Married for 17 years, STILL going
It's been seventeen years since I said 'I do'. There are days I look back to that wedding day, and I am so thankful for the journey thus far. I had no idea what twists and turns we'd take, and I had no idea how hard things would get sometimes. But there is nobody I'd rather take this journey with. Rebecca and I have changed over the years, for sure. Seeing and just knowing the things I know from the law enforcement field have made me a harder man; a less flexible man. Career changes and financial situations and family challenges have changed the spunky curly-haired redhead I fell in love with. But we have changed TOGETHER.
We've gone in debt in the past, TOGETHER. We've taken in family who went through tough growing pains, TOGETHER. We've raised a child who is only half of the children we expected, TOGETHER. We've raised a child who battled the challenges of childhood asthma, TOGETHER.
We've faced the financial challenge of a pretty permanent station in the middle class, TOGETHER. We've taken on job changes, for both of us, TOGETHER. We've experienced rescuing dogs, TOGETHER. We've taken in dogs to add to the family, and faced health challenges with each of those dogs, TOGETHER.
And we are still going strong. We make decisions about the house TOGETHER. We make decisions about how to help our son, TOGETHER. We spend time off, when we have it at the same time, TOGETHER. I don't really go out much with friends, and Rebecca, when she does see hers, invites them to our house most of the time. We have become a little less social at times because our jobs keep us busy, but we make up for that by spending time TOGETHER.
But we have gotten mad at each other. There are times when I yelled at her. There have been times when she yelled things at me. We've both said hurtful things, but made up later. We've had those times that every couple has, where you feel like the other person should do this, or the other spouse should do that. We've gone to bed angry before (both of us sometimes; and sometimes just one of us). But we know each other so well, we can probably guess what the other one is stewing about. So when enough time has passed, somehow, some way, we've sorted it out.
There have been times in the past when I thought I didn't know how to fix problems between us, and I was even ready for drastic measures. But my wife, who has called me her rock before, is the one that has been the most steady. How is that for irony? In this world today, where traditional marriage is becoming such a mundane thing because pop culture and worldly thinking tells us that anyone can marry anybody, I'd say we are doing pretty darn good. We are making an honest effort to stand against the rising tide of divorces, and throwing in the towel, and seeking satisfaction in a variety of other ways, from someone else, just because we're 'bored' with the one we've got.
It's been fun, and hard, and interesting, and surprising, and unique, and even sometimes gone exactly how I saw it going - but we've done these seventeen years TOGETHER. Even a short stint of separation early in the marriage; yet we even came out of that stronger than before.
If I could tell young people anything I've learned about marriage after seventeen years, it's this:
Before you take that very large step; and please, take that step very, very seriously, because God does... but before you take that step, decide early on that the vows you commit to one another should always ring true in your heart. Expect rough times. Expect conflict; Lord knows the world is full of it, between the closest of friends and the closest of family. Yet you strive to persevere.
Seventeen years this Sunday, we will continue the journey. And all those years ago I took that decision pretty seriously. I hope and pray I never forget to persevere. But there is nobody else with which I'd rather take this journey we call life.
Here's to a whole lot more than seventeen more!
I love you, Rebecca Fort!