There are some memories that are so deeply etched into your soul. Twenty years ago Chad and I were married on July 30th at 10:30am at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Kansas City. It was a sunny, clear, hot day.
I held my dad’s arm at the back of the church as Canon in D played and we waited for our cue. My dad often recalls that I had no hesitation that day; I “pulled him down the aisle,” as he tells it.
I recall with vivid feeling those steps. As we processed to the front my eyes found Chad. In those fleeting moments we were more than looking at each other; we were united. Everything faded to the background. All the strains of putting a wedding together, all the family commotion, the worries about the future, the people crowded in the pews and even the music faded. I was eager to get down the aisle because something deep within me woke up in his loving eyes and our union felt in tune with something larger then ourselves.
We were both eager in those early days. When I told him I felt called to be a priest he said, “You can be a Mac truck driver if you want. I still want to be with you.”
Eagerness of young love meets the reality of life: bills, moods, schedules, and personal challenges. In the midst of the stress of life, love can quickly change from freeing to grasping, from open to controlling, from easy to needy.
After twenty years of marriage I am learning more about the love that was awakened in Chad’s dark brown, soulful eyes. It was not as much about us that day as it was about God in and through us.
Marriage, I have learned, is taking on the divine task of telling each other we are loveable. Chad is such a prince because he has told me so often that I am worthy of love even when I am ugly, worn out, and crabby. And I get the privilege of supporting and loving Chad even when he is not at his best.
The secret to marriage is learning to creatively love each other through all of life, and to challenge each other to love life and God and all who are near us more deeply and more creatively each day.
The media lies to us all the time, telling us that long-term committed love is impossible, boring or not worth it. The media tells us that if our spouse is not meeting all our needs and wants we should simply give up.
God, who is the most faithful, the most creative at love, teaches us that committed love, whether it be toward a spouse or friend or family member, is what we are made for. Our souls stretch and yield within committed creative compassionate love.
The gift of a long marriage is finding you are loveable again and again. The joy of long marriage is falling in love again and again. The blessings are too numerous to count.
Thank you Chad for loving me and giving me the chance to love you.