15 years of marriage, a toaster, and a blanket

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15 years? how can this be?

it seems like yesterday, he proposed to me.

but fill the years with children's births and moves from there to here,

and throw in this busy season and that busier season,

and attempt to count the every day miracles and longings of the heart,

the months of waiting and the springs of joy.

the high ups and the down lows.

the memories etched in our senses, scrapbooks, and souls.

and 15 years knocks on the door of our marriage.

"come on in," i say...

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i scan the umpteenth house we've called home

and i spot this well-worn hunter green throw that has our initials "b P s" monogrammed on it. without much effort, i nod to myself that monogramming is my roots culture and that hunter green signifies our marriage era. and this throw has a story for as we opened it in the corner room of ben's childhood home 15 years ago, there was no card or name attached to it. it stands alone as the only thank you we never gave. but it has covered each body in our family on cold days and sick days. it has draped a number of sofas and has served as a play mat when the kids were learning to sit up.

it's lasted like our marriage.

now this morning, it's waded up in a basket under the table holding the manger scene, but it's there when we need it.

this monogrammed hunter green unthanked throw -

 - it speaks home. it wraps comfort. it holds consistency.

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but i can't write the same sentiments about the toaster.

maybe we're on our third one. maybe fourth. i can't remember.

but we need a toaster. our offspring need a toaster, to be exact.

life flows better when eggos pop up!

i'm not attached. this toaster accomplishes its purpose and when it stops doing so, we toss it and get a new one.

i'm neither comparing ben to the well-worn throw or the toaster that gets tossed!

for ben lets me put my poorly circulated freezing feet on his perfectly warmed legs at night though it causes a sting.

he seldom tells me no and holds the door wide open to my dreams and passions.

every day he cheers me on and prays over me and leads me and provides for me.

but rather this beautifully hard covenant called marriage.

beautifully hard.

what's of great worth is beautifully hard.

i'm at the place in our marriage where i'd rather resemble the well-worn blanket that has been through the cold and sick days, the long parenting days and the hard moves from friends and family. i'm at the point of wanting our marriage to possess the qualities that are long lasting rather than 'out with the old and on with the new.'

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marriage, from my vantage point, doesn't get harder nor easier. it gets better. 

the fighting through issues, when done with a unified goal, gets us on the same page.

the intense listening when we have something better to say, opens our minds to learn from the other that has something valuable to give.

the seasons that never seem to end, grow us towards each other when we say, "we're in this together."

those looks we give each other in an awkward parenting moment or across the table or beside each other in the front seats of the minivan.

my looks that clearly say, "i'm scared or confused or angry."

his looks that clearly say, "let's have fun with this. no worries!"

yes, those looks, they scream 15 years and counting!

i look back and am in awe of what we've come through, the abundance of blessings, the hand of God,

and quickly look ahead with hope that the best is yet to come.

who knows...

maybe we've got 5 more toasters in our future. those things that we need for a season, that fulfill their purpose, but don't make or break us.

those mistakes we're still going to make and those words that we'll utter that need to be tossed like the toaster.

those things that we value too much that can't really deliver a lifetime of guarantees.

yet, in this beautifully hard covenant called marriage,

 i'm hoping that well-worn blanket is covering us up on those cold and sick days when we celebrate 45 years.  those things that bind us, strengthen us, create memories, bring comfort and make us one.

because this husband of mine,

this dreamer of mine,

this gentle leader of mine

reminds me with his life that our marriage speaks home, it wraps comfort and it holds consistently.

not because of everything we have done {though it takes two},

but because we know this marriage is better because of what Christ is doing in us.

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so if you ever take a peek into this beautifully hard marriage of ours, know that we're fighting for a good one so you will fight for a good one.

and we're loving each other to show our children how to love each other.

and we're not giving up because our marriage is of great worth.

and this man i started to love over 15 years ago just keeps getting more lovable.