Today is my 18th wedding anniversary, and how am I celebrating? Oh, with a stomach bug. Good times!
It is almost comical how hard we have tried to do something special this year, and how epically we have failed. We normally don’t do much for anniversaries, not because we don’t care, but because well…life just happens. But this year we were determined. First, we planned to go away somewhere romantic and lovely. Then reality aka our checking account crashed that dream. So we looked for somewhere kind of nice and close by. But conflicting schedules put the kibosh on that.
No problem, we’ll just do a romantic dinner, maybe even a movie. Oh wait…we have a sick kid now. Can’t leave sickie with our friends.
Ok, ok…it’s all still good. We can have a romantic lunch date. I’ll clean the house (it needs it!), he’ll pick up our favorite take-out, and we’ll pretend we’re away on a romantic excursion. Perfect and inexpensive! What could go wrong?
Cue the fear inducing, make you cry out for mercy, familiar pain of the stomach bug. No, it couldn’t be! This CANNOT be happening. Not now, not today! Denial could only last so long. It gets really hard to deny the truth when you are staring in a commode!
Uncle! I give up. This anniversary is doomed. So much for romantic. Hard to pull that off when you are laying on your bathroom floor! I was so disappointed.
“Lord, is it too much to ask for one sweet moment with my guy? I don’t need much!”
Oh I love that God whispers to our hearts even while we are laying on our bathroom floors trying to pretend that they’re clean.
“Your anniversary isn’t about one special moment. It’s about celebrating your marriage. It’s about remembering your vows to each other. To Me.”
I picked my head off the floor and smiled as I heard my guy walk in the back door.
“Jen? You here?”
Oh, poor guy thinks he’s coming home for a romantic lunch, when in reality he’s coming home to a contamination zone!
I emerge from my sick room and turn to face him. What I see in his eyes takes my breath away. There is no visible disappointment, although I know he must have been. Instead, all I see is love and concern. Although he is more terrified of the stomach bug than I am, he embraces me. Tears slip from my eyes as he speaks, “I just need you with me. Nothing else matters. We can celebrate another time. It’s ok.”
And in that moment I know, beyond any shadow of a doubt, that this is one of my favorite anniversaries. Not because of the romance, or the beautiful location, but because of the one holding me like I was the most beautiful woman in the world. He switched gears from romance to caretaker in the blink of an eye.
We will have our celebration in the near future. We may even go somewhere fabulous someday. But for today. For this moment. I am content and grateful for what I have – stomach pains and all (ok…well not really the stomach pains part, but you know what I mean!)
Marriage is not always sunshine and roses. There are hard days. Dark days where you think surely this is harder than you can handle. But we weren’t meant to do this on our own. The One before whom we stood and said our vows patiently waits for us to come and ask for help. The One who knows our faults and loves us in spite of them, stands always ready to bear our burdens, give us strength, and work on our hearts even though we are convinced it’s our spouse’s heart that needs all the work.
So today I rejoice that we are not alone in this thing called marriage. I am so grateful to the One who holds us together, and even enables my sweet husband to hold my hair instead of my hand on our less than romantic anniversary.