“What is more basic than the need to be known? It is the entirety of intimacy, the elixir of love, this knowing.”
~ Audrey Niffenegger, Her Fearful Symmetry
Today is my wedding anniversary. Thirty-one years of knowing her, and my relationship with Virginia is still a mystery to me. There is much more to discover as each year passes, as together we age. As our family has grown, daughters have left (and sometimes returned), grandchildren have been born, and the dynamics always continue to change. Year-by-year, we are forced to rediscover one another again, to renew our commitment to each other, to give still more love, and to learn to forgive even more quickly. Like the facets of a diamond placed on the finger, there is always a new glimmer of light, a new beauty to be seen, a new moment to explore.
Love is sweet, healthy, it brings healing. In the brokenness of this world, love is a gentle reminder that we always hope for something more. That regardless of circumstances, there is a brighter future just ahead. Yet, always mystery remains. For the Christian couple, love is sacramental. Through our union, Jesus Christ is doing something special, and like Christ and His Church, not all of it is visible. It remains a great mystery. In learning to love Virginia, I learn to love myself, and I learn to love Christ even more.
“He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body. ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’ This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church” (Ephesians 5:28b-32, ESV).
The years have been kind to us, our life has been good, God has blessed us in so many ways. Our hearts are filled with the richness of family, and together Virginia and I overflow with memories. We married young, and we started our family soon after. A few years into our married life, with two little girls we set off for Minnesota to attend North Central University. There, two little girls became four: Destini, Talitha, Hannah, and Mikaela. Each daughter a special blessing, each one bringing unique joy into our lives.
We faced some challenges along the way, and continue to, but through it all God has been faithful. Through the years, we have built priceless friendships, many that have stood the test of time, even as life’s circumstances have often kept these friendships distant. Yet, around the world we have the richness of relationships that continue to encourage and sustain us. Virginia and I have lived longer together than we ever lived apart, and we are so intertwined that we are never far from one another’s thoughts.
Sometimes, we forget how precious we are to one another, but never for very long. We quickly remember how our life together brings out the best in each of us, is an encouragement to others, and a source of strength to our family. We have something special. Too often I am guilty of forgetting how special. Then, I look back at the moments collected over thirty-one years, and I am in awe. Amazed that God has enabled us to keep our promises to one another through the years, astounded that there is so much that I can’t explain about our relationship, encouraged because God is truly faithful, as I still explore the mystery found in these four words: “I love you, Virginia.” So, I settle into the comfort of a satisfied life, as I say with joy, “Happy Anniversary, My Love.” And the mystery is that someone so special could walk this journey with me.