The Early Years

This week Robert and I celebrate ten years of marriage. There will be no expensive international trip and we will be fortunate if we get to eat at a restaurant for dinner. This milestone looks different than I probably imagined it would look just a few years ago, but it is actually much sweeter than I could have hoped. There is beauty in the ordinary and the simple. Our marriage is beautiful. Not because of anything we have done or manufactured, but because from the day we said our vows and every day since, our marriage has belonged to the Lord. Please indulge me as I take a trip down memory lane to commemorate this milestone over the course of the next few days.

Our marriage is beautiful. Not because of anything we have done or manufactured, but because from the day we said our vows and every day since, our marriage has belonged to the Lord.

In the early days of our marriage, people told us that the first year of marriage would be the most difficult. However, our first year of marriage was sweet and full of promise. Robert and I met each other through mutual friends late in 2008. We lived in different cities and saw each other very sparingly. By the Spring of 2009 we had struck up a long distance friendship through text messaging. In June of the same year, we were an “instant” item. I met his family and he told them I was his girlfriend, before he told me. We still laugh about this. In August, we went on a mission trip to Honduras together, and I vividly remember talking about marriage. I would be finishing nursing school in December and he would finish medical school the following semester. Since I wasn’t attached to any particular location, I was happy to move wherever he moved for his residency. Why on earth would we pay two separate rents? We should just get married. As a mother, I can’t imagine my own children having a similar conversation one day. But Robert and I loved the Lord first, and we knew He would build the marriage, family and house. We had a growing love for one another and the time we had spent together or not spent together didn’t seem to matter much. We had the rest of our lives. We are also both undeniably practical.

We had a growing love for one another and the time we had spent together or not spent together didn’t seem to matter much. We had the rest of our lives.

In October of 2009, Robert asked me to be his wife and we planned our wedding for the following May. We had yet to live in the same city at this point. Most of our friends that were getting married around the same time had been dating for years, some even since high school. But we were unswayed, young, in love and dreaming of our future. I finished nursing school in December and worked in home health for the next semester. Robert graduated from medical school in May and the next weekend we got married on May 22. We honeymooned for a week in Mexico and moved to South Carolina as soon as we returned to the States. It was the first time we shared an address, or a city for that matter.

After we were told that the first year would be difficult, we were surprised to find that it had in fact been a pleasure. Robert was busy with his intern year of medicine and I had started (and ended) my first job as a nurse in the hospital. We definitely experienced challenges, a few arguments and the typical learning curve that comes with living with someone for the first time. Robert was tired and I was alone many call nights. It was a unique first year of marriage, but I’m so grateful for the way God orchestrated it.

One of the greatest gifts to our first year of marriage was that we moved away. While we both love our families dearly, we were able to establish our own family and our own traditions. Because of Robert’s hectic work schedule, we weren’t able to go “home” often for family events or even holidays. We made our own memories and we consulted with one another about decisions. We committed our marriage and our plans to the Lord, and He greatly blessed us.

Since the first year wasn’t too hard, we then found people telling us that the first five years would be the biggest challenge. We were told that whenever we welcomed our first child, that we would experience a huge change in our relationship and it could be difficult. Well just shy of two years into our marriage, in the thick of residency, we welcomed our first child, Emma. Loving Robert has always been easy, seeing him as a father only made it easier.

Loving Robert has always been easy, seeing him as a father only made it easier.

In our first five years of marriage, we bought our first home, we welcomed two babies, I started and ended jobs in nursing, Robert started and finished residency, Robert also completed a fellowship in sports medicine, we sold our first home and purchased our second home in a different state. Life was busy and constantly full of change. We celebrated our fifth wedding anniversary on an elaborate trip to South Africa. We still talk about that trip and reminisce fondly. Not long after returning home, we found out we would be expecting our third child. George would be the first and only brother, to Emma and Leah. Life was showing no signs of slowing down, but our marriage was ever so sweet.

Though we were promised difficulty, we found our first five years of marriage to be a precious blessing from the Lord. Our marriage is not perfect, but it is good. We know that “every good and perfect gift is from above” and we have never doubted that the goodness bestowed to us has been straight from the Lord. Marriage is a miracle. The merging of two sinners into one family is an impossible task that only God could ordain. God has created, sustained and blessed our marriage. We are grateful, we do not take it for granted. The next five years of marriage looked different. There was more uncertainty, more settling down and more heartache. But Robert and I remained each other’s best friends and biggest fans. I look forward to remembering and writing about more sweet years with Robert later this week. I hope you will be encouraged and maybe even amused.

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