Years ago when we were still dating, Michele and I were visiting her parents’ farm when I discovered a decorative pillow stashed away among Michele’s belongings. It was white with lace trim, with a teddy bear and the words, “The Best is Yet to Come” delicately cross-stitched on the front.
I smiled and appreciated the encouraging thought. It sounded a little like a proverb from Norman Vincent Peale, but nonetheless it was a nice message of positivity and a bright future.
Recently I found that pillow among the items Michele’s parents brought over, a dispersal of childhood memorabilia they discovered during house cleaning. I pondered the words, “The Best is Yet to Come” and realized they have significantly more meaning today than they did 29 years ago. Through the ebbs and flows of our relationship, through dark times and pleasant, I am convinced that the road to fulfilling and abundant living is the one I take with Michele.
It has become clear to me that God has designed marriage to be a training ground. For me, it is teaching me how to love someone other than myself, how to love someone unconditionally and maturely. I like that. I like it when I can enjoy and even treasure Michele’s differences and nuances rather than trying to change them into what I want them to be. Likewise, marriage is teaching Michele to do the same, and I am the benefactor, on the receiving end of tender love and kindness from Michele, in spite of all my past mistakes and my occasional (constant?) thoughtlessness and selfish behavior.
There were times when it was hard to believe The Best is Yet to Come. Training never comes easy, and it is no surprise that two people sharing a home 24/7 will discover oddities in one another they never knew existed. The only thing that is surprising is how immature I still am after so many years. But there is always hope in God’s plan, how He is working to transform me and Michele into the image of Christ. Our marriage is the best thing He thought of to make that happen. I can see evidence of maturity He is developing in both of us–and that is exciting. I’m fascinated to see where He takes us on the road together, the road of our marriage.
Happy 29th anniversary, Michele! I love you!