I look back with fondness over the last two years, swallowing my words about how sweet life is and then think, “Year three was just really, really hard.” As with most challenging years or seasons, it’s not just one thing that makes it hard. It’s like the rain is pouring and it just won’t stop.
There were times I was consciously thankful to have Josh Morris by my side. Sitting on the couch next to me in silence as we both just sat silently after receiving painful news. Thinking, “No one coached us on how to walk through this.” Dragging the mattress into the living room to camp out with the TV after the doctor’s report came back and all I could do was cry. Every weeknight spent without my husband while he worked a job that helped pay the bills but drained him. All these things just kept coming.
All the while the “sweetness” of marriage we held onto through the first two years losing its luster. The stress of life and circumstances crowding out the joyful celebration of just looking at each other. Or just driving together with the windows down.
Leather is the traditional wedding gift for a third anniversary. We aren’t cool enough to hold to those traditions. But as I happened upon the list I couldn’t help but relate our tough year with the qualities of leather.
My Dad has a leather notebook cover. It’s customized with his initials on the front, closes perfectly, smells just like worn leather should, and slides right into your hands. I can see it sitting on the floorboard in between the front seats of the minivan now. It holds notes, lists, and mail to be sent out. As a little girl (with a weird passion for organization) I loved that notebook. And one year for my birthday he gifted me with my very own.
But it wasn’t the same.
It had my initials on it but it gapped open instead of closing perfectly, smelled too much like leather, and didn’t slide right in my hands. When I asked him why it wasn’t like his, he replied, “It takes time. The leather has to be broken in.”
Our marriage through years one and two was unmarked. Smooth but not worn.
Some years will be sweet. Some will be hard. But the years added together are shaping us and by God’s grace weaving us together to be strong in love.