window, staring into the dark and gloomy overcast sky that was looming over every inch of our town that morning. This yucky dark day was our day, the day David and I were going to say “I do” and the day the two of us were going to become one. Despite the weather and a few minor hiccups throughout the day, our wedding ended up being more beautiful than I ever dreamed. And on that day we promised before God, our family and friends that we would love each other forever “times a thousand” and then danced the night away into ignorant wedded bliss.
The wedding- as we’ve all heard a million times- is just a day, a simple launching event, the event of joining two together and becoming one in the eyes of Jesus, family and friends. But the good stuff, the down right messy and magical stuff that’s in the “ever after” of marriage, that’s where the deep and intentional messy living that makes it all worth it happens. Two becoming one is a lovely sentiment and a difficult reality. It paints this beautiful word picture of a husband and wife standing in the center of this perfect marriage bubble surrounded by life and beauty, with the rest of the world looking onward from the outside saying, “wow, now there’s something special, there the two of them are taking on the world, standing strong in their marriage, and facing whatever comes their way with a smile all while seamlessly madly in love.” If you’ve been married for over 24 hours you know this sentiment isn’t as easy as it’s cracked up to be. It’s hard, it’s cyclical and takes a lot of work from both sides to stay relentlessly committed to one another and your marriage.
For David and I, the reality of keeping one another the main thing, putting the other person above yourself, and navigating the tons of junk that life can throw your way woke us up from our bubble pretty darn fast. I remember us strolling through Target a week after our honeymoon, steaming at one another over a disagreement of how much money we should spend setting up our new apartment together. We lived in a relatively small town and saw more than one person who wanted to congratulate us during our tumultuous walk through Target that day. We were so frustrated that when an older couple we knew well came up to us to congratulate us, I bursted out in a flustered tone “We’re in a fight, yay for marriage,” and they laughed and patted us on the back and strolled right along. I think they laughed because they weren’t surprised and they knew this small moment would be one of many over the years as we became more familiar with how to be one with each other. And it continues to be a humbling reminder every time we find ourselves bickering in aisle 5 at Target.
Five years later and more in love than ever, it still takes choosing daily to be one with each other. We have gained a lot of ground though, because we’ve learned the secret sauce it takes to stay together, play together and love passionately together. And that’s why I’m here today- I want to let you in on the secret. Now before I pass this amazing top secret marriage advice along to you, I should probably get off my high horse and say that I only know this secret myself because others have taught and modeled this for us time and time again these past few years.
Okay so here it is… the secret to two becoming one and staying that way is that it takes a heck of a lot more people than just the two of you. That’s right, the whole “two to one” thing is actually a group effort; we’ve found that our marriage is healthier when we are actively engaging in community with friends, seeking wisdom from those ahead of us, and centering ourselves on Jesus consistently. All three outlets that are beyond our “one bubble” have proven time and time again that two becoming one is best when others are there to support and encourage your oneness. In fact, our marriage is healthier and more passionate than ever before because we’ve experienced the relentless support of our community and Jesus overwhelm our marriage time and time again.
So what does this actually look like? How can we actively invite the right people into our bubble through the peaks and valley seasons of our marriages? I can sum it up in two of my favorite words: AUTHENTICITY AND INTENTIONALITY. It requires a healthy balance of both of these characteristics to find the sweet spot between letting too much into your marriage, and over protecting and isolating your marriage from the outside world.
I’ve so enjoyed inviting you into our story and look forward to sharing more with you. In the meantime pursue your spouse, find your way back to the center of your bubble and love the heck out of one another with intense vulnerability!