Fifteen years ago... we did it. We took the plunge. We had absolutely no idea what we were getting into. John and I were married in 1991, a year after we met, in the church we met in. It was a pretty good start, but still, we just had no idea! But in spite of our immaturity and the trainload of baggage we each brought into the marriage, and thanks to the grace of God, here we are, fifteen years later. We look at each other and cannot believe it's been that long.
Our first home together was a little duplex near John's job and close to LSU, where I was still going to school. We had a wonderful view of an open field with a sewage plant off to the side. We loved our home, but we realized too late that a Labrador Retriever was not the best pet to have in a small duplex with a small backyard surrounded by chewable wood fencing.
A year after we were married, we discovered we were expecting a BABY. This was definitely not the plan, but we went with it. What else could we do? In order to accommodate this unexpected blessing, we had to move into cheaper digs. While our DINK friends moved into nice houses in upscale neighborhoods, we lived in a tiny duplex in a low-rent side of Baton Rouge with college furniture and old cars. We argued a lot, mainly over money, but the couples in our Life groups- Ronnie and Cheryl, Mike and Phyllis, Clayton and Debbie- took us under their wing and kept us from killing each other those first few years.
And there were lots of good times too. We spent late nights playing dominoes and cooking out with other couples who were in the same boat: Sean and Cherie, Hoyt and Holly and later, Jimmy and Connie (even though Jimmy and Connie were part of the afore-mentioned DINKs). We were young and poor, but we had good friends, a wonderful church family, and, by then, two beautiful children whom we adored.
In 1995, we moved farther north, to be nearer family. Our new town did not quite meet our expectations and it was a difficult time. Everything was different here- even the church- and we felt very much alone. Wayne and Kelly and Rob and Reigh Anne offered their friendship and made our new home bearable. In the meantime, God added two more children to the mix, and we realized that it could be a blessing to stay in our safe family cocoon for a while with few demands from the outside world. We tried desperately to move away from the area, but doors kept getting slammed in our face. God had plans for us.
In 2000, he led us to a new church, which has become family, and a year later, we welcomed baby #5 (who is now 5 years old!) Three years ago, we purchased our first home, a very ordinary-looking red brick house with just enough room for the seven of us and a cat. We love our home. We still drive old vehicles that are on the verge of breaking down at any moment, but somewhere along the way, we learned that old and debt-free is better than new and stressed-out.
And somewhere along the way, we reached a point of... equilibrium. We learned to like each other, warts and all. We stopped demanding so much from each other. We learned that sometimes, you just have to let it go because it isn't worth it. And when it is worth it, treat it with kid gloves... because it's worth it.
Oh, we still squabble from time to time, and I know enough now to recognize that the circle of marriage may just be resting in a time of peace for a while. I know enough to know that when our boat begins to rock again, with patience and prayer, peace will come again.
Fifteen years has given me five beautiful children, a man who has always been my best friend- even when we fight- and a husband I wouldn't trade for all the world.
I'd do it all again.