Fifty-eight days. At the writing of this month’s post, Tommy and I have been married for fifty-eight days.
Fifty-eight days of joy. Fifty-eight days of struggle. Fifty-eight days of fun. Fifty-eight days of a little pain (mostly due to the fact that my wonderful new husband snores like a lumberjack). Fifty-eight days of learning how to live with another person. Fifty-eight days of a new life. Fifty-eight days into the rest of our lives. Fifty-eight days into the life the Lord wants for us.
Fifty-eight days ago, when I walked down the aisle to meet my Tommy at the altar in the Church in which I’ve grown up, I knew my life would never be the same. His beaming face and my tear-filled eyes were proof enough that we knew the significance of that “day one” of marriage. Our friends and family who gathered in that holy place, lifting us up in prayer and cheering us on as two lives became one, were evidence that we were supported and loved. The party to follow – and the dancing of everyone there – showed us the abundant joy at the creation of this new union.
But when day one ended, and the days to come began, it became very obvious to us both that it is on days like two, and three, and ten, and even fifty-eight, that we would really discover what a gift the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony truly is, and why the Lord called us to this beautiful vocation.
In a sense, day one of marriage was simply the party – it was the mere kickoff. Day two we went to our home to unpack gifts and organize our kitchen. Day three we left for a glorious honeymoon in the mountains that ended on day nine. And then, in the greatest challenge of our marriage yet, we were apart from one another for days twelve through twenty-seven. It was during those two weeks apart after being married for less than two weeks that I began to realize something.
My days are more meaningful, fruitful, productive, prayerful, and joyful now that I share them with another.
These first fifty-eight days of marriage, some of which were with Tommy in person and some spent apart, have shown me that the man I met at the altar on day one is the man God chose to help enhance, improve, and fulfill each and every day of my life.
On day twenty-eight, when we spent the day road tripping and singing the Hamilton soundtrack, I experienced the great sense of fun Tommy brings into my life. On day twenty-nine, when I was in a bad mood and snapped at him for no reason, Tommy forgave me, showing love and mercy to me in my selfish anger. On day thirty-four, when I left for another weekend ministry event and returned home exhausted on day thirty-six, Tommy showed me his great tenderness and compassion by cleaning the whole house, washing the dirty laundry, and preparing a hot meal.
Day one was merely the beginning to the best days of our life together. Day one pales in comparison to the days that have since followed it. It was merely the appetizer to the amazing feast of joy (and sanctifying struggles) that is a life lived with another. For these past fifty-eight days, I have felt, experienced, learned, and lived more than I ever have before. In these first fifty-eight days, I’ve better come to understand the need for prayer, patience, humility, and honesty in all areas of my life, but especially within this new family we are forming. For fifty-eight days, Tommy and I have discovered, first hand, the great gift that is marriage. We have been awash with the grace of God as we’ve lived this Sacrament moment by moment.
Over these past fifty-eight days, I have fallen more in love with the man I vowed to honor and cherish on day one, because the vows we made to each other on day one have expanded and grown, enhanced more and more by the graces given through the power of the Sacrament. What were at first meaningful words spoken to Tommy have become daily actions of loving sacrifice. My promise to love him has been lived out. His promise to protect me has been acted upon.
In each moment of these first weeks of married life, it’s become clearer why the Church wants us to begin day one at the altar. By starting there, with the Lord at the center, we are setting ourselves up for success that is found most fully and completely in Christ. By starting day one of our lives together in the presence of our Lord, we are committing to having the Lord present in all the days to come. We are given the great gift of knowing that as we walk the married road together, Jesus will be walking alongside us. We are assured the gift of His grace to sustain and strengthen us in moments of both sorrow and joy. We are set up for the success of a life well lived, and days well spent, together in love of each other and in love of our Lord.