For the Ups and Downs

 Thirteen years ago yesterday, Scott and I stood before God and many witnesses to proclaim our love and commitment to one another for the rest of our lives.  Fourteen years ago we met for the first time.  I was a bridesmaid in my friend’s wedding and Scott was the best man.  Scott gave the toast to our friends that night and I knew immediately he would be the one I was going to marry.  Driving home that night, I literally almost got in a wreck I was so star struck.  Scott on the other hand didn’t have a clue.  When the groom asked Scott what he had done to Alicia, Scott promptly replied: “Alicia who?”
I love to tell the story of how we met, how God eventually revealed to Scott who I was, and how over the next year God wove our hearts closer and closer together.  (There are so many other details to our story, but they will have to be shared at another time.  Or just come over for some hot tea and we can talk!)  But as much as I thought I was in love thirteen years ago as I stood at the front of the church dressed my best with all the planning coming to its culmination, nothing compares to what is in my heart today.  It is not because our marriage mirrors a fairy tale or reflects a Hollywood movie.  No.  It is much more than that.
Scott and I, like every other couple, stood before each other and sincerely gave our lives to one another on March 6, 1999.  And like every other couple, we naively thought we would be able to survive anything that came our way.  We loved each other and we could defy the odds of the divorce rate.  However, like every other couple, life hits and our commitment is tested.  Out of the five high stress events you are suppose to avoid have happen all at the same time (if possible), we had four our first year of marriage.  We got married, Scott graduated from A& M, Scott started a new job, and we had our first child.  Now if having all of that happen within the first year of marriage doesn’t bring out the true you in a marriage, I don’t know what will. 
The next twelve years has brought numerous other stress events into our marriage.  It has not been easy road.  Most couples do not make it past the first, second, or even seventh year of marriage.  Conflict arises the first year and they decide they are not really compatible.  The second through fifth years, children typically arrive on the scene.  While it seems exciting for the first nine months of the pregnancy, the reality of supporting and raising a child and the time that it takes to do it infringes on the couple-only relationship.  By year seven the realities of life, the pressures of jobs, and the lack of knowing who they are married to because they have not set aside time to continue to date one another and learn how to effectively communicate pushes many couples away from their commitment to the person they once said they “couldn’t live without.”  So how have we made it to the 13 year marker in the midst of some very difficult times…
God’s Grace!  To Him be all the Glory and Honor and Praise.  
God is the One who has and is and will continue to be the third cord in our marriage.  Without Him our marriage is nothing but two sinners striving to do the best they can in their own strength and throwing in the towel when they have had enough.  Through God’s hand in our marriage and in our individual lives God has expanded my heart to love Scott in a way I never knew possible thirteen years ago.  It has been through the trials and hardships of our marriage that has sweetened the multitude of joys our marriage has experienced.  We have laughed till our sides hurt, shared our inner most thoughts and dreams, bravely experienced new things together, served together in missions, watched our four beautiful children experience their own ups and downs, and just had fun together.  My heart has changed and God has been glorified. 
Love is patient, love is kind.  Love does not envy, is not boastful, is not conceited, does not act improperly, is not selfish, is not provoked and does not keep a record of wrongs.  Love finds no joy in unrighteousness but rejoices in the truth.It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
1 Corinthians 13: 4-7
My Heart’s Prayer: Lord, thank you so much for one of the greatest gifts you have given to me.  Thank you so much for a loving husband who seeks not after his own interests, but also to the interests of his wife and family.  Thank you for bringing Scott and I together thirteen years ago and for bringing us through easy as well as difficult times.  Thank you for the opportunity to see your character through those difficult times and to have the honor in giving You the praise and glory that only You deserve.  I humbly ask that You continue to use our marriage to reflect Your character to others so that they too may see the love You have for them in order that they may enter into a personal relationship with You.  In Jesus Name, Amen.
 Happy 13th Anniversary to My Best Friend.  
I love you!

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