Photo by John Keatley
Twelve years ago today we said “I do” in the sticky hot July heat, so in love and without a care in the world. I remember our photographer never having to ask us to smile, because we couldn’t help but grin from ear to ear the entire day, all starry eyed and rosy cheeked. We were twenty-one years old and when I think back, I can’t believe what babies we were.
You were smitten with my beauty, I was smitten with your charm. We started dating April of our senior year of high school. We had chosen colleges states apart and decided we would date for a few months and then break up for college. Little did I know that you, my first boyfriend, would sweep me off my feet slowly but surely.
When you left for Arizona, I realized for the first time how much you meant to me. We continued a friendship over those next few months and had many long phone conversations. It was clear during our time apart that God was drawing us to Himself and to each other. Christmas Eve we officially started dating again. I’ll never forget the butterflies I felt seeing you walk down the hill, wearing your wool sweater, flowers in hand, as you came to greet me at my dorm room after we had been apart for months. Baby, you still give me butterflies all these years later.
You moved back to Washington, started attending SPU where I was going to college, and also worked a full time job so you could buy me the engagement ring of my dreams. You proposed bright and early one morning and surprised me with my favorite breakfast. We had decided not to live or sleep together until we got married and kept those convictions until our wedding day. Many thought we were crazy, but we were crazy in love and knew what we wanted, to spent the rest of our lives together.
And so that hot July day we recited those traditional wedding vows that have been said for generations, having no idea how many times those vows would be tested in the years to come.In our twelve years of marriage we have grown up together and those bright eyed and bushy tailed kids have seen some hard times. Together we have endured joblessness, depression, and infertility, just to list the tip of the iceberg. There have been many times we have gone to bed angry, said harsh words to one another, not been on the same team, and wondered how the heck two stubborn people like ourselves can be happy together.
And so here we are twelve years later, with no simple advice or tips for friends that are seeking marriage advice. The trite advice we would have given years ago falls flat, but there are a few things I’m sure of. I know that God is love and that His love is greater and more powerful that I can imagine. I know that His grace is sufficient and that His mercies are new each morning. I know that each day I choose you, my husband. You are still the one my heart desires…your touch can melt away the stress from the day, your singing puts a smile on my face, your cooking always touches my stomach and my heart, your convictions inspire me, and your tenderness with our son makes me excited for this season of life God has us in. Tomorrow is not guaranteed, troubles will come and go, but I choose you and trust the Lord to continue to guide us each day as He faithfully has these past twelve years. I love you Angelo, Happy Anniversary.
“Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.” Colossians 3:12-14