I am the last of my college friends to get married, and had a solid eight-year run as a single adult before marrying Will. As I watched all 12 of them (yes, twelve) get married and start their new lives I watched them experience firsts. Some of these firsts made sense to me, but others seemed ridiculous. Whether it was due to being in a different stage of life or just not letting myself go there emotionally, I couldn't grasp the emotions surrounding these experiences. However, just two months in, I'm starting to identify.
One of these girls is married to an accountant. The kind that travels and studies for work. A lot. In a humorous mingling of timing, this weekend was her husband's last test and she was rejoicing. And as I sat in my humiliation at how much I was noticing and disliking the absence of my husband, I thought about her. This woman is strong. She is independent, intelligent, and personable. And yet, yesterday as she described her excitement of her husband finishing his test some her words were "I'm just so glad to not have to go to social events alone anymore!" It's not that she couldn't go to social events alone. She can. And she has. But they're more fun with her husband. Her buddy. Her date for life. And I'm finally grasping that. It's not like I can't stay "home alone" for three nights. I can. And I have. But cooking dinner, binge-watching Netflix or the NBA Finals, and even getting ready for bed are all more fun with my best friend, my roommate, my husband.
So this got me thinking about all the other firsts I've not yet experienced in my marriage that may come my way. Through these incredible girls I've been able to see and learn from the following firsts:
-first failed pregnancy
-first time to move to the other side of the world
-first time to as Tim Keller puts it, "wake up one morning and not know the person in the bed next to you"
-first time to experience a death in the family
-first financial issues
-first husband job crisis
-first wife job crisis
-first breakdown as a new mother
-first hard conversation with in-laws
-first "dream job"
-first mended relationship
-first dream vacation
-first "us against the world" moment
I often tell people that yes, being the "last" in that group of friends was incredibly difficult at times. But somewhere around the time of the weddings of friends number 11 and 12, the Lord gave me a sweet peace by reminding me that He was giving me a gift. The gift was wisdom, knowledge, and experience. As I'm learning, you never truly know what something is like until you experience it for yourself. However, I believe I've been given one of the greatest cheat sheets to marriage from these girls. Anyone else had a front seat to (to quote Lebron) "not 1, not 2, not 3..." but TWELVE real, dynamic, Godly, messy, redemptive marriages before your own?? Anyone? Didn't think so.
Certainly all marriages and all people are unique and we will all have various experiences. However, as I continue to experience firsts (and eat my words) in my own marriage, I will continue to count these 12 girls and their husbands as my trailblazers and undeserved gifts from God.