Cue Tony! Toni! Tone! It's our anniversary!
Today hubster and I have been married for seven years. We've been celebrating for the past few days trying to relive our first few dates. This has been hilarious because in our old age we're forgetting things and can't quite get the details right. (Did we have burgers or hotdogs when we had our first indoor picnic?)
For about six of the seven years we've been married I've had people constantly asking me "When are you two going to start a family?"
This question drives me crazy, and not just because I don't want kids. This question bothers me because it implies that a married couple isn't truly a family until they have kids. And I have to disagree.
No, we don't have kids, but we are still a family. We have traditions, great memories, and unconditional love for each other -- and that's what family is all about. I honestly think that more marriages would last longer if couples would see each other as family the moment they say "I do."
I'm obviously no expert. Seven years feels like a lot to me but is nothing compared to the 31 years my parents have been husband and wife or the 67 years my husband's grandparents have married. But I think I'm on to something.
My pastor once shared a story about a couple he was counseling as they struggled to deal with the wife's infidelity. The wife was unfaithful only once, but the husband was ready to call it quits (and understandably so). He just couldn't bring himself to forgive her. Ironically, at the end of one of their sessions the husband asked my pastor for rehabilitation recommendations for his brother who was addicted to alcohol and drugs. This man's brother had messed up time and time again, and even stolen money from him. But he forgave his brother each and every time. Why? "Because he's my family," the man answered. "Well, isn't your wife your family too?" my pastor asked.
Many of us remain dedicated to our families no matter how much they screw up. We love them in spite of their mistakes and imperfections. How strong would our marriages be if we did the same for our spouses? Now don't get me wrong. I'm not advocating that you stay in an abusive relationship or turn a blind eye to self-destructive behavior. But a spouse is a family member you chose to have. Shouldn't they receive the same grace and mercy you extend to the family members you didn't get to choose?
So don't ask me when I'm starting a family. I already have.
And now a few family photos!