Today is my birthday and for one of the first times in a long time, I feel excited to celebrate. Even if I don’t receive one gift or one “happy birthday,” I have come to the conclusion that I am worth celebrating just because I value myself. 

Over the years, I have struggled with my birthday not because I am getting older (well, maybe that plays a small part) but because I don’t want to be disappointed and let down.  When I think back over the years, I remember being younger and being so excited about my birthday. I remember anticipating the celebration and wondering what might happen. Sometimes my expectations were met and sometimes I was deeply disappointed.  Over time, I became complacent and tried not to put much effort into wondering what might happen because I didn’t want to feel disappointed.  It seemed easier to expect nothing great would happen on my birthday than to expect something wonderful would take place.

I think all of us are like that if we are honest with ourselves. We want to be celebrated….we want others to show us they care…..we want to be valued and appreciated even if it is only for one day yet we don’t want to feel disappointment and so we let go of our expectations and try to fool ourselves into expecting nothing.  Birthdays become just another day instead of a celebration of the beginning of our life.      

The same thing can happen in marriage. You begin your marriage with high expectations and hope that every day you will wake up and feel appreciated and valued.  Over time, you experience disappointment and your expectations aren’t met. You begin to feel discouraged and wonder if marriage will ever be what you imagined it to be.  You begin to let go of wanting something great to happen and each day becomes just another day to live through or endure. You stop looking for the little things that make you smile and you begin to focus on what isn’t there. Before you know it, you can’t find anything worth celebrating in your marriage. It becomes easier to expect nothing than to expect something wonderful to happen.

Just like celebrating our birthdays, celebrating marriage is about seeing the value in our relationships. It’s about looking for what is right and not focusing on what is wrong. It’s about finding the value in our covenant together and rejoicing even if we can’t see what to rejoice about with our natural eye.  It’s about taking a moment to say, “I will celebrate my marriage even if there are things I want to be different. I will take a moment today to be thankful. I will do my best today to expect great things to happen in my relationship!”    

You see, it doesn’t matter if your partner “gives you a gift” or says “our marriage is worth fighting for”……. what matters is that YOU make a choice to change the way you have been thinking and learn to celebrate your marriage. Oh, and we can’t just celebrate marriage for one day like a birthday….we have to celebrate our marriages every day.  If we are deliberate in doing that….we will see amazing things happen!!