“The best part of the day…When you and me become We” ~ Winnie the Pooh
I am thinker. As I sit down and write a blog I often think through my words very carefully, over and over again. But some days a post is just meant to be simple. The message is simple, the thought not complicated, just a simple truth. The picture for this post is like so many we have seen; a young couple embarking on the journey of marriage. In a wedding picture you see love, adoration, a deep connection…we see a “happily ever after” beginning before our very eyes. The romantic in us gushes at all the blissful implications of the wedding photo. From this moment our happy little couple will go on a fabulous honeymoon, buy a house with a white picket fence, have beautiful babies, and they will all grow to be successful and happy. Ahhhhh…that is exactly how it will go…right?!?!
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps nor record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with truth, It always protects, always, trusts, always hopes, always, perseveres.” ~ 1 Corinthians 13:4-7
Fourteen years ago this picture was taken. A dreamy-eyed 24-year-old girl married her 26-year-old Prince Charming. As the danced together so close they dreamed of what their future would hold. The sky was the limit and they were ready to soar to the top…together! They were on the fast track to their happily ever after and nothing could stop them. How could they have ever known that the future they envisioned and the reality that lay ahead would meet like two cars in a head on collision.
It happens to every marriage. The moment when the fairytale imagined up by the Grimm Brothers, Walt Disney, and Hollywood movie producers meet face to face with the reality called life. It usually doesn’t take a couple long to realize that marriage is hard…really hard. It requires a lot of patience, forgiveness, grace, understanding, compromise, and the list goes on and on. In fact as you begin to realize the full complexity of marriage you begin to understand why so many couples who have just longed for a fairytale end up in divorce court…marriage turns out to be way more complicated than what they signed up for. All they wanted was a happily ever after and what they got was a lot of hard work. Marriage is, in fact, the greatest example of why something created and ordained by God should never be rewritten by man. Man inevitably screws it up and creates it be something God never intended.
Seven and half years into our marriage Matt and I had completely lost any ounce of the illusion called fairytale left in us. In less than a decade our marriage had dealt with unemployment, an autism diagnosis, and the death of a child. Now before you go and feel all bad for us…don’t…there were a lot of amazing things that happened in that action packed seven and half years too. God blessed us with three beautiful children, we had been blessed with a home, Matt found some great employment opportunities, but most of all we truly discovered what it meant to be dependent on God. You see in that first seven and half years of our marriage while the illusion of fairytale combusted God’s intent for our marriage, the words of 1 Corinthians 13:4-7, came alive. We began to understand that our marriage was so much bigger than us falling in love and choosing each other; in fact we didn’t choose each other at all, God had brought us together. Our life together is so much more than a happily ever after; our life together is about fulfilling the mission and purpose that God ordained for us long before we ever even knew “Matt and Nikki” existed. How beautifully the Apostle Paul articulates the message of love in the 13th chapter of 1 Corinthians. You see it always comes back to the fact that God is love and when we love God, His love abounds and comes alive in us and in our marriage. God designed love to be patient and kind, not to be arrogant or prideful, to be shared and not hoarded, to be giving and not selfish, to have a heart of praise when life is going great and the strength to persevere when soul crushing heartbreak threatens to take you down. God has given us everything we need to succeed in our life together. He has given us everything we need, not so that we can just have a mere happily ever after; no God thinks much bigger than that, God gives us everything we need to have a joy and a peace in our marriage that surpasses all understanding. And the greatest gift is knowing that our joy is never dependent on our circumstances but always present because of God’s place in our lives.
“Now at last they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story no one on earth has ever read, which goes on forever: in which every chapter is better than the one before.” ~ C.S. Lewis
Today its been fourteen years since the picture on this post was taken. Fourteen years full of happiness and heartbreak, ups and downs, mountain tops and valley’s and I would do it all over again in a heartbeat. There is not a single moment of my life as Mrs. Matt Catherincchia that I would trade for the world. It is as his wife that I discovered everything that matters most…true love. Love for my Savior, love for my husband, love for my children, and love for all those around me. It is as his wife that God has given me my true purpose in this life, my true ministry and together we will travel down the road ahead. Whatever is in store good, bad, happy or sad; the next chapter will better than the last because God has ordained our union for something far greater than happily ever after, God has ordained our union for a purpose that will be everlasting.
A picture does tell a thousand words. It shows a connection, it shows bond. It illustrates a union created by the very One who is love. It highlights love that endures regardless of circumstances because it has been woven together by the Savior and lover of our souls. It shows two very flawed people who have been brought together by a perfect God to live out a mission far greater than themselves and in accepting that mission God has given us the sweetest most sacred love for each other. This picture shows the world the love of my life fourteen years ago, today, and always.
I Love You Matt! Happy Anniversary.