Chris and I got married twelve years, three months and one day ago.
In that much time, we have developed important skills, including communication and conflict resolution, and we have learned how to be married. Really, it's a union that takes time to get used to, especially if you met on the internet like we did.
While we agree that we make a good team, it has taken time to grow in to each other and learn how to support each other well.
My darling husband confessed to me in year two that he wasn't as in love with me as I was him, and.. well.. I was an internalizer. I had to be patient with him and help him love me, and he had to be patient with me and help me get comfortable with sharing my feelings, even if it meant we wouldn't like each other for awhile (cringe).
We have lots of good things going for us, including the fact that our personalities compliment each other, we 'get' each other, we talk lovingly to each other (manners go a long way), and we are genuinely for each other. Plus, we created a foundation of honesty and trust early on in our relationship.
So, we have a healthy marriage, right? For the most part, yes, but marriage is like a muscle. It needs to be exercised regularly or else it will get stiff or atrophy.
Due to scheduling conflicts, we've never been able to attend a full marriage conference before. So, when our church announced it was hosting Family Life's, The Art of Marriage, we were eager to sign up; even though I half-expected it to be cheesy and watered down.
Thankfully, I was wrong.
So wrong, in fact, I got my butt kicked a few times during those two days. Turns out, I still internalize some times, and I'm more insecure than I let on. Chris loves me really well, but even he has areas he can improve upon. We are each other's biggest fans, yet encouraging each other to become better and stronger in our spiritual identities takes time, and requires more than just a daily routine.
We are learning and forgiving and high-fiveing and hugging (some times crying) and not holding each other to past mistakes.
Vulnerability is powerful. I highly recommend it.