It seems like it has been a very long time... indeed, it has. My dad called to congratulate me a few days after our one year anniversary. He said, "365 days, huh? That's almost something." My grandparents were married over 60 years before my grandpa died last fall- now that's something. He was just a young gun coming home from a war in the trenches of Europe when they got married. I wonder if he felt like Odysseus finally returning home after an adventure that had lasted far too long. And I wonder... now that he's in a quiet home with his new wife, does he ever miss the adventure of the trenches?
What I wouldn't give to have the opportunity to know my grandpa before he was my grandpa- before he was even my mom's dad. In my short life, I only knew him as the man in the comfy La-Z-boy with an encyclopedic knowledge of any question that could be asked by Alex Trebek. I only knew him when his world was caught up in Thanksgiving Turkies and grandkids and birdfeeders and embroidered sweatshirts which said to any literate onlooker, "I'm from Northern Michigan." But What kind of trouble would young Edwin and I get into if we were young men together? How had marriage and kids and the minivan and the mortgage changed him over those sixty years? Was he a different man before? Was I?
One year of marriage has changed me in many ways. This process, I believe, is what Christians often refer to metaphorically as "God's refining fire." God turns up the heat, throws his little clay pots in the fire, and hopefully they come out the better because of it. Maybe not prettier (indeed... ten pounds fatter), but more useful to the Creator himself. Maybe this is also why it is said of people in love that they are "burning with passion" etc etc. God's biggest kiln seems to be the one called marriage- and it is HOT in here! (You can interpret that however you want.) God does a very good work when two people come together, despite their differences, despite the inevitably that they will never really understand each others deepest dreams in the way lovers always seem to in the movies, despite the many freedoms they will give up, and they commit to staying together.
You've probably heard this before, but it is both the hardest and best thing that I personally have ever done. The really amazing thing about it, is that it is the only time in my life where I have made not just some promise ("I promise I'll do the dishes first thing in the morning!!!) but a covenant. That is the real gravitas of marriage to me. You get to imitate your Father in Heaven and say like he does, "I will never leave you... this is my covenent."