This month marks seventeen years of marriage for my husband and me. It is a seemingly insignificant number because it is not divisible by five. And in comparison to others, it is not a record run. I, however, tend to celebrate it all. So, this additional tally mark is worth remarking upon. After a comfortable seventeen years, we are not in need of any gift exchanges, but as celebrators we look to find ways to express our love and mark the occasion.
As a list person, early on, we decided to go with the traditional gifts over the years. For our first anniversary, I framed his book jackets as paper was the traditional gift. For our third, I could have gone awry with the modern gift of leather, but went with a smart jacket that he still wears. Year four was fruit, tickets to the ballet. And so it went on, year after year.
A quick Google search, and I came upon the traditional and modern seventeen-year anniversary gift is furniture. Furniture is sturdy and reliable. Practically, it is necessary; furniture provides function, comfort, and expresses our sense of style. In nostalgia, I think we can all remember our parents’ kitchen table or living room couch. Maybe, it’s grandpa’s chair where we climbed as youngsters to hear a story or tickle his beard. Furniture is significant and a solid gift for a solid anniversary year.
We are mature in our love. Having settled into a comfortable coexistence where we are fully ourselves and live in admiration and appreciation of each other. This is no accident. It is equal parts effort and effortlessness.
Coincidentally, we are in the process of furnishing our little cottage. So we decided to buy furniture together as we marry our tastes to style a cohesive home away from home. Bunks to rest upon, a right-sized table and chairs to enjoy coffee and toast, a love seat facing the window overlooking the lake, dressers to stow suits and sweaters, and, of course, for a couple of writers, we are on the hunt for the perfect book shelf.
When I was in my early twenties, prior to meeting my own soul mate, my father told me he could be happy anywhere as long as my mom was with him. They will celebrate their Golden Anniversary, fifty years, in early 2023. Each marriage has its own magic, and those that stand the test of time are an inspiration for us all.
I now understand my dad’s sentiment as home is not a physical space. Over the years, my home has been in my husband’s arms, standing beside him, applauding his efforts, and encouraging his endeavors. He is my home. He provides balance to my days. When I am anxious, he is calm. When I am tired, he carries the load, when I am happy, he dances with me. When I am broken, he comforts me. When I am celebrating, he toasts my success. When I am anything, he is what I need. I rest upon him. I rely on him. I trust him. I know he will be there.
The gift of furniture represents home and stability. So too does my marriage.
We were married on a cold November afternoon, at a Presbyterian church against a backdrop of the pipes from the massive organ. Light made the stained glass glow. Our pastor led a sanctuary full of our family and friends in joining two families into one. I had beautiful, wavy chestnut locks gracing my shoulders. My everything stood waiting for me to make it down the aisle to exchange our handwritten vows. I felt God in that moment. The Lord steadied me as I made the most important promise of my life.
On this seventeenth anniversary, with gratitude, I reaffirm the scripture, which was read that day by a dear friend now living in the eternal kingdom of God.
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” – 1 Corinthians 13:4-8
This scripture is printed with a gold font on an ivory ceramic cross. It hangs by the door of our bedroom, where I can pause and take note of the love I try to give. And, certainly, it serves as a reminder of the love I have received.
Thank you 💕