If you’re expecting the “average” marriage post, this one might leave you scratching your head. Because this quick synopsis of what a good marriage is – to ME – is much different than many others I see. But you know what? That’s ok!
Not everyone’s marriage is going to look the same, and thank God for that, right? For me, there are special elements that make ours special to us. It might look chaotic to some, but to us, it’s just what we do!
Taking Our Vows
Jimmy and I were married at a Christian Camp, on the banks of a gorgeous river on a bright, sunny April afternoon. That Christian Camp was also my very first job as a fresh-out-of-high-school teenager! The gazebo we stood in front of was made by my nephew who had recently earned his Eagle Scout Honor, which meant something to both of us, Jimmy having been a former Boy Scout himself.
That was almost 20 years ago!
To say there haven’t been challenges would be an outright lie! To even say there weren’t times we seriously considered throwing in the towel would also be a lie. Storms rage, that’s true, but by God’s great grace, we have made it thus far.
Things Change Over the Years
This marriage was marriage #2 for both of us. We each had a son from our previous marriage. And both boys are disabled.
My son has autism, with OCD and Central Auditory Processing Disorder thrown into the mix as well. He is very high functioning though, and now, he has gained his driving permit. Will he ever drive on the road? I don’t know. But then again, they said he would never make eye contact with me, would never tell us he loved us, and would likely have to be institutionalized by the time he graduated high school.
And that didn’t happen.
Jimmy’s son also has autism as well as Asperger’s, Tourette’s, and several physical disabilities that came from being born prematurely. He is, in some ways, lower functioning than my son, but in other ways, he’s head and shoulders above where I’d like to see mine. Anyway, he is now living in a group home, working two jobs, and has been in a relationship with his girlfriend for many years.
And they’re the best of friends!
We laugh and say there’s “his, mine, and ours” because we went on to have Abby about a year after we were married. She’s been the sunshine we both needed in our lives and is loved not only by us, but fiercely by her brothers as well.
We Do Things Differently
With a disabled son living with us, and no one to come in and watch him for us, we don’t get to go on romantic outings the way most other couples do. We don’t enjoy nights out on the town and we don’t slip away for weekend getaways either.
We have a higher calling. And there’s never been any question as to what we would do. We’ve spent our lives together understanding that to be a family – for us – means something different than for others. And that’s ok. It’s what makes us happy!
Our “dates” include our children. We go camping, we do Saturday picnic trips to the lake, and sometimes, we just browse stores that look interesting to us. For birthdays, we always choose a nice restaurant to go to eat dinner, and we have a blast.
Special Moments At Home
Every once in awhile, I like to do little special things for my husband. These things let him know I’m thinking about him. They tell him he’s been on my mind, and that I love him and want to go out of my way to let him know that.
For some, that might be spending money on a gift. Others might order something special that shows up at the right time. Me? I make ham beans!
It’s one of his favorite meals, however simple and easy to make. Great Northern beans, rinsed, soaked, and cooked. I throw in a good portion of country ham, one medium, shredded onion, and just a touch of pepper. I’ve always believed a good bean soup is ruined by overseasoning it. My hubby agrees.
Yes, it takes all day. I could probably put it in the crockpot, but I prefer not to do that. On one hand, it just doesn’t taste the same. On the other, it seems to lose something along the way. I tend it, adding water when needed, for three or four hours and make sure it’s done not long after he gets home. Adding a pone of freshly baked cornbread is the icing on the cake, and it’s a great way to bring our family together.
What the Future Holds
I’m not sure what tomorrow holds for the two of us. We both have dreams. We both feel God’s nudging in certain directions from time to time. But we both agree, no matter what happens, where we go, or what the Lord chooses for us to do, there’s no one else we’d want to do life with than each other.
It’s not always glamorous. It’s not always “butterflies in your stomach”. And it’s certainly not always about the emotional contentment some people feel entitled to.
Sometimes… sometimes it’s about Ham Beans and contentment.