Marriage · Travel

The Fire of Life

photo-39Todd and I had the chance to spend several days in New York City. Our 25th wedding anniversary is next month, so when this work related trip came up, we decided to seize the opportunity and use it to check the “anniversary celebration” box.  The plan was to use this time away to reflect on our 25 years of marriage and compile a top 25 list of things we’d learned over the years.

Well, we gave the list a shot the first night and kind of half-heartedly began brainstorming. We wrote down jewels such as 2 sinks are better than one and parenting is hard. Then we got distracted by the food and atmosphere of Guy Fieri’s American Kitchen.

photo-44We never got around to adding any more to the list that weekend, or talking about anything of substance for that matter.

Because really, Manhattan is a distracting place. So much to see and do and it’s not an environment conducive to reflection and we were only there for less than 3 days.  Hey, when you need an excuse…any old excuse will do.

Deep down, I think we are both nervous about looking backward at our years together, the cycles of mistakes and grace replaying over and over. I wonder about our ability to interpret history the same and what conflicts might arise when we don’t. There are just so many stories within the epic story called marriage. So many ups and downs and it feels like we’ve only just started figuring things out.  Listing things we’ve learned feels overwhelming and rather intimidating, kind of like the streets of the Big Apple.

photo-40So our new plan is to spend a little time each week during the next month simply reminding each other of our story.  Saying to one another, Remember when…Can you believe we…remembering and retelling our story. Validating the simple fact that we made it this far. In so doing, I believe we commit to making it further still.

One thing I’m certain will make the list. Marriage. Is. Hard.

I want to tread delicately when it comes to writing about our marriage. It is at once strong and weak, sturdy and fragile. Kind of like the two people yoked within it. The most important relationship I have on this earth requires respect and honor.  So I’ll try to balance, when I share some of our stories, that need with honesty about how it really looks, which is mostly very messy.

I love this quote by Tyler Ward. He writes about marriage  in an excellent article in Relevant magazine:

“I once read a book that alluded to the idea that marriage is the fire of life—that somehow it’s designed to refine all our dysfunction and spur us into progressive wholeness. In this light, contrary to popular opinion, the goal of marriage is not happiness. And although happiness is often a very real byproduct of a healthy relationship, marriage has a far more significant purpose in sight. It is designed to pull dysfunction to the surface of our lives, set it on fire and help us grow.”

A hearty YES and a loud OUCH! Todd and I agree that we want the next 25 years to be filled with even greater stories of love and grace, perseverance and forgiveness. If we actually are able to come up with a top 25, I’ll be sure to share it. Until then, we were able to make a silly list of things we learned during our three days in NYC:

10. There are almost as many Ann Taylor Loft stores in NYC as Starbucks.

9.  Wisdom, in this city, is called using the bathroom when you have the chance…nothing else is fun when you don’t.

8. The naked cowboy had been replaced by the almost naked cowgirl as a Times Square attraction…and it was scary.

7. Barnie the purple dinosaur? Alive and well and takes smoke breaks in an alleyway.

6. Going to the Harry Potter exhibition without our kids, seemed ….wrong.

5. Question of the weekend? Who in the world would buy a bicycle at the Times Square Toys r Us??

4. I wish I could read a hard copy of the New York Times every day.

3. Todd is absolutely enamored with neon. I think this is related to his fireworks obsession.

2. After 25 years, we realized we don’t want any more stuff.  There is a lot of “stuff” in that town.

1.  If the article above is to be believed, traveling together as a couple has been and continues to be, the best way for us to “pull dysfunction to the surface”! Glad to know there is a redeeming reason for this…


4 thoughts on “The Fire of Life

  1. Beautiful, Kelli! So well-written. Thanks for sharing your heart and using your gift to encourage others and glorify God!

  2. Amen to the “Fire of Life” and loved your top 10. So thankful you had a great trip. I absolutely love the pic of the tables and chairs set up outside. Really really cool! So happy for you and Todd and a great 25! Blessings for more!!

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