I was one of those girls who always dreamed of getting married. I wanted to wear a pretty dress, carry a bouquet of flowers, and walk down the aisle to my Prince Charming. Not only did I dream of my wedding day, but my mind also wandered to what it would be like to actually be married, to be a wife: romantic evenings snuggled with my husband on the couch, hours of heart-to-heart conversations, children, fun vacations, making dinner each night, an occasional argument or disagreement. Yes, those were the things that I expected to happen in my marriage. This is what I thought would bring deeper love.
I met my Prince Charming. I wore a pretty dress and carried that bouquet of flowers. I couldn’t have been more thrilled and grateful for the love that I felt for my husband on our wedding day. We had our ups and downs in those first two years of marriage as we learned to live as husband and wife, but it was pretty much as I had expected.
Then, the unexpected started happening. Pregnancy with our first child brought with it 6 months of separation while my husband started his career in the Navy. Uncertainty of where that baby would be born loomed over me during those months. Letters and an occasional phone call were all that were allowed during that time.
My brother died suddenly five months before the birth of our second child. Grief, fear, and change entered my family like had never before.
Our third child, our first son, was born and shortly after was diagnosed with Down Syndrome. Shock, sorrow, and fear once again crept into our hearts as we mourned the loss of what we had hoped for that child.
These things were not on my list of ‘what to expect in my marriage’.
And yet, somehow, it was in the unexpected that our love was made deeper.
Six months of separation taught me how much I longed to be with my husband. His presence, laughter, insights, and encouragement were precious. Being away from him only made those elements of my love for him grow.
Grieving the loss of my brother with my parents and sisters opened up new channels of conversation and comfort from my husband. We learned to cry together and to share our pain in ways that didn’t tear us apart; God used the sorrow to draw us closer together.
Loss of dreams. It is only in the bond of a marriage that two parents can feel the same sense of loss when a child is born in a way that wasn’t planned. Again, we cried together and hurt over this unexpected change. Only my husband can truly understand the struggles that I have as I continue to wrestle with my son’s diagnosis. And I can sense his care and love for me as I cry on his shoulder at the most random of times.
Sure, romantic evenings, fun vacations, hours of conversation and other expected things grew our love for one another. But it was in the unexpected, the hard things that I didn’t dream of, that love grew deeper.
Expectations are inevitable upon entering a marriage. But don’t allow those expectations to limit your love. Allow your dreams and expectations of marriage to open the door for deeper love in the unexpected.
-Lauren, Only From Scratch