It was more than seven years ago that my now-husband first put this diamond ring on my finger, and nearly seven since he added the wedding band. In those past seven years, we’ve been through a lot.
We’ve lost pregnancies, parents, siblings, friends, jobs, our tempers, our health, and occasionally our minds. We nearly lost one of our own children once. We’ve survived one child in college and two in diapers. We’ve made it through the terrible twos (twice). We’ve redecorated two different rooms and lived to tell the tale. We planned a major home renovation without killing each other. If it’s true that “whatever doesn’t kill us makes us stronger,” then we’ve become pretty strong. We have learned to endure.
The word “endure” implies some kind of solid foundation. If something endures, it has a root, a base, an underpinning, something that allows it to weather a storm without breaking, if not without bending. Bending, in fact, is often crucial to enduring. A building designed to endure an earthquake cannot be rigid; it must be able to flex and bend and accommodate shifting ground. But it must have a deep, sturdy base to adhere to. If it is rigid, it will snap when outside forces buffet it. It must be able to give way a little. And if it is not firmly fixed to its base, it will be swept away. Without a base, it cannot endure.
My marriage has endured for these seven sometimes tumultuous years because of its base: our mutual faith in God and our mutual respect for each other. The former gives us our strong, sturdy, unshakeable base. And the latter allows us to give in a bit, to bend and flex and make allowances. The first holds us firm; the last gives us freedom. Together, they have allowed us to endure.