One Year.

Today Daniel and I have been married for one year, and I’d be fully lying if I said the past 365 days have felt like the picture I chose to be the cover of this post. I’d be lying if I said everyday has felt like our wedding day- full of smiles, beautiful moments, overwhelming joy for one another, feeling the presence of the Lord so heavily, and a feeling of too much love for one another. Don’t get me wrong, the past 365 days have been filled with beautiful moments, but they have also been filled with difficult, painful moments- and that’s what I want to focus on.

Too often we Christians feel like it’s our duty to focus only on the good moments and the good feelings, which unfortunately results in us building up an unrealistic facade that no one can measure up to.

Marriage is hard; real hard, and I say that after only a year of marriage. There have been times I have felt like giving up, there have been times I have felt hurt by Daniel, and there have been times I have felt like I couldn’t even say “I love you” to him. But all these are feelings, even though sometimes valid, that I’m not called to follow. 365 days ago I chose to marry Daniel. When Jesus died on the cross for our sins, He did not feel like doing it; He asked His Father to take away that option (Luke 22:42); and yet, He chose to die on the cross for our sins because it was His Father’s will. At times He felt like giving up and at times He felt hurt by those He came to save, but He chose to love and save us still. He chose this because love isn’t a feeling, it’s a choice. And in marriage we choose to love our spouse despite what we are feeling. I choose to love Daniel and he chooses to love me despite how we hurt each other constantly due to sin. We are just two people full of sin trying to be in a holy covenant who fail daily; but, that’s where God’s grace and atonement come into play.

I say all of this, because us choosing each other despite hurting one another (due to selfishness, pride, lust, etc.) is so much more beautiful than the gushy, lovey-dovey, “perfect” love we see on the tv screens that we’ve somehow learned to believe is real. This love/covenant the Lord has called us into has been so painful, but that’s what growth is and that’s why the term “growing pains” is so realistic. It’s painful denying myself daily, learning how selfish I am, and putting someone before myself- and it’s supposed to be this way. My flesh and soul are at war constantly, and being in a covenant with Daniel is what is good for my soul.

I have been in a real, life-changing, difficult, beautiful marriage with Daniel for 365 days. These 365 days have shown me who Jesus is, how He pursues me, and how He calls me to pursue Him. These 365 days have taught me how to know/choose instead of feel and they have shown me when my feelings (rarely) align with God’s Truth.

Daniel Lee Kolbo (when you read this ((lol)), know that there is no one else I would choose to marry. There is no one else I would want to suffer with, lament with, trust fully with my heart, be vulnerable with, and go to the Father in repentance with. I have never seen Papa more intentional than when He brought me to you (it still makes no sense to me). You are the man I choose to love even when I can feel my flesh hating it.

Today I feel so much love towards you, but everyday I choose to love you. Happy one year of marriage.

charity hardaway