Oh, satisfy us early with Your mercy, that we may rejoice and be glad all our days! Make us glad according to the days in which You have afflicted us, the years in which we have seen evil. Let Your work appear to Your servants, and Your glory to their children. And let the beauty of the LORD our God be upon us, and establish the work of our hands for us; Yes, establish the work of our hands.
Psalm 90: 14-17
Yesterday Harry and I celebrated nine years of marriage. NINE. (gasp) Now, I understand that to some people, a nine-year anniversary may not be notable or gasp-worthy. But to me it holds special meaning and shouts loudly of God's faithfulness.
First, it means that our marriage has now lasted longer than my first marriage did. Harry and I work hard at our marriage. We make sacrifices for each other and we are committed to building intimacy even when it's inconvenient or requires having conversations that are uncomfortable. We are each other's best friend and we're still attracted to each other. All of that means that we have a closeness that bears little resemblance to the detachment and loneliness that existed in my first marriage. And I am glad that the numbers finally reflect that reality.
The second reason I rejoice about reaching the nine-year mark requires a little back story first. In 2009 (a year that still makes me shudder with its dark connotations) our marriage fell apart. I will not go into all of the details in this post because I plan to share more of that story in the near future, but let me just say that our marriage had fallen prey to some of the enemy's greatest hits: codependence, pride, addiction, and infidelity. In the terrible weeks after everything came to light (a time we generally refer to as "the trauma"), I could not imagine how I would survive from one day to the next — or at times from one MINUTE to the next — let alone how our MARRIAGE would possibly survive. But we each clung to God, and the Holy Spirit enabled us to see each other through the pain and the hurt, and little by painful little, we trudged a path to healing. And this year we have now been married twice as long post-trauma as pre-trauma. To be able to say that our marriage has now had twice as many days of honesty as days of deception, twice as many days of closeness as days of detachment and isolation, twice as many days of true connection as empty pretense is an unparalleled victory.
The verses I quoted at the top of this post summarize pretty neatly the ways God has benevolently shaped our marriage. He satisfied us early with His mercy by bringing deception to light and rousing us out of our dark places just a few years into our marriage so that we could spend the remainder of it rejoicing and being glad. He has made us glad according to the days in which He afflicted us, the years in which we saw evil, and in fact He has now doubled that number. He has let His restorative work of hope appear to us — His servants — and because of it our children will know His glory. And now we pray that His beauty may continually be upon us, and that He may establish the work of our hands.
So I celebrate this milestone, these nine years together. Every single one has been significant. Every single one has brought us to the place our marriage is today, a place where we support each other, encourage each other, challenge each other, nurture patience for each other, and truly hear each other. I would describe our marriage as "thriving", and every little bit of it is due to the Healer, the Restorer, the One who makes ALL THINGS NEW. I have said it a thousand times (at least) and will say it for the rest of my days: THERE IS HOPE. With people, it is impossible, but with God, all things are possible. And we are nine years (and counting) of proof. Thank You, Lord.