One of the things about getting married young is that you grow up together. Sometimes I’m surprised to look at Brian and see that he is, in fact, a grown up.
You see, when we started dating, he looked like this:
(Oh, that boy could kiss. Mercy.)
We used to sit outside and dream of the days that we are living right now.
We would park on the backroads of Tulsa and lay on the hood of his car to stare at the stars. We’d talk about our dreams. We’d wonder what life would be like when we were old … like thirty. I’d tell him of wanting to be a writer. He’d tell me of wanting to help people. I’d rant about politics. He’d tell me about kids he knew in the dumps of Mexico. We’d quote Thoreau to each other.
Then we’d make out.
Now, 12 years later, the baby face is gone. The acne is gone. The plaid shirts are (thank you, Jesus) gone. The skinny punk is gone. I noticed a few grey hairs at his temples the other day. I am clearly not the same (as the number on my scale attests) – my long hair is gone, I have a decided line to the left corner of my mouth, probably as a result of too much smirking, and my hair is quite grey underneath this red hair colour.
In some ways, we’re the same. All of those things that I knew and loved about him as a skinny teenager are still there. His heart after God. His deep, abiding passion for others. His selflessness. His patience. His kind heart. His level head. His wisdom. His humour. His sexiness. His tenderness.
But other things, including our ideas, opinions and even our dreams, have changed so much. He is the same man but he isn’t. This is likely something that longer-married-people already know but I am just realising.
I think that one of the most important things in marriage is allowing for change.
I imagine it’s hard, devastating even, when one spouse changes significantly and the other is left behind.
Being in it for the long haul means allowing each other to stumble around, find your way, make mistakes, and journey together. I am not the same girl I was then. He is not the same boy. I have to admit to being pretty thankful for that. I look back on my younger self sometimes and positively cringe. Aren’t you glad we aren’t quite the same people we were at 21 or 25 or even last year? Can I get an “Amen!“?
We have changed significantly at certain points of our lives and likely will again. We look very different. We think differently. We believe different things. We have certainly done many things we planned. But we’ve also done a lot of things we never could have imagined.
But we are still us. Jobs and careers change. People come and go. We’ll pack up and move (over and over and over evidently), leaving friends and the familiar behind. We’ll wrinkle even further. We’ll have our babies, raise them and then they will move into their own lives. Almost everything can and will change – including us and our relationship.
So we choose to be the constant for each other as long as we can. We will continue to walk every step of this journey together. Wherever that leads us.