Today is a special day. According to my middle daughter it is mine and her Dad’s “meet-a-versary”. December 2, 1995, I was a college student in VA, who went to a wedding with my best friend in NC, where she introduced me to her cousin from OH. 18 months later her cousin and I were married in GA. Our whole “dating” relationship was primarily letters (with actual pen and ink), emails and phone calls. We probably saw each other a dozen times from the time we met until the time we married. Our honeymoon was the longest amount of time we had spent together up until that point.
In hindsight it’s pretty remarkable. When we do pre-marital counseling with young couples, we don’t generally recommend that they get married after only a dozen face to face meetings! But we were so sure. Sometimes when you know…..you just know.
But there were a lot of things we didn’t know 20 years ago. We didn’t know how hard life could be at times. We hadn’t known loss. We didn’t know that being an adult could be lousy some days and that parenting is the most challenging job out there. We didn’t know much about sickness or pain, aches and pains. We had never even heard of autism and couldn’t know the intense mark it would leave on our lives. We didn’t really know real love either. We thought we did. But 20 years in, we know a little more about that now.
We know that real love means that you can still be crazy about the person that drives you completely crazy. We know that real love means you never quit on the other one. We know that real love means that marriage partners are not equal…that you both give all you’ve got and sometimes one has to give more than the other for a season. You’re strong when the other one is weak and when you are weak they are strong. But, there are other times when neither of you are very strong at all. And that’s when you need each other most.
We know that real love means you say you are wrong. Real love means you forgive. Real love means you accept the other one as they are and not try to change them. Real love means that you know what regret tastes like, but you’ve taken a few victory laps too.
Real love lets you be your own person. Real love recognizes that a man or a woman is only that……human…..and can’t meet every single need of his spouse. Real love knows that it takes a whole community to meet all our needs and doesn’t put all the pressure on “the one”. Real love looks to God to fill the empty spaces of our life that can’t be filled by any human being.
We know a little more than we did 20 years ago. We know a little about love and we know a tiny bit about raising kids. We know a whole lot about chaos and crazy. But mostly we know that God is who He said He is. He keeps His promises. He is faithful. He is real. And He’s been with us every step of the way.