How can it be that we have already shared ten years together? When people told us at our wedding "you'll blink, and it will go by that fast . . . " I thought I knew better. I mean, ten years was such a long time. In some ways, it has felt like you have always been here. In other ways, it feels like just yesterday you walked into the radio station office, and Joe introduced me to "his good friend Nate" with a wink and a nudge.
You were tall and skinny, shy, with an infectious laugh, and gorgeous eyes. Over the next few months, I learned that you were fresh out of college, living with your parents, working third shift at a retail store, spent your free time playing video games, and loathed camping, dogs (or any pets, really), and any food with flavor. How exactly did Joe see this playing out?
I am so thankful that God delighted to bring us together. Who better than Jesus to take two people as different as different could be, and bring them together for his glory? We always said we were glad he was smarter than we were. :)
It may have taken some convincing on both our parts in the beginning, but we soon grew to realize the gift we had been given in each other. I, for one, had come to see that beneath your playful, everything-football-loving, competitive veneer, was a man I could follow for the rest of my life.
You have deep convictions, and a strong will, which gives you the strength to hold fast to those convictions when it's difficult. You are fiercely loyal, which makes you a steadfast friend, and also a trustworthy confidant. You are a hard worker - when you take something on, you don't give up, and won't settle for anything less than perfection. You are not a man of many words, but when you do have something to say, you are thoughtful and I take notice.
You are patient with me. You "lay down your life for me", as Christ did for his Bride, the Church - and serve our family in ways that no one except God will ever see. You are tender with me - and compassionate when I am suffering. Over the years, our version of romance has deepened, and you continue to show me that you love me in practical, and sometimes lavish ways.
By God's grace, you have been faithful to me through more "life" than I ever knew could be packed into ten years. Through four pregnancies, along with the morning sickness, sleepless nights, and newborn fog that accompanied them. The emotional strain of financial uncertainty, and more recently, the upheaval of living in two states simultaneously, and then learning to live together as a family unit once more. Watching close friends' marriages crumble, and even the grief of tumultuous situations within our church body. Through all of this, your eyes have never wandered, and you have never turned to another.
I am grateful to you, for all the laughter you have filled our home with, and the joy surrounds our family each time you come home to cries of "Daddy's HOME!" For all the times you have collaborated to whisk me away for an evening, a weekend, or sometimes just a moment with a kiss. You remind me that I am your beloved bride, and you still see me as beautiful and precious to you when you come in to a woman still in pajamas, disheveled hair, and crying children clinging to her body.
Our marriage has been more work than I ever thought possible, and has created more growth in me than I ever knew I would be capable of. It is true that marriage is a crucible the Lord uses to bring about his purposes of making us more into the image of Jesus. We are not the same people we were when we walked down the aisle ten years ago, and for that I am so incredibly grateful. Prayerfully, our marriage is also a story for the world to see on display the goodness of God toward two needy, sinful people, who depend on his grace every moment.
We had grand ideas for ways we would celebrate this milestone in our marriage - and we ended up celebrating it in a quiet, comfortable way that left both of us content, and grateful for one another.
|10 years later, a family Anniversary celebration|
"Therefore, throughout life, no matter what may lie ahead of us, I pledge to you my life."
I still do.