I returned a few days ago from Alaska, the first of Marrett’s trips to visit my family. We fished, we picked gold flakes out of the river, we breathed in the beauty of the mountains and valiantly tried (and failed) to capture the scale of the place on film. But more importantly, we introduced ourselves as a couple to the people who have known me the longest.
The response was overwhelmingly joyful and supportive. Marrett gets on famously with my parents, winning points with my mom by helping with the dishes and swapping small critter hunting stories with my dad. He fits in with my family in ways that I don’t, namely in his ability to muster genuine excitement over spending fall weekends at my uncle’s remote moose and bear camps.
We also got to visit with one of my oldest childhood friends, one with whom I still miraculously share things in common and maintain a real connection even if we don’t talk that often. She and her parents have been some of the most universally, unquestioningly supportive people in my life, showing love and compassion even when I was making decisions that would lead to disaster. It was my friend’s mother, my former high school youth leader, who gave the endorsement that’s been ringing in my cranial cavity since.
“You can just tell when two people rest in each other” she said as we prepared to leave. “And I’m so happy to see that in the two of you.”
I’m tearing up a week later as I write this, at the glorious and tragic truth in her words. They are glorious because she named in that one sentence the feeling which makes me sure I can marry Marrett and make it last the rest of my life. I rest in him. I fully inhabit myself in his presence. I am unapologetically me with him, and stunningly, he loves every bit of it. Would it be horribly cheesy to say that it’s like that Justin Timberlake song “Mirrors” where I see myself more clearly through his eyes? Yes? Okay, forget I said that (we’ll talk later about my JT love).
This is a new and wondrous experience in my romantic life. Sure, I have known that feeling with close friends and often with family, but never with my intimate partner. That is the tragic part, that I’m nearly 37, preparing for my second marriage, and only now discovering this kind of rest in another.
I am tempted sometimes to mourn for the loss of those years, to lament what I could’ve had. Then I remember that I wouldn’t be the person who I am able to fully be with Marrett if I hadn’t lived ALL THAT. I wouldn’t understand what a gift this kind of love is. I wouldn’t overwhelmed by gratitude morning and evening every day.
That’s the miracle of what our God is able to do with brokenness, exchanging the ashes of failed marriages for the beauty of a love made in God’s image. Neither Marrett nor I would have ended up single in Mankato with the mutual friends who introduced us were it not for the most broken pieces of our lives. And while I am certain that neither of our divorces were part of God’s grand design, I am equally sure that God has used the painful growth since them to make us ready for this new life together. I write this post as a testament, to bear witness to the one “who by the power at work within us is able to accomplish abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine” (Ephesians 3:20). And I write it in hope that I will never forget how blessed I am.