What We Didn’t Say “Yes” To
Autumn feels like an incredibly romantic time to me.
Instead of saying, “I’m too sticky hot, don’t touch me!” Now it’s more like, “I’m a little chilly, will you please snuggle up close?"
Autumn is also the time of year Husband proposed.
When I think back to that October day, I think about how cold and gloomy the clouds felt in the sky. And how exactly the opposite we felt inside our newly engaged hearts.
His proposal was simple. Memorable. Perfect.
We went to the park to carve pumpkins. When we finally showed each other what we had carved, mine was an obnoxiously happy pumpkin, and his said, “Will You Marry Me?”
He got down on one knee and said a bunch of lovely things I can’t remember. And then he asked for my hand in marriage.
I said, “Yes.”
That was five years ago. Five years since he asked. Since I answered full of giddy.
And I can’t believe how much life can happen in such a short time.
I think back to the woman who said, “Yes.” I think back to what she really thought she was saying “Yes” to:
A wedding. Date nights. Sex. Saying “goodnight” instead of “goodbye.” A friend to share life with. Laughter. Someone to pinch those hard-to-reach back pimples. Hopefully a couple of cute kids. Hopefully growing old together.
And yeah, a few of those annoying things we would find out about each other once we shared a bathroom.
But, hopelessly romantic, right?
People talk about how life can get hard, which can make marriage get hard too, but you don’t really think about that much before you say, "I do." You don’t really expect those really bad things to happen to you and yours.
Ignorance. Naivety. “Happily Ever After.” Sometimes I miss them.
She looked to be in her thirties, with a brightness in her eyes that made me think she’d never experienced sadness. If that’s true, lucky her. I thought. – Nadia Hashimi, The Pearl That Broke Its Shell
Sometimes I feel more like that now.
Like the brightness in my eyes is gone. Like part of that hopeless romantic, naïve, “Happily Ever After” woman died when her daughter died too. Like there’s still plenty of laughter and love and even happiness inside of me, but that their optimism doesn't quite reach all the way up anymore.
And that it might not be fixed until Heaven.
And I don’t think that five years ago, Husband and I really said “Yes” to that.
To sorrow. To pain. To losing our child. To life's hard stuff that sometimes makes marriage hard too.
Of all the sympathy cards I received when our daughter passed away, one that struck me the most was from Husband. Maybe because cards that come from your spouse usually say “birthday” or “anniversary” or “happy” on it.
But this card was a sympathy card. From that man I said “Yes” to five years ago.
The sentiment was simple: With Sympathy – To let you know that thoughts and prayers are with you in your time of sorrow.
The words he wrote inside so profound. So much more deeply true to what it means when you say “Yes” to someone for the rest of your lives:
I know this sorrow won’t go away. I pledged my love to you in sickness and in health, in good times and bad. I still pledge my support to you during this sad time in our lives. I want to be your comfort and leader; physically and spiritually. With so much love, CB
We didn’t think we were saying “Yes” to those things.
To sorrow. To pain. To those times where we grieve differently. Process differently. Have to give each other space to do handle things differently.
But the important thing in marriage is that no matter what, you choose to say “Yes” to each other. Each and every sunny morning. Each and every long, dark night.
In light of everything we go through as a couple, saying "Yes" to each other. No matter the heartache.
And that's beautiful. That’s deep. In its own strange way, that's romantic even.
The happy, hopelessly romantic stuff. And the hard, life-changing, heartbreaking stuff too. But together. Saying "Yes" together.
Maybe you’re there with me right now. Bride, Wife, Helpmeet. Or Groom, Husband, Leader.
Maybe you’re in the part of your marriage story, encountering lots of stuff you didn’t realize you both were saying “Yes” to when he asked, “Will you?”
I pray that each and every day, from the time you say “Good morning,” to the time you finally lay your tired head on the pillow at night. From the time you are enjoying snuggling up to each other in the chilly autumn breeze, to the time you remind him not to slurp his cereal so loudly.
From the time you come face to face with life’s heartaches and sorrow, to the time you realize your marriage is stronger for it.
I pray that all those times, you will choose to say, “Yes.”
With Christ’s unconditional love as your example. And with Christ’s power as your strength.
Just say "Yes."
Grace and Peace,
P.S. What are you and your spouse going through - big or small - where they could use your extra affirmation? Your words of, "I choose you for better or worse. Today, tomorrow, and every day?"