I have been a married woman for 417 weekends. I really hope that math is correct! HA! In non-weekend terms, that’s eight years plus a few days. 417 weekends of hanging out, going on dates, cleaning the house, loving our family, having a good handful of ringer fights, agreeing to disagree, and laying on the couch together for most of the day (OBVIOUSLY before we became parents!!).

Truth be told, hitting the eight year mark feels GOOD. You’ve heard of the seven year itch? Well I wouldn’t say we had a true itch to be unmarried anymore (far from it), but let’s just say it feels good to close out this year and celebrate our eighth anniversary.

I don’t know if you’ve experienced the same, but in some ways, the seventh year was a doozy. The good news is that the dooziness produced very good fruit! It was full of very sweet times as well, but somehow, seven years in allows you to really look at each other and decide whether you’re going to truly accept one another or keep trying to improve upon your spouse :).

It meant more honest conversations (ouch), more getting to the root of things, more soul searching and then – more capacity to love in a broader way because we finally wore each other down trying to change each other! LOL. It actually is funny. I don’t think that either one of us really thought we were directly trying to change the other. But when you finally get the grace to stop trying to change him, you realize how much you were trying to change him. Dang! Don’t you think that the ‘subtly trying to change him’ thing is something we will have to guard against for the rest of our lives? I think it just creeps up in every human being before we know it. And it definitely goes both ways. I just find life so much more enjoyable when I let that go! Marriage is certainly more fun when it’s not about wanting him to become more like me.

Breaking through that barrier doesn’t mean the removal of all tough moments, but it does breathe new life into the relationship. And new life is always good!

One thing that we feel God has been leading us in more and more is the practice of mercy in our home and towards each other. Man, mercy is such a common word these days. Familiarity can be a hard thing to break! But mercy has been our pursuit over the past few months. Truly forgiving each other, not holding on to anger for long periods of time, seeing things from their perspective, giving each other passes, the list goes on. The more the self-protection melts, the more mercy can breathe. We’re still on the learning curve – but thankful to be here!

I can say, with all confidence, that I married the right guy. He’s my man. He’s my friend. He’s my iron sharpening (ahem!) my iron. He’s my make-out buddy. And eight years later – I love him deeply. I know him like no one else does, and that is a true honor.

SO this weekend we are celebrating! We are going to our favorite fancy spot for din din and we are already clearing our tummies for all that will be consumed, ha! Food is a big part of our success in marriage. Only half-way kidding as a shared pint of Ben and Jerry’s has been some of the best date night material in our opinion.

As we gear up for weekend number 417, I hope your weekend is shaping into something glorious. I highly recommend a little Ben and Jerry’s if you’re at a loss.

Happy weekend!