This summer marks for us the milestone of eight years: eight years of walking onward together beyond the altar of our wedding vows.
Eight years of holding hands over gear shifters, two tiny jaundiced babies in the hospital, and dinners waiting on the table. Eight years of lacing fingers between walls spattered with words thrown and words exhaustedly spent.
No one told us when we were listening to each other say our vows that my husband would teach me the greatest lesson about listening in a moment of deep frustration — in the kind of conversation where all the words and voices are escalating so quickly that some gasket is going to give, and soon.
It was my turn to crescendo, and I did, and then noticed the oddest thing. His head tilted to the side as he took in my rattled thoughts, and then he said —
“You’re right about that. I’m sorry.”
It was early on in our marriage. He taught me how to take in heated words without hurling them back like hot potatoes in retaliation, and it changed the temperature of all our conversations to follow.
No one told us when our names were penned on the certificate how much like a broken record my journal writing would cycle, back to the same earth-shattering discovery about marriage… but there it is, multiple times:
Two words lighting up the pages of the past eight years, every time in shock, and usually preceded by some scribbled thoughts on how you can’t move a person to change by talking at him. Or nagging him. Or suggesting things gently in his direction. (Or stopping to consider that he might, in this situation, be the one seeing clearly.)
It’s only when I look back over the track of eight years that I question my own intelligence in having to learn the same lesson over and over again.
But prayer works — and in eight years of learning to three-leg this race, we’ve never traveled better than when we’ve listened to His voice set our direction,
Never made more headway than when we’ve been at the foot of where our stories began.