In the Beginning

Lately I cannot get enough of reliving the early days of life with my husband. We are nearing our tenth wedding anniversary, and I love thinking about the sweetness and excitement of our beginning. I remember what we both were wearing the first time we went out for coffee. I remember when he first put his arm around me. I remember being unable to fall asleep at night because I just wanted morning to come so I could see him again. It is fun for me to think that back then we didn’t realize we were beginning our own story. Little did we know that we had an entire future together. These days of mortgage payments, worn tires and furniture, dinner plans, parent-teacher conferences, endless weeds and laundry, and emerging gray hairs are rather different than our early days of long walks, long talks, and playing rummy all night while listening to Bruce Springsteen and drinking Dr. Pepper. The best part, however, has remained — we have each other.

  A doodle from a college notebook of mine

A doodle from a college notebook of mine

In our culture of rampant hook-ups, cohabitation, contraception, and divorce, it has become necessary for Christians to emphasize the sacramental, sacrificial, and difficult nature of marriage. We can be uncomfortable with Prince Charming and romantic comedies. We can be upset at the idea of kid-free restaurants or grown-up only outings for fear of buying into a culture that can be hostile to the existence of children. However, let us not forget that romance is good! Let us not overemphasize hardships over goodness. God made the process of falling in love enticing on purpose. It is a strong force that even poverty, war, and sorrow cannot stop. Marriage should never end a romance! I personally find it important to continue child-free dates, silliness, and flirtation. Life can be incredibly hard, I know, how I know. Have fun when and where you can, though.

As I am sure many of our friends know by now, I absolutely love how-we-met stories. Spend enough time with us and I am sure to ask you your story. I think my favorite part is how the eyes of both husband and wife light up as they look at each other and begin to tell their story. We often think we don’t have a story to tell. But every couple has their own. Ask any grumpy elderly pair about how they fell in love and you will see the flutters of young love spark again. The specific details are rarely astounding, but the story is always unique and worth telling. Doesn’t it make you smile to think that most married couples were giddy for each other at least at some point? It makes me happy to think about that.

We are all well aware that the family is under attack. We can often feel hopeless as the state of family culture continually spirals downward all around us. The burden feels heavy and solutions ineffective against secular and demonic forces. The reality, though, is that society is made up of individuals. Society can only be restored one individual, one family at a time. Let us not be overwhelmed by thinking the task of reforming society at large is on our own shoulders. We can reform society, but one moment, one act of love at a time, and only through Christ who strengthens us. I believe that fortifying our own families is one of the best ways we can fortify the whole. Enjoy your own stories, have a family motto, tell your children how you fell in love, show your children photos of your life together before they were born, tell them all about the day they were born. I believe children experience immense joy and security when they know their family stories. When they know that their very existence sprouted from the seeds of love between their parents, they will have an irreplaceable confidence. Love your own stories and get to know those of others. I truly believe that by doing so, much fruit will be borne.

Share with us your own ‘how-we-met’ story!

Stephanie Gilfillan