A lot of people say the best day of their marriage is the day they get married. I can see why so many people say that. Adam and I were surrounded by all the people in our lives we love, we had the cool North Shore breeze coming through the Waimea Valley, tropical flowers, peacocks, champagne, and dancing that lasted long after the golden sunset went down. Oh, and did I mention I was madly in love with a handsome blue eyed man I barely knew?
I am only five years into my marriage now but I would argue the best day of my marriage wasn’t that beautiful December day. It was April 1st, 2012 when my husband arrived home from a year long deployment to Afghanistan. To me, it was the best day because I was beginning to understand the significance of my vows.
When we got married I was so focused on the details of the wedding day that I don’t think I really took the time to think about the vows I was about to take. And even though we had completed our marriage counseling with a seasoned christian couple in our church, I am not sure I fully realized the importance of the vows I was about to take that December day. And while I repeated the words of our vows from our pastor at our wedding, the only thing I could think about at the time was “Don’t look up at Adam or you’ll start to cry and ruin your makeup.”
From the day Adam left for Afghanistan until the day he returned a year later safe and sound back into my arms I spent a great deal of time thinking about our vows. What were these words that held us together, what do they mean to me, to Adam? One phrase in particular was tough to really comprehend even as I was living through it, “For better or worse.” It was a phrase that seemed to denote impending doom, but I now think of it as the seasons that have and will color our journey together.
Some seasons of life I feel our marriage is for better. Some seasons of life I feel our marriage is for worse. I want the difficult seasons of life to be over as soon as they start. If it were up to me, I would avoid hardships at all cost. But what I want and how I feel really isn’t the point (and it doesn’t change the fact that hardships are a part of life).
I have found the difficult seasons I once thought were for worse are what make Adam and I stronger. They are the seasons that make us trust in God and not ourselves. They are the seasons that test the foundation we are standing on, making sure we haven’t gone off course. It’s amazing how some of the richest moments of are marriage are a product of something that was once a sickness, a broken heart, or a trial.
What I love most about marriage are the seasons and how each of them challenge us to grow. It is our responsibility as a couple to make sure these seasons bring us closer together and not farther apart. Each new season is an opportunity to trust deeper, love stronger, forgive harder, and thank God for another opportunity to give Him glory.
For our five year anniversary Adam and I revisited the North Shore of Oahu. Under the same monkey pod tree we renewed our vows as a reminder that we have a lifetime full of small choices that lie ahead. We both agreed to write a personal message to one another. I decided to write a poem:
Adam decided to write me a personal note that he now keeps with him in his wallet:
I am so glad we made the choice to come back to the place where our marriage began. It’s ironic that our current situation is so similar to the first time we were under this tree. Adam and I got married in December of 2010 and he left three months later. Just one month and a handful of days after our vow renewal Adam and I said our goodbyes for a third time. As we embark on this new season of life we are both thankful for the amazing Hawaii vacation and the memories that will help us get through the year.
So today I am going to enjoy the season we are in and be thankful for our baby girl who is due in March. I am going to trust that all seasons serve a greater purpose, try to grow from this experience and count down the three hundred and sixty five days until he comes home.
I have a feeling the best day of our marriage is yet to come and will always be a short horizon away.
Photographs by Mark Holladay.
White maternity dress can be found here.