Today is our anniversary. We have been married for a whole year. A big, full, crazy, special, tilt-a-whirl of a year, one of the best and most life-altering I’ve ever had. And, now, a year later, I feel like I’m starting to have tiny nuggets of ideas about marriage and what it is. Tiny sprouts of thoughts. And a lot of questions.
One thing that I can say for certain is that it is strange to be twenty-three and married in Chicago. Good, good, good, good, but strange. I believe that getting married to Isaiah is probably the best thing I will have ever done in my life. Absolutely. Definitely. But people here look at me like an alien when they find out that the ring on my finger is a marriage ring. I have had to defend my marriage a lot lately. When they find out that I’m married and only twenty-three, people ask me why, they ask me how it is, they ask if I’m “religious”, they ask me a lot of things. Honestly, I think I’ve answered pretty stupidly most of the times people have asked, intimidated by the wide eyes or the questions, replying with things that are too defensive or shrugging it off like it’s not a big deal.
But I have a better answer now, and it is this. I never ever want to live without Isaiah Bornman. Under no circumstance will I ever not want him to be a part of my life, my partner, my friend. And if that doesn’t deserve marriage, then I don’t know what does. He is the person in the world that I cannot bear to ever lose. I didn’t plan to get married young. I had no idea about love at all. I literally just met Isaiah when we were both eighteen and that was it. It was incredibly simple. We picked each other, there was no hassle, a slow steady opening and joining of souls, and the future was clear. Our love story is uncloudy, direct. I never questioned it, never agonized over whether to move forward or not. I can’t even tell you why we picked each other, what it was about us that made us attracted to each other. It literally just happened! One minute I was a child going about her business, and the next I was feeling like the luckiest girl in the world with the person that I liked very much telling me that he liked me too!
Sometimes it’s strange to remember that there is a whole category of life experience that I am missing. Romantic heartbreak and all the caveats thereof are things I do not know about. I won’t pretend to. The things that lie at the center of other twenty-three-year-olds’ love lives are completely foreign to me. And that’s okay. That’s great! I feel incredibly lucky when walking down the street holding Isaiah’s hand knowing we have a home to go to where we live together, knowing for sure that he will never leave me or decide he doesn’t like me anymore. Marriage has been good to us. God has been good to us, specifically and repeatedly. We don’t deserve it, we didn’t do very much to earn it, we just found each other and kept going. And I’m a million times grateful.
I haven’t written a lot about our marriage here, mostly because I write things when I need to work them out, process them, figure out how I feel. I’ve known all year how I feel about my marriage. I feel like it’s wonderful! Too simple to write about, because no one wants to read me type “I’m so happy” over and over again. But it’s way worth writing about. Marriage is no small thing in my life. It’s bigger than my apartment, bigger than my career, bigger than my lists of things to do when I wake up in the morning or links to click. Marriage is huge to me, a thing that I’m working on, learning about, thinking about even when I don’t think I am. But a lot of things felt louder to me this year than our marriage, more blaring, more unsettled, more confusing. This has been our first year living in the city, first year out of school, first year paying rent, first year dealing with upsetting anxiety, first year with misplaced ambition. The hands down best and least confusing thing this year has been is a first year of marriage. Everything else has, honestly, sort of shaken me up.
But not marriage. No, marriage has been for this year the underlying joy, the hardwood floor, the bottom line, the thing to come home to again and again and again after long days away. Life has not been especially easy this year, and figuring out how to adjust to the challenges of life has not been especially easy for me and Isaiah either. But marriage has been easy. Choosing each other has been easy. Knowing that amidst all the unsteadiness I have a person who is with me and for me is exactly what has made this year of giant change possible for me. It’s all making marriage, what it actually is, why it is a big deal, make real sense to me. Now that we have had time to live it, test it, see what it feels like. I’m starting to realize for real now why the church is called the bride of Christ, why Song of Solomon is actually so profound, why divorce is so shattering and heartbreaking, why marriage exists in the first place.
Because once it happens it holds everything else up. The thing that happened to me and Isaiah one year ago is beyond ourselves. We are different now than we were before. We didn’t need to be married, our lives were not unfulfilled or unpurposeful before we got married, no not at all. We weren’t wandering through the world relentlessly searching for each other like our lives depended on it. But now our lives do depend on it. We had direction before, but now the fact that we are married gives us new direction, reorients us, shifts our balance. Now I cannot live without him, even though for eighteen years of my life we were halfway across the world from each other and I imagined my future husband as a Ken doll or Jim from The Office. Now, I don’t want to ever be without him, and I am not supposed to. Our whole life has changed, because where we were two now we are one. It’s the fundamental thesis of marriage, but it makes actual sense now, feels alive, active, at work in my life. Of course I don’t ever want to live without Isaiah! I’ve been married to him for a year. He is a part of me, and will continue to be a part of me and I of him more and more for the rest of our lives.
So, very simply, I am going to keep choosing Isaiah every day for the next 365 days, just like I’ve done for the last 365 days. Because he is a part of me. It helps that I am also madly in love with him. I love the way he looks at me with his sunflower eyes. I love it when he eats cereal really fast in the morning, faster than I could ever, ever eat it. I love his confidence, his sureness in the world, the steadiness that he shares with me. I love the quickness of his thoughts, the width of his imagination, the ways he feels set apart from the rest of the world. I love his focus on other people, his readiness to help, his generosity. I love that holding his hand now feels the same as it did in 2012 when we did it for the first time, and I love that we’ve changed so much but also stayed so the same together and apart since then. I love sitting beside him on couches, I love it when he slows down to match my gait, I love touching his hair and hearing his voice. I love the way that he walks through life without fear, without distraction, with simplicity and honesty. I love the directness and clarity of his faith and his frustration with beating around the bush. I love how he will literally eat anything. I love his crazy laugh when he is happy happy. I love Isaiah Bornman, and it is my greatest privilege to have been his wife for a whole year.
So, although I don’t speak directly about my marriage very often, it’s a part of everything happening in my life right now and every day going forward. Our marriage, our partnership, our choosing each other every single day, good or bad, is holding us up, keeping us steady, giving us something to stand on. There is so much we don’t know, so much more to learn, so much more life to live, but right now our marriage is our foundation, built on the even firmer bedrock of Christ and I wouldn’t trade it for gold.
Throwback to our DREAM of a wedding, one year ago today! Here are the blog posts I wrote about it, along with some photos from the best party we’ve ever thrown. Part One, and Part Two. Wish I could go back and live that day all over again. But re-reading these posts is almost as good. Many thanks to everyone who supported us and helped us to make that day and our marriage a reality. You are all a part of us too. Love, love, love.