Earlier this month, Mark and I had a special opportunity to celebrate our love for each. It was our nine year wedding anniversary!
We've actually been together for twelve years in total, but it feels like it was just yesterday that we had our first date at an oceanfront restaurant in beautiful Del Mar, California. I'll never forget that evening, strolling barefoot along the sandy beach after a fantastic meal together. (And yes, ladies…I kissed my husband on the first date! I mean, how could I NOT kiss him? The entire scene of our first date was one of absolute romance!)
Through the years of our marriage we've celebrated our anniversary in a variety of ways. We've done everything from flowers, to couples massages, to rock concerts, and jewelry. The sky was pretty much the limit!
This year was different though. We had a whole new set of obstacles to work around. Dining at the restaurant where we had our first date was no longer an option since we live on the other side of the nation now. There were winter weather warnings across Western PA as most of the mid-west states were enduring a brutal blizzard, so we knew we would need to stay indoors. And finding a babysitter available to care for our children was next to impossible. Not to mention we've been suffering through some financial hardship this past year.
But the fact that we couldn't really go anywhere special or exchange gifts didn't slow us down. We did splurge a little bit.
We ordered a dozen chocolate covered strawberries from one of our favorite online places, http://www.berries.com. (If you haven't tried Shari's Berries, I highly recommend them. We've ordered from them a lot over the years and have never been disappointed.)
We also chilled a bottle of Kendall Jackson Chardonnay. Then after the girls were snuggled into bed for the evening, Mark and I shared a romantically sweet dessert. There was no TV watching. No radio blaring. No sitting in front of a computer screen. It was just the two of us and total peacefulness.
The strawberries were delicious and the wine turned out to be a very tasty sidekick. The flavor combination of chocolate, strawberries, and white wine was luscious. And the conversation was a perfect reminder of why we love each other so much.
As we talked we couldn't help but revel in the countless special memories we've created over the years. We thought of the obvious ones like our wedding and honeymoon. We also recalled two great family vacations to Disneyworld and smiled as we talked about those precious first moments when we held Faith and Abby in our arms in the delivery room.
But the real nuggets of gold that stood out to us as we looked back over the years were those that required open minds, endless courage and a whole lot of heart. We've suffered countless attacks from Satan. We've also had many occasions when we've had to pull together as a couple, making difficult decisions and sacrifices. Through it all, we've experienced personal and spiritual growth beyond measure and our love for each other has only gotten stronger.
We both believe our love has survived the difficult storms we've had to face because God is and always has been at the heart of our marriage. Having a Christ-centered marriage has been like shielding our love with the full armor of God. (Ephesians 6:10-18) With God in our life, we can stand strong and faithful in our love, trusting Him to carry us through any future tribulations, and knowing He will continue to bless our marriage with absolute joy.
This anniversary we celebrated the strength of our love and nine amazing years united as one. Most importantly, we verbally praised God's glorious presence in our marriage.
After nine years, we still feel the passion we felt as newlyweds. When Mark kisses me, my heart dances. And I'm certain I hear our love gently whispering..."I would go to the ends of the earth for you and with you. Always and Forever."
How do you shield your marital flame from the storms of life?
~Until next time, May God bless your marriage with passion and love!