There’s a particular sort of joy that’s unique to the beginning of a marriage, when you look down at the unwritten page of your life together, pick up a pen, and start to write. You move into your first one-bedroom apartment. Gosh, look at all that space! You take the antique table you bought with earnings from a waitress job, put it in the bay window, and stand back and marvel at how perfectly it fits. You mesh your stuff with his stuff, shelve your books side by side, hang your clothes together in the narrow closet. You learn that he likes the toilet paper roll to hang the opposite way to what you’re used to, and you immediately switch to his way because you love him so much. You get the apartment in order and regard it with awe. This is your space, at least for the duration of the lease. You no longer have to end each evening with one of you going home. This is your home now. It didn’t exist before you made it.
You can’t believe how blessed you are. He takes such good care of you! He knows you better than anyone and he still loves you—and considers himself as blessed as you know you are.
Challenges come: little irritations and big decisions, financial upheavals, a pregnancy with complications, no money. And that’s just the first year! Now is the time to show what you’re made of. Will you trust God and follow him, the way you said you would when everything was golden and the future was just an idea?
A few years ago I read Michael Pearl’s excellent article about the three laws of reaping and sowing. Basically, you reap what you sow, you reap after you sow, and you reap more than you sow. “We have sowed a little faithfulness to God,” Pearl says, “and he has multiplied our seeds and returned them one-hundred fold. We have loved him a little, and he has loved us much. We have honored him feebly and he has honored us royally.”
Greg and I have seen a disproportionate abundance of blessing in our own marriage and family. I look back now on some of our early ideas and actions and just laugh. We weren’t materially wrong, just young and inexperienced. But we knew we were young and inexperienced. We knew we didn’t have all the wisdom we’d need, but we did know enough to fear God and follow his way, and trusted him to provide the wisdom we didn’t yet have. “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding” (Proverbs 9:10). “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him” (James 1:5).
I’m amazed by pictures of us as newlyweds. Greg’s hair was redder then—it’s almost auburn now—and our faces were so youthful. I look at my husband now and I see lines of wisdom and humor around the eyes, and they’re precious to me because I was there when they were written. I understand his hot keys, and he understands mine; sometimes we run interference for each other, sometimes just offer silent sympathy. Someone in a crowd says something absurd or infuriating; I catch Greg’s eye, and without a flicker of changed expression we understand each other. We can get through the moment because we know later we’ll laugh or commiserate together. We dream together, brainstorm together, work together, sharpen each other like iron on iron. He’s my lover, fellow laborer, best friend.