Eight years. Sounds like such a long time. Today Mike & I celebrate our anniversary. It’s funny how life can look so completely different eight years later. Marriage is tough and life is complicated. Things don’t always follow the plan we had laid out. I’m thankful that Mike & I have managed to grow & change together. Our marriage is not perfect, but perfect isn’t necessary. When the years keep ticking by, all you really need is commitment. Total commitment to love your spouse no matter what happens, to love him or her even when you don’t feel mushy inside, to love that person through his or her best & worst days, to honor the vows you made before God even when it seems it would be easier to walk away. I look back at the photos from our wedding day, and I don’t even know who those people are. We were young; really young. To say we were clueless would be an understatement, but we’ve navigated the rough seas and the constant change together. I wonder if we really knew what we were saying when we said our vows. If we were writing them today, knowing what we know now, I think they would go more like this.
Mike to me.
“I promise to listen. Often. Because you talk a lot. I promise to love you even when you’re needy and whiny. I will morph into a night owl after many years of our clashing internal clocks causing us strife. I will let you put your cold feet on my legs every night when we go to bed. I promise to give you thousands of neck massages to help with the ridiculous number of headaches you get. When you start to grow and question everything you’ve ever known & believed (politics, religion, life), I won’t tell you you’re crazy. I’ll let you talk it out, process things out loud, try to make sense of it all. I’ll let you grow and love you even though you’re not the same person I married.
I’ll hold your hand and tell you it’s okay when 14 hours of labor has you convinced you will die. I’ll take care of you for the following two weeks when you feel like your body has been wrecked. When you’re exhausted and on the verge of giving up, I’ll remind you of the things we learned in the breastfeeding class we took together and tell you that you can do this. When I get home from work, I’ll play with our son and I’ll gladly bathe him & tuck him in. I promise to be a hands-on dad.
I promise I will never give up on us.”
Me to Mike.
“I promise to let you be quiet sometimes, because that’s how you deal with life. I promise to love you even when I cannot for the life of me understand you. I promise to make you spaghetti and shepherd’s pie, because they’re your favorites. I will try to accept the fact that you have a dozen hobbies, that you’re more athletic than me, & that you’ll beat me at putt putt golf 99% of the time. I will try to slow down. I’ll acknowledge that I married my father, and therefore, eventually stop trying to make you show up places on time and also stop asking why you need to spend so much time in the bathroom.
When you decide to start a business, I’ll be your biggest cheerleader. I’ll brag to everyone about your accomplishments. When I get pregnant, I’ll do my best to not be one of those whiny obnoxious pregnant women. I’ll say goodbye forever to my size 2 pants so we can have a son. I’ll tell everyone what a great dad you are to him.
I’ll hold you & tell you it’s okay when hospital stays and medical procedures become the norm. I’ll crawl into the twin size hospital bed & sleep beside you when we are both scared. I promise to fight for you. I won’t let you face anything alone. When things turn around and you are finally well, I’ll celebrate.
I promise I will never give up on us.”
I’m so thankful for my husband & the life we share. He is my constant. I’m thankful for where God has brought us this year. I was trying to find my anniversary blog post from last year and couldn’t. Then I remembered that’s because we spent our 7th anniversary in the hospital. It was not a good time in our journey. The reality that Mike was very, very sick was setting in. He had no appetite. When he did eat, it rarely stayed down. He was admitted to the hospital to begin dialysis. It was a low point for us, & I was too depressed to write. So this anniversary, I am extra thankful for where we are. We have even more to celebrate. Happy Anniversary, Mike! I love you more than anything. Thanks for sticking with me through it all.