Next weekend, I will have been married for twelve years.
When I was nineteen, I began work as a counselor at Camp Geneva. I was extremely shy and nervous. The staff had two weeks of orientation before welcoming campers. Day 1: Staff that were returning from the summer before presented the skit, if I were not a counselor. (If I were not a counselor, I know what I would be… If I were not a counselor a ex. teacher, doctor, lifeguard I would be.) Somewhere down the line a guy with his body and head covered in a rucksack turned around. If I were not a counselor a pole I would be… pole, pole, pole, he said in monotone. In my nervousness it was the first time I had smiled in hours. Somehow, he made a pole funny.
The first week we welcomed campers, the pole was assigned to be my prayer partner. I had that whole summer to watch his steadfast nature, wise heart and kindness. He also made me laugh, a lot. Somehow, I was blessed the next summer to work with him. That summer his brother died in a car accident. On a Friday, he left for Iowa. I went to the dining hall to call my Mom (there weren’t cell phones much then). I was heartbroken for him. Later that night I sat on the beach and prayed for him and his family. Yes, this guy was maybe not just a pole to me.
It took another year to work up the nerve to tell him I liked him. A year of going around to where he was and looking at the ground and my brother yelling at me for being so backwards. One spring day, I called him to go running, I left a message and ran away from my apartment in case he actually called back. He did. The first time I told him I loved him I ran through a red light, honest.
Once at a family gathering one of his cousins mentioned that she bet we never fought. I guess, because we are both a little quiet. The truth is marriage is not easy. We can both be incredibly stubborn. There was the mashed potato container I threw all over the kitchen floor and the plate in the living room. One plate can break into many, many pieces.
Also, there are many not-romantic moments after you’ve been married awhile. We were in youth ministry and spent a lot of time pushing around carts of mountain dew. One camping trip I got sunburned and the lidocaine cream made my eyes swell shut. Also, you get the flu. Then we had kids, and sometimes you can’t remember your own name when you’re both changing a diaper in the middle of the night and poop is flying everywhere. You have to wield plungers in front of each other, clean up vomit and realize you can’t really stay awake until Saturday Night Live anymore.
Also, there is sad. Sometimes you feel so much pain together.
I have always loved this verse:
Kris means this verse to me.
He has always made me stronger. He urges me to live a life worthy of the calling I have received.
He loves me in my weakness, but he does not leave me there. I can’t really think of a better gift.
He believes in me, even when I don’t believe in myself.
He knows I’m neurotic, but he encourages me to move beyond being stuck there.
That is Jesus. My relationship with Kris, helps me understand Jesus’s love more.
Who encourages you to be more than you are? Who in your life helps you know Jesus more?