10 years ago, this month my husband and I stood at the altar and said I do. The following day we flew out of Australia to our honeymoon destination. Everything about our honeymoon was a complete surprise, my husband had organised it all. The only details I was aware of where what to pack and that we could be out of the country for three weeks… a three-week surprise holiday organised entirely by my husband, spoilt – I know!
We have always said how much we would love to return to our honeymoon destination to celebrate our 10-year anniversary. But with the current pandemic and travel restrictions unfortunately this is not a possibility. Over the years there have been many of times where I have caught myself daydreaming of the day that we would return to our honeymoon destination.
About a month ago I thought I would even look it up on the net only to find that it had been burnt down. I was devastated! So many happy memories as a young, newly married couple. Seeing the photos of it burnt to the ground were entirely different to the memories I had of it in my head.
Not long after I organised to gift Daniel with a photo from our wedding for our 10-year anniversary. Yes, I am that person – 10 years on still trying to print our wedding photos! I organised to have it printed but when I went to collect it the woman at front office said, “we have it here, but unfortunately, we had a heap of water come through our roof from the storm and destroy several of our prints.” The woman still handed me my print but also mentioned that I may like to have it re-printed as it did get wet. I unrolled the print to have a look, and there were large streaks from the water stains running through the photo of us standing there cutting our wedding cake.
I walked away and laughed in disbelief. Perhaps I had spent to long focusing on the past, on the happy memories of times gone by when, rather I should be focusing on creating new memories. It was a great lesson. Yet, I still got the picture reprinted.
How easy is it to dwell on the past; the good times, the not-so good times but this is not conducive to a life that is saying, God what do you have for me, for us in this new season?
Isaiah Chapter 43, verses 18-19
“Forget the former things;
do not dwell on the past.
See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
Years ago, I spoke with a beautiful, older woman whose husband had been quite unwell for some time. Upon asking her how she stayed married for so long, she responded – “because we vowed to be married in sickness and in health.” She went on to say plain as day, “we have been in good health and now we are in sickness.”
I have held on to this wise piece of advice.
In our first year of marriage, I spoke with a friend who was a little further along in the journey. She encouraged and reminded me to always remember that we are all just doing the best we know how, in life and in marriage.
You see so much of life is about perspective.
Marriage is for living
Marriage has added a richness to my life that I could never have envisaged nor experienced in any other way. I have felt like we have lived a lot of life in the last 10 years, from moving towns to overseas travel, to experiencing the incredible joy of a newborn to the devastating loss of recurrent miscarriages.
But through it all Daniel has been there, my constant in the highs and lows. He has been there by my side on top of the Sydney Harbour bridge, and by my side whilst I was laying there on the hospital bed.
We have always said that we never wanted a perfect marriage, because that is just not achievable – but with God we can have a good marriage or even a great marriage. So here we are embarking on another decade of marriage, dying to one’ self and committing to living a life well lived!
Elise Pappas is a Pastor and together with her husband pastor a church on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland, Australia. They have a son, Jonathan and a daughter, Sophie. Elise is a former clinical drug trial research coordinator and business owner. She writes about life and ministry experiences.