What are you most proud of this year?
Several of my friends asked me this question on my birthday. I found it a nice reprieve from the typical “how are you feeling” question we always ask. Who doesn’t feel a little sad and depressed about turning a year older? The time that has gone by, the people that have passed, the things left undone, the check boxes still empty on the list you made when you were twelve to have accomplished by 30. Oh wait, that was just me? 😉
Instead, my friends were encouraging me to focus on what I could celebrate from the past year. Once I took a moment to think about it, my heart filled with gratitude and joy. The list was long! I live a blessed life and no matter how hard things are, I have so many things to be thankful for and to be proud of.
It was easy to pick what I was most proud of because I had been celebrating, sharing, and talking about it often for the last few months. It is what I have put most of my time and energy into. It has been hard work. It consumes my thoughts and prayers. It is the source of my deepest joy. It is something the world tells me is not possible.
It is my love and joy-filled marriage.
Mitch and I have been married for two and a half years now. We had a lot to overcome because of the issues with trust and with men that I brought into our relationship. He was patient, understanding, and kind. I have done my personal work and we both have been vulnerable. We have worked hard. But what we did this year was a game changer.
We put God in the middle.
We were going to mass together more regularly. We started reading a daily devotional together before we went to bed. We had discussions about faith, love, and trust. Then we decided to take our marriage covenant in the Catholic Church. That day meant even more to us than the day we were legally married. We intentionally asked God to join us on our journey. We took a covenant that meant more than the contract we had signed.
When we inquired with our priest about taking this covenant, he asked us why we got married. We answered with the typical things like, “I love him. He makes me a better person.” Father challenged us that this covenant was not about ourselves but about the other person. Where a contract can be broken when one person doesn’t uphold their end of the bargain, a covenant means that each of us promises to stick it out and stay in it even when the other person isn’t able to hold up their end.
I took my covenant because I wanted to love Mitch, not just because I wanted to be loved by Mitch. It took that covenant knowing it is going to be hard. I won’t always get what I want. We will struggle. Maybe it won’t turn out exactly as I wanted. But at the end of the day, I want to be his wife and I want to love him. I would rather be unhappy with him than happy with anyone else. I’m sure there are days I will have to remind myself I said those words! And on those days, we promised to confront and forgive each other. To be honest about what we want and need, and to give each other grace when we don’t deliver on those commitments. We will be vulnerable and honest…to mitigate the power struggles and game-playing that often happens between two people.
Allowing God into our marriage has given me another place to go when we struggle. We are only human. We mess up. We only have so much patience and grace. Instead of lashing out, we try to go to God first. To give each other a break and get from God the things we are not able to get from each other when we are weak and weary.
It isn’t easy and we are not perfect, but being Mitch’s wife is the most honorable and joyful thing I have ever done in my life. If there is one thing worth investing time in and being good at, it is being a wife that God would be proud of. God help me, it is being the wife in this verse: “The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain. She does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life.” Proverbs 31:11-12
What are you most proud of? What are you investing your time and energy in?