Today is my 20th wedding anniversary. 20 years. It’s so hard to believe. One the one hand, it seems to have gone by so quickly. On the other, I’ve been with this man for nearly half of my life. I’ve lived with him longer than I lived with either one of my parents combined.
It was March 12, 1993 and I had just finished up my internship in San Francisco. Lloyd flew down and we were going to drive back to Washington state together the next day. He got off the plane with nothing but a bouquet of flowers in his hand and a toothbrush in his pocket and said, “Let’s go get married”. So, we did.
If you’ve known us for any length of time, you know that we have a reputation for being impetuous. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve called a family member or friend and said, “We’re moving!” In fact, it’s become kind of a joke that if you write our address down, you’d best do it in pencil. The other day, we were watching one of those DIY shows and somebody was talking about their “dream home”. I told Lloyd that I don’t understand that concept (not that it’s bad). I have just never had dreams about houses. They are just buildings to me.
But the truth is, I never had dreams of getting married and having kids either. Oh, there were a couple of times that I tried writing my name with that guy’s last name attached, but it never sounded right and certainly never felt the way I thought it should have. You see, I had this crazy notion that love was forever. And, I just hadn’t ever really seen that happen in the lives of the people around me. Except for my grandparents. I remember the way my grandfather looked at my grandmother. I remember how he used to pat her butt and she would slap it away saying “Franklin!”, as she looked at me and my cousin and we pretended to be grossed out. I wanted THAT. I wanted a man that looked at me and treated me the way that my grandfather looked at and treated my grandmother. Now that I am an adult, I know that my grandparents marriage wasn’t perfect — far from it, actually. But, I think I’m in awe of it even more now. They stuck it out through rough times. Despite their shortcomings and missteps, they loved each other with an everlasting love. And everyone around them knew it.
When I met Lloyd, I knew instantly that this was the person I wanted to spend my life with. I can’t explain it. It’s one of those cases of “when you know, you know”. After our first “date” (which wasn’t really a date, but we were together at the same time and place and got there in the same car), I came home and told my roommate that I’d found the man I was going to marry. She told me she thought that was fabulous but could I please call my boyfriend who had been calling every 10 minutes for the past 2 hours and let him know, too.
And yet, despite my certainty, we did not begin dating right away. It was several months before we became a couple. So, as it turns out, we were not all that impetuous after-all. ;)
Now, you might be asking yourself what this has to do with water. Well, it wasn’t actually even supposed to be my Lenten post. But, I looked up the meaning of impetuous this morning and this is what Dictionary.com had to say:
im·pet·u·ous / imˈpechoōəs/
• adj. acting or done quickly and without thought or care: her friend was headstrong and impetuous.
• moving forcefully or rapidly: an impetuous but controlled flow of water.
Looking back, I don’t think we approached our marriage without thought or care. Yes, it was done quickly, but it was something we had talked about for a long time (well, as long as you can talk about it when you’ve known each other just over a year). Our families might say that it was done without care. And, I admit that their hurt feelings were justified. But, despite the fact that we were too young and too poor to get married, this was a guy that looked at me the way my grandfather looked and my grandmother. And, I didn’t want to waste a moment not being with him.
As we’ve moved rapidly and sometimes forcefully through the last 20 years, our vows have been tested as we have faced the kind of trials that even the strongest marriages can’t endure. And every year, as we celebrate this day, I think that there is no way that I could love this man any more than I do today. But, I do. And, I believe that it’s because God has been our controlling force — not in a way that has left us without choices, but in a way that has kept us on our path — the path He has for us.
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.
(Jeremiah 29:11 ESV)