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Still Going Strong, by Kate Anderson

The traditional gift for the 6th wedding anniversary is iron representing strength. The modern gift is wood signifying a long-lasting and solid marriage. My husband and I celebrate six years of marriage this weekend. It's been the most beautiful, terrifying, busy, difficult, lonely, eye-opening, and amazing six years of my life. Our marriage is incredibly imperfect, which to me means it's anything but strong or solid. There were some days in the beginning where I didn't know if it'd be long-lasting. What I've learned is that marriage doesn't have to be flawless in order to be strong.

We've been through a lot together. During our engagement period, we went through a reversion of our faith. Our hearts were on fire for God. We wanted nothing more than to share that flame with the people we loved. For our wedding, we used beautiful Latin music for the Mass parts, we picked good readings, we chose the best priest. We wanted conversions at our wedding. We wanted to change hearts, because ours were so full. We made our wedding for the people instead of us.

God had different plans as He always does.

We had children right after we got married. In 33 months we already had three kids. In nearly three years we had an emergency premature birth, three NICU stays, some medical equipment, too many procedures and surgeries, a busy schedule full of therapies and doctor appointments, one diagnosis after the other.

Our life was hard. It was different from everyone else's. We prayed a lot. But sometimes prayer didn't help the way I felt. We had three kids who were very different from the rest. We couldn't do the same things other families could do. They had sensitivities that kept us from going to restaurants and stores. Lack of skills that kept us from going to the playground. They needed so much help, but also so much love.

Through all the isolation, financial stress, sleep deprivation, and exhaustion, God was still with us. Our marriage was still strong even if we didn't feel it. Our bond was growing and so was our relationship with the Lord.

This last year has certainly been a year of growth. Not just within our marriage, but for our kids as well. We bought our first house in February. We both have good jobs and were able to keep working during the pandemic. Our kids are walking, talking, playing, and becoming more independent. Our finances aren't in trouble anymore. Our communication has come a long way. We're healthy at the moment. We're eating better and losing weight.

Even through quarantine, we've found a way to connect and have date nights at home since we can't go out. We have movie night on Friday's where we switch off choosing the movie we watch that either neither of us have seen or one of us has seen. It's very intentional: no phones, no computers, lights out. It has really helped us.

God has truly blessed us in our marriage and with our children. I realized our reversion of our faith during our engagement was for us. No one else. I know for a fact if I hadn't gone through that, I wouldn't be as strong as I am today. I would not be able to get through the long days if weren't for that time.

We are stronger and more solid than ever. Because of our faith we will get through anything. We have a love that's long-lasting. Our hearts are still full and our love for each other is more beautiful than ever before. We thought we were going to change hearts at our wedding. But what God really did was change our hearts for our future. Our wedding was for us. And it was perfect.

Kate lives in Colorado with her husband and three children. You can read her writing at her blog This Special Journey.

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