March 23, 2015
Last month as the Prince’s celebrated Valentine’s Day the predictable banter ensued between my husband and I where we tried to get the other person to plan a fancy date so we wouldn’t have to. I got a babysitter and until hours before we had absolutely no plans for Valentine’s Day. We eventually went on a (GREAT!) date but it took some mustered energy from us both.
As the Valentine’s weekend went by I watched through social media as friends in various stages of life posted about their Valentine’s day plans. The single people either were silent or boldly posted pics of Netflix and wine parties. The newly in love or married couples went on fancy dates and proudly displayed their bleeding love to the world (barf). The parents with children were also silent OR just posted pictures of their ‘little valentine’ children who now fill their hearts (and time and emotional capacity and every word in their home). It made me think about Casey and I and what makes it work for us now that we have been married almost THIRTEEN YEARS (GEEZ OLD PEOPLE ALERT!). Oh how different ‘love’ looks in the different seasons of our lives!!
Everyone is different, but for me, marriage is something I always want to enjoy and find life in, not just endure. I am not happy to have just a life partner or best friend, I also want a lover and someone who pursues my heart. I want my PRINCE (hah) and I want to be the PRINCESS (Sarah in Hebrew means princess… double barf). What does this actually look like when you have two small kids and live a life of mission and ministry?? We are full-time missionaries and our lives are engrossed and overwhelmed with people and tasks and needs and voices and things to do. How do we make it work and how do we keep the love alive?
Well the easy answer is that we live by God’s grace EVERY DAY and it isn’t a fairy tale, it’s real life. But it’s honestly better than the fairy tale and worth the work and effort. At the end of the worst day imaginable or the greatest thing ever, the person I want to most share it with is my husband and I call that a ‘win’ every time. But marriage and missions means that our relationship is something that we work on just like we work on all the other things in our lives God has called us to. God has called us to be parents. God has called us to missions. God has called us to Africa. God has called us to love people. God has called us to serve people. God has called us to minister to people. And God has called us to this marriage. That means we must put in the effort and care and time and focus that we put into all the other things we are called to, maybe even MORE.
In the Prince’s world we take our marriage very seriously because it’s a huge part of our ministry. The community we live in has a lot of broken families and hurting homes and they often look at us wondering if what we ‘preach’ is even real. So we have to make sure that it’s real and we work hard on it. We take dating seriously and spend as much time together as we possibly can because if we aren’t loving each other well then we can never love others well.
We love being together and love our lives together. But love doesn’t come easy and we know that our love is a combination of a lot of work and God’s miraculous hand.
During a fundraiser event that we had in January a friend came up to us and shouted excitedly, “You guys are just the most perfect couple ever!” I could only laugh because it was the most ridiculously thing I had ever heard. I had no words. Later I found myself thinking more about the ridiculousness and what ever gave her that crazy idea. We are FAR FAR FAR from perfect but we ARE in love.
That same month I saw this great quote from Lisa Bevere and immediately sent it to Casey.
Our marriage is FAR from perfect but it is great and it is growing and we treasure one another. We are on mission together and we are on mission love one another. We love that mission.