Kay Warren, author and wife of Saddleback Church pastor Rick Warren, recently reflected on the difficult early years of marriage and how her relationship with her husband has strengthened over the decades in honor of their 40-year anniversary, which falls on on June 21.
In a frank Facebook post, Kay first addressed the early days of their marriage, recalling, "We were barely 21, and although we thought we were incredibly mature, we quickly learned just how immature - and broken - we truly were."
The "Choose Joy" author also revealed how their honeymoon was far from perfect: "We felt intense pressure to have a great honeymoon and a great marriage. The honeymoon, which everyone says is "AMAZING!!!" was not," Kay wrote.
"We hardly knew each other... so despite having read the latest and greatest Christian advice books on marriage, sex, communication, children and money, we quickly descended into marital hell, arguing hotly and unfairly about each one of those topics."
Kay said that while they put on "happy faces" at church, she and her husband secretly had doubts about whether they had made the right decision.
"We loved Jesus and we were pretty sure we loved each other - so why were we so miserable? Why did we both secretly wonder if we had just completely ruined our lives by marrying the wrong person?"
She added that divorce was not an option--"it was the mid 70's and Christians just didn't get divorced"--but "living a lie" put enormous pressure on them.
However, despite their difficult early years, the couple renewed their vows at Saddleback's marriage renewal service this weekend, just a week ahead of their 40-year anniversary.
In continuing her Facebook post, Kay revealed how her marriage has strengthened over the past four decades.
Then she said: "Fast forward 40 years. Tonight at a marriage vow renewal service, as I gazed up into the eyes of the young kid I married so long ago, I couldn't help but stand outside of myself and be astonished at how far we two stubborn mules have come.
"Instead of trembling anxiously as we did 40 years ago, this time we confidently held hands and repeated vows of love, faithfulness, forgiveness, grace, acceptance and HOPE - confident because our marriage has weathered some of the worst moments any marriage can endure and left us deeply, deeply loving each other."
She concluded, "So to the love of my life, let others have the candy sweet love songs as 'their' song (nothing wrong with that!); ours will always be Huey Lewis' "Happy to Be Stuck with You." And stuck together we are - like the sturdiest, most industrial-strength super glue EVER. Two stubborn mules yoked together with bonds (commitments, vows, pledges, promises, oaths) that hold infinite sweetness."
This weekend, over 2,000 people joined the Warrens in renewing their vows. Pastor Rick Warren appeared alongside his wife before and after the sermon, conducted by Pastor Tom Holladay, and told told the congregation "I'm hopelessly in love with this woman."
He also read from 1 Corinthians 13:3-8: "If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing. Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away."
There are three things that last forever, Warren said, and "real love lasts forever."