A friend recently posted this video to her Facebook wall. She’s been going through one very difficult time just a few years into her new marriage.

It gave me pause.
A beautiful song.
But put into the context of this friends posting of it, and its association to the state of her marriage, made me terribly sad.
And weary.
And anxious.
What does it take to hold on anymore? What is that certain something that takes a person, a couple, to the end of the line-still holding hands, warmly, fondly, deeply smiling into the memories of life shared?

Today is my one year anniversary. John Tod Govaert and Patricia Marie Baldwin were married one year ago today.

A year’s worth of stories could be penned here; stories of moving in together. of melting two household’s into one. stories of my youngest adjusting. of his daughter choosing to live elsewhere after ten years of being daddies one and only. of my heavy travel schedule. of his dad dying. of our connection to God. of my church becoming our church.
It’s been a ride. And wow, already one year.
But I am leaving all that alone.
I am going elsewhere for this story.
I am looking to the future from the standpoint of this second time around, second chance at love, second commitment of trust. And I start from a place of brokeness; a friends struggle…and step into defeat.

I’d like to believe that John and I have found the magic ingredient that will hold us together. That because of it you’ll see our smiling, albeit wrinkled! faces shining out from the black and white pages of the Sunday ‘celebrations’ section of the newspaper in 49 years (50th anniversary, get it?!)
But it’s not quite that; a magic ingredient.
And we are not exclusive to the potential success. My friend and her husband share the same odds.
What we have though, outweighs odds.
oversteps any magic ingredient.
supercedes all effort and will of our own.
I admit to it being born of maturity. and life experience. and truly, of getting it wrong the first time. all those things had to come before, in order to come to this place now.
for both of us.
I think each of us could’ve struggled on to the finish line in our previous relationship-finishing with that image in the newspaper. Yet, lacking the genuine, deeply passionate and joyous smile.
It is possible to plod on and get to the end.
It’s just not pretty.
and not what God intended.
So to have gotten it wrong, and to be given the chance to grow up and grow right together, is a blessing. A gift unexpected. Truly grace living every day.

So what is it, you ask, that gives us this advantage? This opportunity to smile the genuine, joy-filled smile over the hard won, ‘say cheese’ induced grin that would’ve otherwise been the finish?

first we chose God.

then we let God choose for us.
God. Grace. Faith.
and ultimately, release.
to give not only our relationship, but our individual lives and the daily, nay moment-ly!, doing of these lives to the control of someone other than ourselves.
we won love as a result. the real, joyous, trusting and deeply grounded love you see in the few and far between wrinkled faces in your Sunday morning paper. We won. and we’re gonna keep on winning. grace.

in love. for 49 more years. trish.