When Darren and I said our vows, “in sickness and in health” Im not sure we knew how often we would get to put this phrase to use. We were actually sick on our wedding day. We both had terrible colds, and felt miserable. We left the reception after only a few minutes and headed out after nyquil. Not exactly the wedding night I always dreamed about. On our first anniversary, I was sick with the same cold and also quite ill with morning sickness. Our second anniversary I was sick with the same again….and our third and well, every anniversary since our wedding day, either Darren or I have been sick. We seem to be cursed. Today is our 8th anniversary. Guess what? Im sick. Bad cold, sore throat and laryngitis. We also have no electricity due to a bad ice storm. He is down stairs manning the generator and the sump pump, while I am upstairs tending the children. Oh the romance! We laugh about our “anniversary curse” and tell each other that maybe next year will be our year. I doubt it, but its a nice thought.
But if I have to be cursed, Im pretty blessed to be able to be cursed with this guy. Our marriage has been put to the test since day one. Its been trials and triumphs and everything in between. But as I look back, I am so thankful to be on this journey with this man. A man who listens to my hurt, says he is sorry. A man who works himself to near death to provide for our family. A man who doesnt settle, but strives to be a better leader and lover every day. Its mushy, I know, but I really am proud of him.
If I could tell my newly married self one thing, I would tell her to look into this mans eyes and see how much he loves you. He loves YOU. Not your body, not your clothes, not our job, YOU. Never forget that. Not through the struggles of family divorce, or death or sickness. I would tell myself that its ok to not be strong for him. Its ok to let him in. I would make sure I understood that just because others failed me, doesnt mean he would. I would tell myself, to be myself. I would tell myself, to just let go and enjoy us.
Some days Im truly sorry for the hurt that we have endured. Some days I feel like it robbed us of our innocence. But mostly, I see those trials as the refining fire that have molded us in to who we are today, and Im thankful.
Marriage is hard. Its so hard to go about life and remember to make your spouse a part of it. Its easy to do the house managing and the child rearing as a team, but what about US. The two people with souls and feelings and ideas and needs and desires and all the things that get neglected in these hard and trying years. At 28, Im just starting to discover who ME is. I wish I would have allowed myself to discover her long ago, but I tucked her away to keep her safe and in doing so, pushed out everyone, including my husband. Im so thankful for a man that stood by me while I have searched and sought ME. I am so thankful for a man that pushes me, daily to keep defining ME. I am so thankful for a man who hears the cries of my heart and works to fulfill those requests. I am thankful, that he saw ME and loved her even when I couldnt.
I look at the father of my children and my heart swells. He has taught me how to love. I hope our sons grow up to be just like their daddy. I hope they have greasy hands and wide open hearts. I hope they fall head over heels for some girl that wants nothing to do with them and end up sweeping her off her feet. I hope they love her with as much tenacity as he loves me. I pray my little girls choose men like their daddy. A man who loves and respects them. A man who helps them and serves them.
This last year has been so difficult. My heart has never hurt more. I have never been more scared. I have never felt like he was further away, at times. But, we committed to getting through together. We held hands and hearts and have kept walking and seeking God. We have been blessed and our love has grown. There is such beauty in this journey.
Husband, thank you for continuing to do life with me, on the good days and on the hard days. Thank you for continuing to seek me out even when I make it impossible. I love you and ours more than mere words can express. Im sorry that we are spending yet another anniversary sick and apart. Maybe next year, eh?