We celebrated our 10-year anniversary last week.
Ten years is a long time. And absolutely no time at all.
At any stage of my young life, I would have had a variety of answers to the question of what I wanted to be when I grew up. But what I really wanted most was to be a wife.
Being married is the hardest and most wonderful thing I've ever done. And though I don't think we have it down yet, our Father has been so faithful to lead and teach us.
We were practically children when we got married. Gracious. Toddlers! Honestly, on that perfect January day I didn't think I had much to learn at all. But marriage has taught me a lot of things I never expected.
Like how to appreciate Star Wars. And how to cut a boy's hair. And how to live – at least for the first few years – on a steady rotation of spaghetti and tacos.
I'd like to say I've learned how to be a graceful loser at chess. But mostly we've just learned that's not a game we can play in the Newman house.
I've learned to appreciate the pure joy of sitting on a couch in a quiet house with my favorite person. Better than any hot date I ever hoped for 15 years ago.
I've learned that sometimes the best way to love someone is by ironing his shirts.
And, every day, being married teaches me about the way Jesus loves me.
Ten years ago God decided to give me an ever-present reminder of how good it is to be His Bride, loved by Jesus, the Bridegroom. So He gave me a husband.
I'm convinced that almost everything God designed exists to direct us to Him, to show us His character and His plan. This is so true of marriage. Being a wife gives me the clearest earthly picture of the Gospel love of Jesus.
A love that sacrifices itself.
A love that still chooses me when I'm ugly and cranky and mean – but doesn't let me get away with it.
A love that is patient and kind.
A love that relentlessly pursues me.
A love that continually directs my attention to the Source of all love.
A love that leads in a way that makes it a joy – a relief, even – to submit.
This 10 years has just been a shadow, an incomplete picture of the real thing. But it has been the greatest joy of my life.
It is so so good to be the Bride.