I have so many swarming thoughts about marrying “young” – Josh was 22, I was 21.
We met when I was 18.
What I didn’t know at 18 was that there’s a whole lot of growing up that’s done between 20 and 30.
But, ultimately, I’m thankful for a partner to walk through life with.
Even though we are growing up together.
Finding our values – together and separately.
Getting angry sometimes.
Again and again and again.
We’ve walked together through some really hard seasons.
Year three was like the sky was falling and the pain and worry seemed relentless.
This year we’ve celebrated some really sweet moments.
We became grateful for all the good news.
Grateful for the people that are around us.
Grateful for opportunities to find joy and value in our work.
Even if that meant quitting one job and starting another.
We’ve also done a lot of really normal, every day things.
Like eating dinner.
Staying up too late with our friends.
And watching The Office over and over again.
I am grateful for you.
Your grace to let me stumble.
The way you approach situations with a completely different perspective.
(Which, while frustrating at times, is a wonderful gift.)
Your calmness when I’m spinning with worry.
The way you chase your passions.
And make shelves for me when I ask.
I’m eager for year five with you.
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.
This week is Josh’s final week of undergraduate work.
The cap and gown are hanging in our bedroom.
The family arrives Thursday.
We’ve been in this awkward stage of life for almost three years where I’ve been out of school and he’s still a married college kid. I’ve been at my “grown up” job for over two years and all the while he’s been at his college job. That puts us in different, yet the same stages of life.
He’s just on the cusp of a new reality.
The bias that our differing personalities bring punctuates those realities well.
His “college job” actually brings in a substantial portion of our income.
He’s seasoned, educated, and vital to that institution.
Yet the job also holds a lot of weight and stress that to be honest, Josh is really great at handling.
But it’s not what he’s passionate about.
So in true Morris fashion, this week has brought up lots of conversation (and number crunching) on what it looks like to pursue our passions.
It’s pretty safe to say that whatever his next job ends up being, it will mean a pay cut.
But it will also mean seeing my husband’s eyes light up with excitement.
Watching him squirm in his seat because he just can’t sit still.
Also, actually seeing my husband more than two days a week.
Hopefully it means an understanding and fair employer.
That work will be hard but good for him.
I’m not so good at risk myself.
With the option of risk or safety, I choose safety.
I’ll take the 9 to 5 desk job with a retirement plan, please.
But Josh is the complete opposite.
And I love that I get to be the one encouraging him to take the leap.
Josh Morris, being married to you is one of my life’s greatest joys.
I love your ability to talk with anyone and everyone.
Your desire to always learn new skills.
And the way you set the example for service and sacrifice in our marriage.
And for taking pictures with me to document our second year even when you don’t want to.