“Eww. What’s that smell?”, my kids said in dismay. “I think it’s the flowers,” I said a little confused by my conclusion. “Yuck those flowers smell bad!” The girls were right. I had woken up that morning wondering if the dog or the toddler had peed somewhere. Multiple times. Until, I realized the smell was coming from the beautiful bouquet of flowers that my husband bought for our daughters and me for Valentine’s Day. I’m not complaining here. My husband is very sweet with his surprises for us. And the flowers were a beautiful and nice life filled touch to our lengthy, polar vortexy winter. Seriously, how long is this winter? I was puzzled how a gorgeous bouquet could smell so terrible! It wasn’t the elegant roses. Those smelled amazing. Was it the tiny carnations, or the baby’s breath, or something sprayed on the stems? I couldn’t figure it out. All I knew was that this beautiful display wasn’t all roses.
When I was young and single, I had this naive fantasy of what marriage should be: an expensive house, frequent dates and luxurious vacations, getting along always, staying young and fit, cuddling in our sleep all night. And not many things going wrong because, after all, I’m a great planner, I’m a good person, and I love Jesus. What could possibly go wrong?
There it was our wedding day. I had spent months of planning and imagining. No, more like obsessing. Yet, many, many things went wrong. No, really. Things outside of our control. I didn’t plan this! But some things were too perfect to be planned. How my husband had forgotten his written vows at home and had to recite them from memory and how he made everyone laugh. That’s right, folks, my husband made everyone laugh during the ceremony. Perfect. And how we happened to write the exact same opening line. It’s so cheesy that Hallmark can’t even make that up! How my cake design looked even more amazing than I imagined. How my all rose floral arrangements, from the wedding on a budget aisle at Hobby Lobby, looked stunning. They looked like a million bucks! A special moment I had with my mom. Can’t plan that! But at the end of the whirlwind head spinning day, where I didn’t even get a piece of my own cake, we were husband and wife. Which means everything. Our wedding day was a lesson for us that it’s not all roses.
But there’s some roses. And those are beautiful, because marriage IS beautiful. Love is beautiful. Life is beautiful. Like the first home you have, the first pregnancy test you take, and the first positive test you get. The first time you hold your first baby. (Cue the crying. I have myself crying over here). The first steps, first words, first days of school. The big dreams you both accomplish while cheering each other on. The couples friends you get. The dates you get without the kids and the comfort you have knowing your partner has your back and gets you and your mess.
But there’s also the times you don’t want to plan. The things that smell bad in life. The doctor’s visit that you receive bad news, the terrible piece of mail that comes in, the struggles you go through and the struggles your kids go through, a big fight. A rough patch. A financial loss. Loss of loved ones. It’s not all roses.
Love is learning to grow up together and grow closer together with the roses and the not roses. Love is a mixed bouquet. But a lovely bouquet. One that you can still find joy in and experience. Embrace it and enjoy it while life lasts. Because it doesn’t last all that long as we are merely a vapor. Take all of it in. Because it truly is beautiful. The roses and even the not so roses.