Today is our anniversary. Hubby and I have been married for eight years. Somehow, that seems odd, how in the world has it been eight years ago we just walked down the aisle?

And also, it feels like it should be a million years.

We’ve lived a lot in those eight years. We’ve lived in over TEN different “abodes” – three of which were hotel rooms for a few months each. We’ve lived in four/five different countries (including Afghanistan for the hubby), and visited over seven on top of those. We have dealt with movers at least fourteen times (and I know I must be forgetting some in there somewhere). We’ve had four different cars. We’ve also had two kids; which means dealing with potty-training two different times, food allergies twice, multiple preschools, and two sets of terrible twos, threes, and fours. We’ve had multiple “short” separations, and one war-zone deployment, several surgeries, sicknesses, and a few hospitalizations. We started homeschooling. We bought a house, and now are long-distance landlords with a renter.

It’s no wonder I constantly consider buying stock in the hair-dye I use!

So, because I am now an expert, (HAHAHAHAHAHA) here is what I’ve learned in my eight years of marriage:

  1. Marriage is FRICKIN HARD. Sure, everyone tells you that before you get married, but this isn’t the “he leaves the top off the toothpaste” kinda hard. It is HARD WORK. Both of you have to accept that, and show up every frickin day and give it all 100% all the frickin’ time.
  2. Marriage needs GRACE AND FORGIVENESS on the table EVERY SINGLE DAY. Because it’s humanly impossible to bring 100% to the table every single day. Cause neither of you are even close to being perfect all the time. Marriage can also open great cans of worms. Everyone comes with their own set of baggage, and marriage is God’s way of opening your eyes to your own suitcase of it, if you’re willing to look and deal with it. So, giving grace and forgiveness to each other while dealing with that suitcase of junk is necessary.
  3. Marriage is FRAGILE. I believe you have to handle your marriage with the same care you would a priceless rare piece of art. With a lot of care. It is so easy to break and destroy and be left with what fragments of what was once great.
  4. Marriage is ENDANGERED. No, this is not the regular political debate I’m going into here. But I do believe “successful” marriages are becoming few and far between and the exception to the norm nowadays. I have personally seen just too many dear people ripped apart by marriages ending and what comes after. And well, it stinks. My heart just breaks and breaks for them, often there is often nothing more I can do. So I’ve come to treat my marriage like it’s an endangered species, needing special protections to keep it safe.

And finally:

Marriage, to the right person, is PRECIOUS. I am so thankful, that even in our very very worst times, that I found that right person for me. We all have those times where we think “What in the world have I done?” – but over and over God has confirmed to me that I found and was found by the exact person He chose for me. And I am so glad that I can consider my life-mate my closest friend.

Marriage is a SAFE HARBOR. I know, that no matter what, my husband is in my corner, supporting me in my wild-brained schemes and ideas. Even when he disagrees with me, he is always on my side. Hubby created this “inside joke” about us being “Team Mendez” (he’s surrounded by girls and is a sports nut – it’s his coping mechanism, haha). Except now the inside joke is more like a family motto. We are a team. Heck, we even have our own cheer!

Marriage is an ADVENTURE. Look at all we’ve done in the past eight years. Would either of us have done all of that on our own? Heck to the double no. And even through the crazy; keeping adventure in mind makes us LOOK FOR THE FUN and enjoy life, doubly appreciating what little bits of sanity and calm that come our way!

Marriages is GOD’S REFINING FIRE. Remember what I said above about all that baggage? Well, being married, and also becoming a parent, has taught me more about myself that I thought possible. It has taught me about prayer and more about God’s love and grace and mercy than I ever knew existed. Being married has made my walk with Christ better than it could have been without it. But please note: that does say fire. Fire is not always fun. But it is often a tool to make things stronger than before.

Marriage is LOVE. Marriage has taught me more about love than I could have ever learned in a book. Living love, accepting love, giving and sharing that love with others. Even though when we first married I knew about love and felt love, I think it took the passage of time to truly understand love and the depths of love.

Yeah, we haven’t had a picture of us together without kids in it in quite a long time!

So, Happy Anniversary to my hubby. I love you. May the next eight years be even more wonderful and fulfilling, though hopefully slightly less chaotic???

Yeah, I got quite a chuckle outta that one, too. Ah well, one can dream, right?