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julie portrait3BW[From Julie] May 29th marks our 20th anniversary.  I seriously can’t believe it.  I can’t believe it because I don’t feel old enough to be married this long.  I can’t believe it because I feel like I haven’t learned enough about marriage in the past 20 years and yet I’m still happily married. I can’t believe it because I still feel like a newlywed and judging by my boy’s reactions, we still behave like newlyweds (there’s a lot of kissing in our house).  I can’t believe it because I still feel like we’re at the beginning of this journey and we’re loving every minute of it.  Well, maybe not every minute but most minutes.  🙂

wedding picture2Still, a distant part of my brain is reminding me that it has been 20 years.  When I look at our wedding pictures I can see the difference and not just in wrinkles and wardrobe choices (a bow in my hair; what was I thinking!!).  I can remember the way I thought about marriage and about Noel and I’m thankful for the experience these 20 years have given us.  I am truly blessed better than I deserve.

I saw something on Pinterest this week that really spoke to me.  It says something very true about long lasting relationships.  This is something I can understand.  When I look at Noel, I see a man who lives passionately, is gifted picturein amazing ways, loves to laugh, makes life fun for me and our boys, and seeks God in everything he does.  I also see a man who’s schedule is too hectic, is sometimes short with his family, gets frustrated with people, and who’s emotions can be wildly erratic.  His best and his worst.  I love all of it because it’s the worst that defines the best and it’s the way God made him.  I am quite sure he could make his own list of my worsts and bests and he has decided to love both too.  When you choose both you are loving like Jesus loves, sacrificing the way Jesus sacrifices, and accepting someone else the way Jesus accepts us.  All our flaws and faults don’t define our marriage.  Our commitment and our forgiveness of one another is what makes the difference.

It’s hard to believe so much time has passed since we said ‘I do’ but on the other hand, we’ve done a lot of living together.  We know the value of commitment, we’ve got more perspective and more patience with each other.  I still love looking at Noel and I love watching the way the years have touched him.  I trust him more and rely on him more.  He makes getting up in the morning much more fun.  Bring on 20 more years (at least)!!