The Best Part of Marriage

In the months following our nuptials, I remember running into dear friends from college we hadn't seen since graduation, or older folks in our church home, or any numbers of people who would ask us,

"What's the best part about being married, so far?"

At the time, I remember rattling on about how great it was to learn how to live together, how it was the best feeling to finally get home to them after a long day at work (which reminds me - go read my post on why I'm so glad we didn't live together before marriage!), and how it felt like such an adventure to keep growing as an individual but with someone else by your side to witness it.

Though I still know and love the beauty of those sentiments, each season and year of marriage has consistently brought about new waves of "the best part."

I'm not sure if there's any one thing I could pick out anymore.

Would it be...

Trying new foods together?
Cooking crazy things?
Exploring new neighborhoods or cities?
Laughing over the most ridiculous inside jokes?
Waking up to one another, and kissing each other goodnight?
The fact that our personal space bubbles are practically nonexistant around each other anymore?
That bodily functions still manage to crack us up?
That our dog has become a shared joy and hilarious comic relief?
The weird, secret nicknames we have for one another?
The fact that our shared faith plays such a huge role in how we make decisions and see the world through a different lens?
The way intimacy changes and how beautiful that gift is in marriage?
How we constantly bond over something new? (currently, our love for homemade bread)
The way your dreams and hopes as couple change or adapt to each circumstance?
How we've learned to love each other more fiercely and more deeply with each passing day?
How we've learned that the work required for marriage is best done with laughter and patience?

...and on and on...

If someone were to ask me right this second, what the best part of marriage is, I don't think any one answer could suffice. I've mentioned in numerous other posts, how marriage has wrapped up in its core, so many tiny pieces.

Honesty, trust, patience, kindness, respect, laughter, communication, love, faith, etc...

The best part of marriage, to me, is the part where you realize the privilege you've been given to love and cherish someone for the rest of their life. That God is part of every moment, every trial, and every triumph. The best part is knowing, full-well, that this person may disappoint you as much as you might disappoint them, but that you are each given the same amount of grace and forgiveness by Christ, and you have the freedom to forgive and forgive and forgive (because you'll need it too).

The best part isn't just one part. It's a million tiny little parts. The part where you wake up and hug each other tight and make coffee. The part where one of you is grumpy, and the other one can cheer you up. The part where your crazy, soap-boxey rants are safe from the ears of anyone else, and your spouse validates your thoughts (but makes sure you know you're crazy). The part where you spend a whole day giving the cold shoulder about something stupid, and then three days later forget why you spent a whole day not talking. It's the part where you remember that your marriage was there before babies, and will be there when those babies move away, so it needs nurturing and affection through every dirty diaper and parent-teacher conference. The part where you do something really little - like bring them a glass of water without being asked - and give them a grateful smile of thanks for going out of there way just the tiniest bit for you. The best part is knowing what they'll order, or ordering your meal just so you can try each other's food (and maybe even switch plates). It's knowing that through every season, there will be a new one. That your spouse may change, and you have the privilege to watch it happen and change and adapt along with them, as they will for you. It's sacrifice and remembering that selfishness got checked at the altar (or before!).

Marriage with Christ at the center is the best part. Because only there will you have level ground when things get shaky (because you better believe my peak-and-valley emotions can get the best of me).

The best parts of marriage look different from one couple to the next. What are yours?