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I’m Thankful For…My Marriage.

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I love the concept of marriage: Two people committed to loving each other for the rest of their lives, regardless of what they go through or how they feel. It’s such a beautiful picture of God’s love for us and how He is relentlessly and unconditionally committed to us… no matter what. While we’ll never be able to love our spouses the way God loves us, I think one of the things that makes it so beautiful to me is that it’s between two imperfect people whose love is equally imperfect. When my husband, Taylor, and I first started getting serious in our dating relationship, I remember being so struck by the idea of God’s love because I’d never experienced someone “choosing” to love me the way Taylor did. It gave me a whole new appreciation for and understanding of the way God chooses to love us.

Growing up, I thought marriage and being in love meant constant romance and butterflies; in my head, marriage would be all the best parts of chick flicks rolled into a lifetime. It’s not that at all, and I couldn’t be more thankful. While Taylor will occasionally surprise me with flowers or dance with me in the kitchen, it’s what I learn from him, how I grow as a person, and just doing life with him that makes me love this marriage so much. So since we’re just a few weeks away from Thanksgiving, here are a few reasons I’m thankful for Taylor and marriage in general:

I’m thankful that we’re different. We have a lot of similarities, but we also have a lot of differences. For instance, he likes to take his time and weigh all his options, and I like to make decisions immediately. He is a picky eater, and I’ll eat pretty much anything. He grew up as an only child, and I grew up with three siblings. We were raised differently, we had different college experiences, we think differently. Some of our differences make it hard to understand each other, but they also make life more fun because we’re constantly learning and adapting. When Taylor and I started dating, I grew so much in my faith because suddenly I was looking at things differently and understanding them in a new way. Taylor’s worldview helped me expand mine and make decisions about what I believed on my own, instead of just sticking with what I’d learned my whole life. If he’d been the same as me, I wouldn’t have grown to be who I am now.

I’m thankful because he pushes me to be a better version of myself. One of my favorite parts of my marriage is that at the same time that Taylor accepts the weird, quirky, gross, annoying, mean parts of me without judgement, he also pushes me to be a better version of myself. When I’m being stingy with money and hesitate to give just a little more than usual, he reminds me why we give and how happy it makes Jesus when we do. When I’m feeling lazy and don’t want to get my work done, he pushes me to not only get my work done, but to go above and beyond what I’ve been asked to do. When my introverted self wants nothing less than to be in a crowded room where I’m forced to talk to people I don’t know, he encourages me to meet someone new and maybe even make a friend. Granted, most of the time, his reaction causes me to huff and roll my eyes because it’s so much easier to just stay right where I am and not experience any growth. But I’m able to look at all those times and appreciate that he loves me right where I am, but he also loves me too much to let me stay there.

I’m thankful because I get to see all his sides. While we try really hard to act like it on social media, no one is happy and ‘on’ all the time. One of my favorite things about marriage is that I get to fully experience all of Taylor’s emotions without a filter. I see him when he’s excited, heartbroken, goofy, frustrated, focused, etc. It’s easy to love him when he’s happy and goofy, but I grow and mature as a woman and as a wife when I choose to love him through the not-so-fun emotions like frustration, anger, and annoyance. If I only ever saw his best, I wouldn’t be getting all of him, and my love wouldn’t be real.

I’m thankful because he gives me an up-close picture of what a leader looks like, both in and out of the house. I’ve grown up around so many incredible leaders, but it’s one thing to witness leadership in someone from a stage, and another thing to witness it in everyday life. Taylor is an amazing leader and I get to see what that looks like both professionally and in our marriage. One of the best examples I have of that actually happened pretty recently. We’re in a pretty tough season at our church (where we both work), and the very beginning of this season brought with it a lot of intense pain. We got home from work one of those first days and Taylor said to me, “I want to allow us to feel the hurt, but we can’t dwell on it for very long. It’s important that we keep moving forward even though it sucks now.” He made sure we were in constant prayer and that we stuck together and remained a team. It’s one thing to be a good leader in good times… it’s a very different thing to be a good leader in hard times. I’m thankful that I get to see examples of both.

I’m thankful because I can be 100% myself and I’m fully accepted every time. I’m full of all sorts of emotions that can switch at the drop of a hat. I’m happy, obsessive, needy, emotional, anxious, overwhelmed, excitable, weird—the list goes on. I am all those things and more with Taylor and he continues to love me unconditionally. I don’t have to put on any masks with him and my goodness, does that feel good. There’s no trying to impress him or act like I’m better or cuter or more fun than I am. I can tell him my most disgusting thoughts and he doesn’t think any less of me. There’s truly nothing like it in the world!

I’m thankful for the good times and the bad. I’m thankful for the lazy days and the busy seasons.  I’m thankful for the hard times and the growth and the laughs. Marriage isn’t the easiest, and it’s not always fun, but it’s way worth it. I would trade in the butterflies and excitement of a new relationship any day for what I have now.

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