Twenty-one years of marriage serves as a tremendous teacher. There are now two things I know for a fact. One, I am not nearly as smart as I once thought I was twenty-one years ago, and two, marriage constantly takes work and sacrifice.
To say men and women handle life differently is an understatement. This understatement makes life interesting and ushers in complications. For instance, take the Bat Story from twenty-one years ago this fall.
My husband and I had been married about six or eight weeks at that point. We lived in an old farmhouse in serious need of renovation, and unbeknownst to me at the time, my husband would soon improve everything about our home. To say he is handy hardly does him justice. He and I were still just beginning to figure out how the whole marriage thing even worked, when in the middle of the night, I realized Chad had turned on our bedroom fan. We’d never slept with the bedroom fan on before, so I found this odd and a bit annoying.
Woosh! Woosh! I could feel the breeze from the “fan” as well as hear a faint noise. Being incredibly tired I simply rolled over and attempted to return to sleep. Next thing I knew, my darling, novice husband was throwing open our bedroom windows. The only connection my 3 a.m. garbled mind could make was that he had passed massive amounts of gas and was trying not to stink out his novice bride. (This was one of the major issues my life without brothers had not prepared me for: boys absolutely stink and are often times just plain gross!)
I told my husband how absolutely gross he was and pulled the covers over my nose. The strange thing was my husband agreed with me. He apologized. He acknowledged he was gross and stinky. And he encouraged me to go back to sleep as quickly as possible.
The next morning was a Sunday. Since the beginning of our marriage I have always taken longer to put myself together; I was the first one out of bed for church. I had a difficult time understanding why both our bedroom windows were open and why a towel was stuffed under our closed bedroom door.
Mysteries continued. Once downstairs I noticed each and every curtain and valance was askew. Some were flipped up and all of them gave a disheveled appearance. All windows were open. What was going on and why had my husband suddenly become the valance viking on a raid?
He came downstairs for breakfast and I wasted no time in my investigation, I mean, interrogation. He answered very sheepishly, “I didn’t want to tell you, but there was a bat in the house last night.” After my initial scream I then asked the question all inquiring minds wanted to know. “Where is the bat now?”
His answer was the one I absolutely feared, and he knew it. “I don’t know.”
Twenty-one years later we’d both probably handle it differently. Twenty-one years later a bat in the house pales in comparison to some of the difficulties my husband and I have faced together.
We now have less answers and more problems. We now have less time to sweat the small issues in life and more perspective to deal with the life-altering ones. We now have far less frivolous laughs and many more life-battle-scars. We now just don’t skirt around an issue but dive right in with all the heartache, crap, resolve, and faith it entails.
Twenty-one years later we certainly aren’t still in a fairy tale honeymoon phase where we are batting 1,000. But you know what? We’re still at bat, still in the game, and still doing the best we know how, as we’re still offering grace in some “batty” scenarios.
And I don’t think the goal is perfection. I simply think the goal is to continue to stay at bat . . . together.
Until next Wednesday, Lord willing.