Cris and I met when I was 17 and he was 19. It was not love at first sight. Truthfully, we both didn’t know how to love anyone until nearly the age of 30. By that time we had been together for 8 years and had 3 children with one on the way. I can almost pin point the exact days we both learned how to love someone other than ourselves and it wasn’t at the same time, obviously. There’s a quote that says for a lasting marriage, “We both never gave up at the same time”, because if you don’t know this already, there will be a time in your marriage that you do give up, and if you love someone you will pray that when that time comes, they will not. It’s now been over a decade for us of ebbs and flows, more downs than ups. But that’s changed. The rest of our marriage has a pretty good forecast. It rarely storms, though we see our share of overcast days and windy nights. We aren’t easy partners, but we are both partners who have the distinct qualities of perseverance and strength. My marriage has been like a wave on a rock, it wore me down for a long time. I didn’t realize I could let it polish me. Through it all there was a very clear message God so persistently tried to bang into my head. The message that I, that we, could be better. Better than co-dependent, better than angry and insecure, better parents, better than either of us knew how to be. So with that being said, here’s to thirteen years of growing into the better.
Today when I texted you that I was having a hard day with the baby, you went to Mcdonald’s and got me food and then took it a step further when you got me a Reese cup, because of course they are my favorite. You cleaned the house when I took the dog to the vet because you wanted me to feel less stressed. Do you remember the days when we used to fight ALL.THE.TIME? Now when I’m upset you communicate with me even though my feelings are big and it’s hard for you. The truth is, all I really want, and ever wanted, is reassurance. Reassurance that you’re here for me, and you’ll keep being here for me. I know we aren’t an easy match. And there are some things that I want you to know, so here it goes: I respect you. I respect you for not giving up on us. I respect you for learning how to be a better man for your family. I respect you for pulling through when things didn’t go your way and you felt like no one was on your side. I appreciate you. I appreciate that you love me with your actions. I appreciate how you want big things for our family. I appreciate when you listen to me even when I say things you don’t want to hear. I appreciate when you confide in me and trust me even though I’ve made mistakes. I appreciate you taking the time to just be with me and the kids because we need you. Someday I know we will be old together and I will look back at all that happened and be glad for it. I will be glad for all of the challenges, all of the work, all of the tears of both pain and joy. Some people say to their loved one, “You are my person”. But you are not my person. When I think of all we’ve been through together, I see how much I’ve learned, how much I’ve changed, how hard I’ve strived to become better because of our marriage and children. And no, you are not my person. Rather, you are my journey. You are my challenge. Our marriage is one of my great purposes in life. And lastly, babe, I love you. Happy anniversary.