The milestone also got me thinking back over these last seventeen years. Like everyone else, we've had low points: his father passed away, I had early-stage breast cancer, and my depression has been like a third wheel for most of our marriage. And we've had high points, notably the arrival of our son. Another high point was finding our way to Jesus, although that also caused us some struggles.
We were married in a church, mostly for the sake of tradition. I would have been okay with a civil ceremony, but he felt strongly about getting married in his family's church. After that we went to church occasionally--more than just Christmas and Easter, but not regularly.
We'd been married for a few years when I began to feel a tug on my heart. (I won't repeat my whole salvation story, but you can read it at the link.) At first this caused some disharmony in our family because we were not on the same page. We started going to church more often, but for multiple reasons it wasn't a good fit. It was a duty--even a chore--to go. After my husband came to Christ, I suggested that we find another church.
Changing was difficult for him. His family had been going to that church for almost a hundred years. His parents had been married there. We were married there. Our son was christened there. How do you walk away from that kind of history?
But change we did. The first church we attended for a while was not right for us, but the second is where we ended up. We've been active for several years, and we've learned what it means to have a church family. I don't ever want to be without that.
Come to think of it, being active in a church has strengthened our marriage. Learning together and serving together has reinforced our bond. Classes like Love and Respect have taught us to understand each other and work together to resolve conflict. (Not that we always remember that at the moment!) We have opportunities to learn, one on one, from friends and to pass along what we've learned.
So maybe that's it. When Jesus became part of our lives, He became the center of our marriage, which has been strengthened as a result. For as it is written, "A cord of three strands is not quickly broken" (Ecclesiastes 4:12). I believe it. Do you?