Thirteen Years of Coming Back

Aug 7, 2023Marriage0 comments

I met him raking leaves my freshman year. We spent the afternoon tagging along with a married couple from church; he climbing into the husband’s truck, I, following after the wife. I often wish I could find them and show them the future that grew from that ordinary fall day. 

We fell into conversation like we were sinking into a comfortable chair. I heard about his family and interests, and I shared a peek into my own tiny world. My speech flowed free from the chains of caution, fear, and vanity. My heart, after all, was set on someone else—I didn’t need to impress the boy with the rake. 

Three years went on, and his face would continue to pop into my world. We’d cross paths on the way to class, in the middle of a dining hall, or outside my dorm. Time would pause for a moment while we eased into familiar talk. When I wasn’t trying so hard to be the girl I thought somebody wanted, I could simply be the one God made. 

He says he kept trying to ask me out. I was too dense to notice. With my eyes set everywhere else but in front of me, I overlooked each request. But he kept asking. In my stubborn blindness, he kept coming back for me again. 


Six months into our relationship, and the square-cut diamond on my finger sparkled almost as brightly as our hopes for what lay ahead. We spent the evenings on the phone, and the weekends closing the gap that separated his apartment in Ohio from my dorm room in Indiana. Each time we’d say goodbye, anxiously awaiting the next time we’d come back to each other again. 


Time inched slowly, and at the same time quickly. Before we knew it the white dress and black tux became decorations that adorned our walls. The empty apartment turned into a home, and the family of two became a family of three, then four, then one more. 

We spent our nights fumbling through the dark to the bedroom across the hall. Bleary-eyed we’d rock the baby back and forth, gently shushing, and praying with everything we had that the Lord would grant sleep. Exhausted, we’d finally collapse into bed, and while precious sleep closed around us, we’d grasp for each other’s hand. 

This dance continued day after mundane day. Every night we’d repeat the same-trekking towards our children first to feed them, then to console them from nightmares, and finally to adjust blood sugars. We’d fall back into bed, reach for a hand, and come back to each other again.


Thirteen years of joy and laughter travel along with thirteen years of frustrating habits. Four thousand days of small little annoyances and even bigger disagreements circled round. We’d exchange cold looks, curt words, and the distance would grow—him in the living room, I in our bedroom. Both of us making mental lists of every slight we were justified in giving and every offense we didn’t deserve. Both trying desperately to prove how stubborn we could be, until—a text. A knock on the door. A hand reaching over. A small offering. An apology. 

Something always gave. We couldn’t last that long. We didn’t want to. We always came back to each other again. 


Thirteen years of marriage, and Lord-willing many more ahead. I look back, and I see the beauty of a promise that won’t let go. I see two people, linked by an invisible cord. Though trial, sickness, and sin stretches it taut, the Lord won’t see that it breaks. Instead, the cord leads us back together, as we slowly pull ourselves nearer. Back to rest, back to forgiveness, back to joy, back to the hand I love to hold, and back to the love that started it all. 

Perhaps it’s just a taste of the mystery of the gospel. The mystery of our God who continually returns to his stubborn and rebellious people. The Lord who made a covenant, and who continually pulls his bride back into his loving care—forgiving, and showering us with undeserved grace. 

I’m not sure what else will tug on the two of us in the years to come. I do know we’ll continue to walk hand-in-hand, connected by a love—by the promise that won’t give. And when the trials begin to stretch us thin, I know we’ll come back to each other once again. 


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