To begin-- I don't write this as a "marriage on display" entry, but as a moment to share my heart.
Last night, at 1 a.m., I went to bed crying. Not because I was sad, but because I was overwhelmed with how much I love Hal. Maybe it was because it was late, and I'd been reading Nicholas Sparks' new book, and, as usual, someone was probably soon to die. I put the book down before it got too sad, and turned the light out. Hal, in his half-awakened state, snuggled close to me, putting his arm around me and entwining our hands under the pillow--the usual way we fall asleep. And laying there, I just started to cry. Not only am I safe with him, but I realize, as I've often realized before, how very blessed I am that God would give me such a precious gift. He is the most incredible husband, and when I see and talk to other wives, I know I'm blessed, I know our marriage is a rare gift, and I know that God has shown us favor, despite our imperfections. Few husbands help put up Christmas decorations and clean the house on Saturday afternoon, when they could be watching football or basketball. Few husbands load the dishwasher and remember to unload it a few hours later. Few husbands never grumble about taking out the trash, putting up the laundry, or going to the grocery store. And few husbands are both as strong and as tender as Hal is.
And laying there, crying, I thought of how horrible I treated him when we met, when we first dated, when I was so wounded and selfish. I thought about the journey we've been on, the journey I've been on for the last three years--learning what it means to love someone else, to put their desires and needs first, to be compassionate and considerate. Certainly, I'm no where close to "there," but I'm thankful for all that Hal has taught me. His patience. His grace. His understanding.
And laying there, crying, I begged God that He would give us many years together, that he would never remove his blessing and favor from our lives, and that the love I feel for him now would only grow stronger over the years. Maybe it's dumb that a Nicholas Sparks book, or movie I recently saw, would be the reminders that life is short, that he could be gone tomorrow--but if that's what it takes for God to get my attention, to remind me how blessed I am as a wife, then I will hold onto that. Because I am blessed-- after 1 year and almost 6 months of marriage, I'm still incredibly in love with my husband, and I am recognizing how very much I have to be thankful for the man that God gave me.