Sweet, sweet man...where do I even begin?
Twenty years ago today, we became husband and wife. At 22 and 20, we were just a couple of kids so madly in love. We didn’t know a lot back then, but we knew one thing for certain: we belonged together. And now, two decades later, I can say with absolute certainty that the past twenty years with you have been the best of my entire life.
When you asked me to marry you, you knew you were getting a broken girl. Yet you grabbed my hand, looked me in the eye and stepped forward with me. With you by my side, everything else seemed to melt away. At that point in my life I needed to feel worthy, loved and protected. You rescued me from all the past pain, struggles and hurt. With you, I felt safe and protected.
You also knew you were getting a strong-willed girl, though I'm not sure you knew the extent of it. I was a woman who had spent her entire life striving to be viewed as strong and independent. The thought of being submissive to anyone, let alone my husband, not only scared me but made me angry. I even suggested having honor and obey taken out of our vows. But over the past 20 years, as Christ entered our marriage, you've lead our home and gently guided me. You've shown me such grace which I am so thankful for. I now consider it such a joy to be submissive and love watching you lead our family!
I can’t imagine life without you. While this phrase is overused, it applies here. During the winter, we don't see much of each other. And it's hard. There are a million times in the day when I want to tell you something or ask you something or get help from you or offer help to you. I have funny things to say and I laugh and say them to myself and imagine you looking at me with that look and me having to explain it further which would make me laugh more. But really, I can’t remember life without you. I can remember life events from before I knew you, of course. But I can’t remember what it feels like not to be yours. Every memory I have contains at least hints of you in it, even though I didn’t know you way back then. There were so many nights I prayed for you, my future husband, even though in my mind you didn’t exist then. But you did. You were always there.
We’ve been through so much together! This sentence never actually does justice to what a couple has actually lived through. What does “so much” mean? We’ve endured the loss of parents and grandparents. We’ve happily been blessed with two amazing, beautiful children and a sweet-as-pie bonus child. We've had a routine surgery end in a near-death experience. We’ve heard the words “blocked kidney” and then endured some very sleepless nights while counting on doctors, nurses and clinics all while relying fully on the Lord. We've been through 14 surgeries at 5 hospitals in 2 states with countless different surgeons. We’ve lived through a separation, job changes, night-shifts, sleepless nights of sick children, financial strain and financial ease and differing opinions. “So much” doesn’t begin to describe it. And the “so much” that we’ve lived through doesn’t begin to describe what is coming. We’ll be sick. We’ll have more financial worries. We’ll worry about our children and their children and their children. Death will make an entry at some point. Yes, we’ve been though some things and we’ll go through some things. But we’ll always have each other.
Thank you for daily loving me, cherishing me and appreciating what I do for the family. Thank you for daily accepting my flaws, forgiving my wrongs, accommodating my weaknesses and inspiring me to be better.
Today, on our twentieth anniversary, I realize that we are once again completely unaware of what the next twenty years may hold. But as we continue to walk down that road I know that we will be together with God by our side. You will be right there holding my hand as we walk through the valleys and reach the beautiful mountaintops. And I couldn't imagine my life any other way.