That 7 Year Itch

About a year ago, I was standing in the security line at Hartsfield, preparing to board a plane by myself to visit friends. I don’t mind the airport alone because it allows me to unashamedly engage in one of my favorite past-times: people-watching and eavesdropping. This particular day, I wish I could have unheard and unseen what transpired in front of me.

There was a couple, probably in their 50s, bickering for the entire 20 minutes we were in the security line. I fully realize I have no idea the path they are walking or what they are facing. But I didn’t need a back-story to be heart-broken for the way they spoke to one another, even worse looked past one another. It was all I could do to not say something.

I know I carry a unique perspective on marriage that few on this earth will ever know. That said, it hurts every time I hear about marriages ending in divorce, married couples who just don’t respect each other, who seemed to have fallen out of love. I mean, Kermit and Miss Piggy are supposedly calling it quits too. Seriously?

I always heard about that illusive “7 year itch” in marriage when couples begin to tire of each other. I’ve never wanted to believe it. Sure, marriage is hard work and comes with it’s share of ups and downs. If Tony were still here, we would be in that 7th year. I tell the Lord often that I’d love to have another shot at marriage. I suppose that’s what I’ll call my 7 year itch. I long to do life alongside an earthly love again. I feel I’ve learned so much from my short marriage and even more from loosing it all.

So, in the meantime, I’ve written down a few things I want to do differently if I get to do marriage all over again. I share these humbly from my young-widowed point of view:

  • I want to tell my spouse thank you more often for providing.
  • I want to find more opportunities to speak life into and over him.
  • I want to set aside my need to be right for the sake of his leadership.
  • I want to rest securely in who I am in Christ and not rely on him for my purpose and identity.
  • I want to take more risks and worry less about security in earthly things.
  • I want to be curious and seek every day to learn something new about my spouse.
  • I don’t want to allow my rigid need for sleep or physical comfort to keep me from precious moments of quality time with him.
  • I want to say the hard things in love; I want to be more open to learning better ways to communicate.
  • I want to see the everyday ordinary of marriage as a gift: the cooking meals, the grocery shopping, the waking up together, the house chores.
  • I want to keep my hands open to what God desires to do through us, instead of trying to control our circumstances and our future.
  • I want to seek to let go of anything (job, financial strains, emotional baggage) that consistently drains us for the sake of protecting our marriage.
  • I want to see laughter as an essential part of our marriage every day; I don’t want to take myself so seriously.

For now, I want to trust that God will connect the dots of my future, remarriage or not. I want to rest in knowing it’s not up to me to figure it all out.

Dearly loved, a big fan of marriage,


I Don’t Know Her Anymore

I’ve been a bit nostalgic these past few days leading up to the 5 year mark of Tony’s passing. I love describing it this way; I’ve waited a long time to be able to reflect fondly on our love story without it being over-shadowed by grief. I still get teary, but it’s more out of a deep sense of gratitude for having been loved so extravagantly.

All of our old pictures and videos are pristinely archived by date and event in an external hard drive; that was one of Tony’s many organization projects. I decided to go back to the beginning of our story, all 3.5 years of it. As I searched through date after date, I noted two things:

  1. Though our time was short, we certainly made the most of it. He opened me to a whole new world of adventure, exposed me to more new things than I could have ever imagined, and captured every moment he possibly could. What a tremendous gift of memories for me.
  2. Though I was never a big fan, he took a lot, and I mean a lot, of pictures and videos of just me.

The first observation is now a part of my DNA. I’ve always got a new travel or adventure up my sleeve because I learned it from him. The second observation is what I’m actually most thankful for at this five year mark.

At the time I HATED that he took so many pictures of me, and I HATED having my picture taken by myself. One video in particular struck me. Tony took it while we were waiting in line at Taqueria del Sol (still one of my faves) on one of our date nights as a married couple. In his inquisitive way, he was “interviewing” me on where we were and what we were doing. I responded with very short answers and kept turning my face away from the camera. I could not have been any less enthusiastic.

Seriously. I was a jerk…or whatever you call the female version of jerk.

Now I want to reach through that camera, grab her by the shoulders and look at her eye to eye. I want to tell her how much she was gonna miss this man doting on her, romancing her. I want to tell her to be excited for that date because her dates with this man were limited; that one day she’d long to be loved like this again. Yes, I offer grace because I know she did not act like this on every date, that she had no idea their marriage would end so soon, and that there were days that she was just plain tired (or hungry!) and did not want a camera in her face.

Even more, I want to tell her to quit believing the lies of never enough, to be okay with just being her. I wanted so desperately for her to see herself as beautiful, not because of any outward adornment, and not even because of what her husband repeatedly told her, but because of Who created her.

I know it was me on that video, but it’s as if I don’t know her anymore.

Sure, I can still act like a jerk; I can certainly get tired and cranky. But what I found on the other side of grief was a deep understanding of God’s great love for me, and with that love, the lens through which I see myself has forever changed. Out of my confidence in who I am in Him, I can be me, fully me. I need not hide my face anymore.

What a tremendous legacy Tony left me in picture after picture that he took of me. It gives me a glimpse of the way he saw me. And the way he saw me and loved me was the catalyst for me seeing me differently. He loved me despite my insecurities. He saw the best in me when I could not see it in myself. And this is what ultimately led me to the realization that if he could love me this much as mere man, imagine how the God of the Universe feels about me.

Tony’s years on earth may seem short by the world’s terms, but the impact he has made is immeasurable. I can never thank him enough. He has set me up well to love again one day.

Dearly loved,

To The Woman Who Feels Less Than

It’s Valentine’s week. In some circles, it’s that obligatory week for flowers and chocolate…things that in my opinion would mean way more on a random non-holiday. For others, it’s widely known as “Singles Awareness Day.”

I’ve never liked Valentine’s Day. Even when I was married, I refused to acknowledge the day, giver or receiver. I’ve never been a fan of hearts or the color combination of pink and red, not to mention the candy just gets in the way of THE greatest holiday candy ever, Easter.

So in the midst of news feeds clogged with kissing selfies and posts way to sappy for even #sappypost, I wanted to slide a little encouragement to women, regardless of your relational status.

My pastor asked us in a recent sermon series, “What breaks your heart?”

My quick and honest answer: Any woman who feels she is less than her invaluable worth.


Words for the Newly Married

I posted a wedding photo on what would have been our 6 year wedding anniversary this past Saturday. Folks were so sweet to express their sympathy; honestly, I wanted to respond back, “I’m really okay.” I posted that photo in honor of a great love and to give credit to the One who has bound my heart back together again.

Having been married a little less than 2 years, I’m certainly no marriage expert. However, I was invited to a dear friends’ newly married group recently to share some insight on what I’ve learned from marriage. I compiled it into what I’d tell my newly married self should I get to do marriage all over again. Here are “Words for the Newly Married,” 10 things I shared with them from a unique perspective of having loved deeply and lost deeply. 


How Forever Feels

“I wanna know how forever feels.” – Kenny Chesney

I couldn’t get enough of that song in the months before our wedding day. I had finally found my “forever” in Tony.


Four years later, I’ve changed my thoughts on forever. My 4-year degree in widowhood and grief have taught me well that I’m just not in control of measuring time, of measuring life. I caught myself recently saying, “this is just not how I thought my forever would turn out.”