Twelve years ago this month, Alex and I stood, hand in hand, and promised to love each other for the rest of our lives in front of 100 sweaty friends and family members. We were 21. We were babies. We thought we knew everything.
We did not.
I think that when we made our vows, in our ignorance, we were saying, “I’ll love you forever, just like this.” This being a marriage that was rooted in our conservative understanding of faith. I briefly blogged about our marriage under the blog name “A Cord of 3 Strands” (from this Bible verse here).
We kept this up for maybe 8 or 9 years and then the dam broke. I’ve been paddling away from that conservative point of origin ever since.
Truthfully, there are days when I’m scared to look behind me, afraid that Alex will be still at the origin point, arms crossed, waiting on me to get my shit together and return to where we started.
After all, he didn’t sign up to be married to a woman whose faith has come apart at the seams. He signed on to marry that baby girl, that woman who thought she knew everything and she would never budge.
But my fears are unfounded. Every time I look behind me, Alex is plugging along, following me. While he hasn’t swum as vigorously or as frantically from our starting point, he has changed and moved too.
This is 12.
At 21, we thought we understood the whole connection between husbands and wives and God and the church. It had to do with authority and order. In my mid-30s, I now feel differently (duh). Alex’s dogged persistence at letting me go where I need to go and not insisting that I remain static has been a clearer picture of God’s love for me than anything else.
Beth moves:God moves::Beth moves:Alex moves
This is 12.
Whenever I hear a cover of a song that I like, it takes my breath away. Cover songs give the familiarity of listening to something you know you like combined with something new and different that makes you hear the song in a new way.
At 21, I thought marriage was one song, sung the same way, for 50 years, but I now see that it’s more like a cover, notes of familiarity mixed with seeing one another in a new light. Home ownership, parenting, new jobs- all of these things change us and rightfully so! They are huge, life-altering adjustments and it only makes sense that they would pull us along, letting us see ourselves and our spouses in a new light.
We’re still Alex and Beth, but now we have kids and jobs and we’ve lived life a little.
We’re not the same. We’ve moved from our point of origin 12 years ago.
That’s okay. It’s good.
This is 12.