Under normal circumstances this week is a pretty hard week for my husband and I. Tomorrow will mark the 4 year anniversary of the stillbirth of our daughter. I can't believe it has been 4 years because back then I wasn't sure how I was going to survive the week, never mind a year. This year, we had another trauma: I had a miscarriage this week. I was about 8 weeks and was getting ready to announce to family and friends and the blogosphere. Last week I had the first ultrasound and things weren't quite right with little Button (that's what we called the baby). The doctor said not to worry, so I tried not to, but by Monday afternoon the miscarriage started.
My reason for writing about this is to highlight the importance of a strong marriage. When I worked as a youth minister, kids would ask me about my husband, how we met, and marriage. The teenage girls wanted to hear the romantic stuff and the teenage boys...well, they rarely asked about that stuff so I shared with them anyway. I emphasized two things. First, Love is an action verb; it's not a feeling. Everyday you have to choose to love, choose to act out of love. Second, marriage is a covenant between husband, wife, and God. I have always thought of it as God surrounding us and filling in the gaps between us.
A professor from college once talked about marriage and love on a personal level - not just theologically. She said, "Sometimes you wake up in the morning and you choose to love your spouse because he is the father of your children. That's the only reason you can find to love him because all of his other qualities and characteristics are driving you crazy that week." This was the first time I had heard anyone talk about love and marriage this way; it sounded real. She wasn't speaking negatively of her husband and she also wasn't idealizing marriage. To my ears it sounded pretty harsh, but I stored it away.
My husband is the best guy in the world: he gets me and is willing to put up with me. God bless him! I love him very much, but my professor was right. Sometimes, it is hard to love - like when the clothes are on the floor and the dirty dishes are in the sink and every other thing is annoying me. However, that annoyance is really my own selfishness and so I will myself to love. I knew before we got married, in the depths of my soul, that we could make it through anything. It wasn't some kind of sentimental, lovely-dovey crap, like "we can slay dragons together". I knew that we could tackle any question, any problem. Seven years ago, as I planned our wedding, little did I know the "for worse" that was awaiting us. Today, as we prepare to pass another year without our oldest and mourn Baby Button, I know we will make it through this. Even in our "for worse" moments we still choose to love and God is allowed to fill the space between us.