Today marks 14 years of marriage for Erin and I. As I sit here listening to Erin crack up over a brand new episode of Duck Dynasty, I figured it was a good time to jot some things down. I mean, just look at that picture? Two twenty-two year olds standing before God and a room of their friends, promising to love each other, no matter what.

Isn’t that what we all have in mind when we made that commitment, all dressed up in black and white, candles burning, rice flying, and new experiences everywhere you look?

I think it’s safe to say that things rarely turn out how we expect. That’s not to say they go off the tracks or are destined to failure (or at least a high chance of it). What I think is for sure is that what two people think life will be like after being made one with someone else is hardly ever what it rarely anywhere near reality. The question is, I guess, will you roll with the changes, try to defy them, or give in and look for love elsewhere.

As you do not know the path of the wind, or how the body is formed in a mother’s womb, so you cannot understand the work of God, the Maker of all things. Ecclesiastes 11:5

How true is that, yet how often we think we know the plans and path God has for us. Our marriage has been quite journey. Self inflicted struggles, dysfunctional and broken up families, boundary issues, kids, finances, career do-or-die moments, you just can’t be prepared for some of these things… any of them, probably.

Now that I’ve written that down, I must say I disagree with it. Completely. We may not be able to predict the future, but we can be prepared for us. We can build foundations that will stand the test of time. We can build friendships that will help us through the struggles with the ones we love. We can learn from mistakes, refuse to repeat them, and live a life where confession and forgiveness are welcome and not looked down on.

My face isn’t the same as the boy in this picture. My smile has seen good days and bad. My hair… well, you know… it’s gone. But I think there’s something in me now that wasn’t there before. Not just experience. Not just success and failure. There’s love in our eyes. Love that has begun to stand the test of time, of trials, and of the ups and down that life will throw.

Just because I spent the evening of my 14th anniversary pulling weeds in Erin’s flowerbeds instead of sipping champaign and all that doesn’t mean I’m any less “in love” than I was that day 14 years ago. In fact, it’s even stronger now. It’s tried. It’s tested. And it’s true.