It's not our anniversary yet, but it's getting close. I love our anniversary. I'm pretty sure I'm a hopeless romantic, and I'm pretty sure Aaron would probably agree with that statement.
I always hear people say, it feels like only yesterday... and they mean it in a good way, like life has been so good with their spouse that it feels like only yesterday they married them. You know, they still feel like newlyweds and all. So, I guess, kind of in a sense, it does kind of feel like only yesterday.
But more than it feels like only yesterday... it doesn't. With time comes growth, and God has grown us a lot in the five years we've been married. We started off like any normal couple, but it didn't last that way long. Less than a year after we were married we went on the road with Ken... and that, honestly, felt like an eternity. I'm not going to lie. Aaron and I learned a ton about each other. I had to grow up and learn what it felt like to be loved even at the most wretched point I could become. Even when I was unlovable... he loved me. And I'd be lying if I said we felt like we were newlyweds then. We didn't. There were times where we felt a long, long, long way away from being newlyweds.
Then getting off the road, and moving away, and having our hearts be far from where we were, and then having a baby, yes, it's safe to say we are probably no longer considered 'newlyweds.' The world looks at that as if it's a bad thing, but you know what I think?
I think that real marital success isn't the 'ooshy mooshy' newlywed feeling that is fleeting (though nice from time to time), I don't even think it is the lasting from eon to eon. No, lasting without loving is meaningless, and who wants to be in a meaningless relationship? No, real marital success is living each day and learning from the experiences that you choose and the ones you don't. It is making a choice despite all circumstances to love deeply. It is seeing your spouse at their worst and knowing how to encourage them to be their best. It's falling more and more in love with the friend who always has your back. It's sometimes surviving in order to experience thriving.
If love was only newlywed bliss, is that really love at all? No. Love surpasses feeling. Love even surpasses knowledge. Love for me is knowing that five years ago, when choosing the partner I'd keep for life, had I known all that would transpire, all of the circumstances, all of the trials, and all of the wisdom, I could have found myself only more excited to rush down the aisle and say 'yes' to the man who loved me despite me... just like Jesus did for us so many years ago. And that's really what love is. Jesus.
Would I change all of the experiences we've faced? Absolutely not. Even in the worst of the worst of them we found love. Even when we felt alone and tired, we found strength. Through all that our hearts have hurt from and leapt from, there has been wisdom. And I've got to experience them all with my best friend. That is love.