You may or may not know, but today (August 6) is Katie and my 5th wedding anniversary.
Now, before you start tossin' the "5 YEARS - THAT'S IT?" and "You just wait until you're married 30 years"... I will kindly ask you to refrain from that because ALL WE'VE BEEN MARRIED FOR IS 5 YEARS! The length of time is out of our control, so relax.
I am pretty big on self-reflection, and I found it fitting to do so on our 5th anniversary of entering into wedded bliss. Here is a list of things I have learned in the last 5 years:
1. It's not all about me.
As much as I would like it to be... it's not. From the moment we exchanged our vows up until now, I have been in a constant state of growth and challenge to focus outward. My ego doesn't really appreciate it, but who cares. I like to think that the days of "do you not know who I am?!?!" and "that's not the way I would do it" are behind me, but alas... this is not the case. But I am trying!
2. My wife is a SAINT!
Over the past 5 years of marriage, the following things have happened:
This is quite the list. My crap alone would be enough for me to go crazy. But, she bears it, faces it with class, and crushes it! She bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things... Sound familiar? Yeah, she's that loving.
3. Mutual Faith is Important!
I know you're probably thinking "well DUH!"... but sometimes it doesn't happen. I am so blessed to have a spouse that I can share my faith with.
On the other hand, one can take this for granted even within a Catholic marriage. I must admit, there have been times when I was afraid to take the lead and be the 'Priest of my Domestic Church'. But, again, it was an ego thing (See #1). Along with praying together, it is very important for one to continue working on one's own individual faith. If not, jealousy can set in. I remember one time when I wasn't feeling super close to God and I assumed that Katie wasn't either. I went so far as to sit her down and ask her how she was doing in her faith. I found out very quickly that I was the one with the problem! (See #1). Although I was so adamant about us having great individual relationships with God before we entered into a relationship and then marriage, after marriage you STILL HAVE TO DO IT!
4. Getting married doesn't change anything.
You are still the same broken, sinful, forgetful, human being you were before you were married. Marriage isn't some magical switch that God flips as soon as you put that ring on that makes you perfect. I romanticized marriage. I quickly found out that all of the crap and baggage I was dealing with before marriage was right there with me on that altar. The biggest thing was that now I was bringing all that into a marriage with someone who also had some stuff to deal with. We all do! We had / have to work on this together for the good of our marriage. Just like when you remove an ice cube from a glass of ice water and another one quickly floats to the top, I am constantly finding new things I need to deal with. This leads nicely into my next point...
5. There's Beauty in Brokenness
A while back, I wrote a blog post called Beauty in Brokenness. In it I shared how when you finally accept the fact that you are broken, you can experience such freedom because you don't have to spend so much time and energy trying to be perfect. You don't have to try and convince the world you're perfect. You don't have to convince God you're perfect. Marriage is the arena in which this skill gets perfected. As a couple wise men told me once, marriage is your path to sainthood. Sainthood communicates sanctity. Sanctity comes through purification, prayer, and sacrifice. The road is not easy, but it the married person's path to sainthood. Accepting your brokenness before God and your spouse is another step on that path.
6. NFP DOES WORK!
We were married on August 6, 2011. Our first child was born on November 26, 2015. Many times throughout the first four years of our marriage, the question was raised (both to our faces and behind our backs) whether we were using birth control or contraception. There were many who speculated we were. We are living proof that if you follow the rules, NFP works. Now, if you must know, we use the Billings Method.
Oh get over it...
I love you Katie with all of my heart. Thank you for inspiring me to become the best version of myself every day.