Today marks 15 years of marriage to my husband Ryan (the pastor to whom this blog title refers...). I awoke to a sweet note from him sitting next to the best of all gifts, a potted mum. Now this, truly was a grand gesture.
Here is the back story on the mum plant: 16 years ago or so, Ryan came to my house to pick me up for one of our first dates. We were but babes at the time. Remembering (like a good boyfriend should) that I mentioned a love for fresh flowers, he brought me a lovely potted mum which I thought was wonderful.... Not. (yes, the NOT reference is a nod to the lingo of the time...remember the 90s?).
He immediately saw the look on my face (I am not subtle) and knew that I was not happy. I then went on to tell him that a potted plant is not romantic but rather something that you give to your grandma when you go for cookies at her house. Honestly, how was this relationship going to work if it could be summed up in a potted MUM??
The irony, though, is that our marriage can be summed up by that Mum plant. You see, Ryan did not give up on his courtship of me because I rejected his gift and overanalyzed it. He tried again, and again. He learned from that moment and tried something different the next time around. He learned that for me, it is best to just have me write down the make and serial number of what I want. For him to pay attention to that was in itself romantic.
For him to put up with me when I did not receive his naive (and sweet) gesture with any amount of grace...also romantic.
I overanalyze and can be frank (too frank). I have made mistakes and hurt Ryan and he has done the same. 15 years of marriage means many opportunities to screw up. It means many ups and downs and many reminders of our failings in life. But it is not in the Mums of life that we are defined. It is not in the mess-ups, the trip ups, the big fights, the little resentments that build or the days you are just annoyed. It is in how you handle those things that end up defining your relationships. Everyone will fall down, but in picking up again, you grow and you learn.
Marriage takes some risk. It takes a lot of humility and the ability to forgive and try again. It takes the ability to receive forgiveness and love from someone else. If you can do those things, even those dark moments in your marriage can provide a backdrop to something beautiful - to a story of redemption and restoration.
15 years and counting. I love that I found that potted mum this morning. No longer representing the mistakes we have made, but rather the strides we have taken all these years to love regardless of those mistakes. Happy Anniversary, Ryan!