the last 40%, an ode to an unfinished marriage

We were with sweet couple friends a little while back. They have a precious and life-giving marriage and it's a place in their life where God has done a lot of work. Good marriage. Solid marriage. Sweet story of redemption. I asked them (I'm a question asker) what they were most excited about in the coming year and the husband responded so thoughtfully and humbly. He said, 

"I feel like the Lord has done a lot in our marriage, but we still have about 10% left of real serious work to do. 10% of our relationship has been left sitting and there is sin we need to deal with and growth that needs to happen. A huge part of me wants to rest in the fact that He's done such a huge work in the 90%, but I know if we push through - the fruit from that last little bit is going to be where it gets really good." 

As he was talking, I was so encouraged. I love when my friend's marriages are awesome, but sometimes when I ask my friends how they're doing - I want to hear the gut honest truth. Mainly, because I'm a vulnerable type gal and I want to share the honest truth back so we can pray for one another and walk together. However, I was a little shaken by his 10% answer and I started staring intently at Nick wondering what he thought about it. Ten percent? Only 10%? I was pretty sure we had 40% left ourselves. I'd say where my heart is concerned marriage wise, a little over half of it is hopeful and free from bitterness and wants good for my husband. The other (just under) half is nervous and holds on to hurt and gets angry easily and has to be reminded to love him. 

Nick looked straight back at me, with honest eyes, and said, "I think we have more like 40%, right, babe?". Woosh. Relief. We may have a whole lot of marriage work to do, but at least we're on the same page. 

On our pre-anniversary date last week we talked about our premarital counseling eight years ago and how our pastor told us it takes 7-10 years to go from being "me" to "we". We sat hand in hand as we drove to the restaurant and agreed, we're not at "we" yet. We so want to be - but we still think of our own selves first. We believe we should absolutely act as a united team, but sometimes it takes more intention and correction than we'd like.

Some anniversaries you sit and count the fruit and blessings and years past and the joys and the happy thoughts. We have oodles of those, I don't want to mess around. And I am so grateful. But one night after we identified our 40% status, we cuddled up and got real quiet and honest with one another and used our whisper voices to name the things that filled our marriage to do list. We didn't argue or try to work it out, we just laid our cards on the table and cuddled. 

And I'm celebrating that. That there is so much redemptive work left for the Lord to do. There is ground left to take. There is sacrificial love to experience. There are two me's that are slowly becoming a we. And we get to have fun on the way while the Holy Spirit does the nudging and the blood of Jesus does the covering. 

Happy Anniversary, love. 
This is going to be real fun. 

pssst: Our anniversary sale is still going strong today.  Enjoy!