It’s been five years since we said “I do”.
I slipped into a white lace gown. You dressed up in a slim, gray suit. It rained that day, and I loved the excuse to wear my striped rain-boots. We cried when I walked down the aisle. And we had the best dance party after dinner I’ve ever been to. I fell asleep on our drive to our honeymoon, but I swear you never stopped smiling.
We’ve celebrated a few anniversaries together, but I’ve been looking forward to this from day one. 5 years. Something about it feels bigger. More real.
I’m not surprised we’ve made it this far. Just surprised by how much fun we’re having. How fast time has gone. And how much work has been required. But I’m truly loving it.
Becoming Me With You
When I think of all the things I love about life today, none of it was planned. None of it was expected.
I didn’t expect to go on a date with the goofy, overly optimistic guy, who taught me how to run freshman year of college.
I didn’t expect to experience love with you and be so changed by your ever selfless love for me.
I didn’t expect all the adventures you always pushed me to experience. Many of which were alone or without you. “I think you should go!” is still what you would say.
I didn’t expect such joy and grief. Or someone to stick beside me through it all.
I didn’t expect the love for all the family gained. To love them like my own and be loved back. No ever talks about how amazing that is.
I didn’t expect to own a business, and take all the career risks this journey brought. You never even hesitated to believe in me.
I didn’t expect the warmth and butterflies to stick around. Yet here they are. When I’m embraced in your arms or admiring your smile.
So much of who I am becoming is because of your support in me. You push me towards hope and believe in me when I don’t. When I see my worst, you see my best. Carrying me through some of my darkest days.
And that’s the biggest gift your love has given me.
What Marriage With You Has Taught Me
It’s only been five years, and I always say “until I’m gray I got nothing to say.” So marriage advice I do not have, as I’m still discovering so much and have so much yet to experience. But honest thoughts on what I’ve learned so far, that I can offer you.
Humans are hard: I was going to say “differences are difficult”, but it’s not really about similarities or difficulties. I think blaming our differences is a wimpy of avoiding the hard work required to communicate the real issues...but that’s just my opinion. It’s just the plain and simple fact that humans are complex people, and it’s work to navigate that terrain. We have feelings that feed reactions, and experiences that create perceptions. Sometimes it’s irrational and illogical. And it’s just tough to communicate through that sometimes.
Food and sleep are non-negotiable: Here’s the only tip I’ll give. Keep a stash of granola bars or nuts in your purse and car. You never know when an errand or drive will be one hangry reaction away from a full blown world war three. Seriously, stock up on those goods like you're preparing for a nuclear crisis. Probably 80% of our stupid disagreements get escalated and out of control simply because we’re hungry or over tired. To love people well you need a rested body and mind, and a well fed one too. Prevention is the best solution, people.
Celebrate the changes: While so much of life is unexpected, the one thing you can expect is change. Your spouse changes, you change. Life brings changes. But instead of viewing change as an insult, I see so much value in seeing change as a gift. Karl’s love and grace for me is physically and emotionally changing me, and I’m so grateful because it’s helping me get closer who I’m going to be. We need not be afraid of the changes. The new jobs, homes, dreams, hobbies. I think the more we celebrate them, and anticipate them, the easier it is to adapt to them.
It’s not all about me: I didn’t realize how selfish and proud I was until I got married. Which is painful to work out, but a gift all the same. It’s too easy to make it about myself. To think my strengths are better than Karl’s strengths. Or my needs are more important than his. But it’s not about making Karl more like me. I am often reminding myself that while we are one in a marriage we are still two individuals. Marriage gives me a front row seat to support him and help him uncover his own journey, in his own time. An amazing process not to be rushed or controlled.
The sweetness of reconciliation: Hurt is going to happen. No one will ever hurt me like how Karl can hurt me. We have such an intimate access to each other’s hearts. Our joys and hurts. And yet it’s going to happen. Hopefully not often, and not in the worst of ways. But the key is in how it’s handled. How do you react when someone hurts you? Do you switch teams, play the blame game? Do you own up and quickly apologize? Do you forgive? There is a sweetness in coming together, in experiencing forgiveness with another. Overcoming the parts that hurt and moving forward into deeper and richer grounds. Building unshakable foundations together cause you know you need to build smart and strong to last long.
Here’s to another 5, another 10, another 20. Another I-lost-count years with you. I’m so honored to be your wife. So blessed to have you as my husband. And am so proud of this life we’re building together.
It’s not easy. But it’s good. Really something good.