You were different from the start. It took me a while to see it, but it was always there. I always thought I knew exactly the kind of person I’d marry. I thought I knew my “type”. I had so many expectations in my head, and you destroyed almost all of them, in the best way possible.
Ever since that day you took a big gulp, hid your sweaty palms and casually asked me out, I knew something was different about you.
My first impressions of you were accurate, though to a shallow capacity. The things I saw in you before really knowing you, I discovered so much more deeply being married to you.
I thought you were a nice guy. I had no idea you were so kind and gentle.
I thought you were likely a leader. I had no idea you were so strong and steady.
I thought you were a good man. I had no idea just how big your heart was.
I thought you’d be tolerant of my inadequacies, but I had no idea how very patient, and how slow to annoyance and anger you were.
Thank you for waking up early to go start my car and scrape the ice during the cold months.
Thank you for bringing me flowers and wine after you know I’ve had a rough day.
Thank you for being a man of your word, and always following through with what you say, to me, and to everyone in your life.
Your trustworthiness and dependability give me security in knowing you keep your promises.
You love, when it’s not appreciated or even noticed. You constantly throw your heart into every relationship you have, even when you are misunderstood, or when others don’t respond.
You choose to pursue reconciliation and move toward those who are hard to love, rather than push them away. What I see behind the closed doors of our home is a man who takes the high road time and time again, because you live before His eyes.
Marriage has given me the privilege to witness your integrity and character first hand. I have a front-row seat to what a heart given to the Lord looks like, and it blows me away. Thank you for being a man of true character behind the scenes, when no one notices except the Lord, and me. Your efforts and your heart are seen by God, and will be rewarded.
Remember when we finally arrived in California after being up all day and night for our wedding, flying out, picking up our rental car, and heading toward our hotel? It was around midnight, and we were both exhausted. I had laid down on a bench at the airport while you went to the front desk to work out the details of our car rental. I’m pretty sure I fell asleep. It was wonderful to know that you were taking care of me, of us. Even though you were just as tired, you took on the responsibility of getting us where we needed to go, and let me sleep on that bench. When you woke me up with our bags and the keys, that was the first of many moments to follow, that I was so glad I married you.
The car ride to our hotel still makes me laugh. I was trying to see as much as possible of San Diego, while at night, leaning over, looking out your window, until we were driving up the steepest hill possible, and you very calmly stated that you could not see. It was then that I realized I was putting both of us in danger by completely blocking your view out the windshield. I’m pretty sure we laughed all the way to the hotel. Much due to the fact that we were very sleep deprived, I’m sure. Still, it’s one of my favorite memories.
Now here we are, and one entire year has already come and gone. It all seems like a dream – a very good one – the kind from which you never want to wake up.
Thank you for this year. For being my best friend, growing into a new normal with me, and building a life with me. You didn’t have to choose this, but you did, and for that I thank you.
Thank you for taking on me. You knew a lot of my faults before we were married, and have seen the fullness of them in this year. I know you remember the night we were watching TV, and something made me cry, and it turned into a full-on panic attack. You were calm, soothing and knew just what to do. You made me lie face-down on the bathroom floor and take deep breaths, gave me water, and didn’t leave my side until I was normal again. You wrapped me up and held me as you prayed peace and strength over me, for however long it took. You never brought it up again – how you wished I wouldn’t do that, or how you didn’t understand why I freaked out. You simply loved me through it all.
You might not remember this day, but I do. It was sometime in the middle of June, and we were about to leave for an event of some sort. About thirty minutes before we needed to leave, the emotions I had been feeling all day rose to the surface. I was really stressed about money, and also feeling like a failure at many things. You sat down in front of me, rested your hand on my knee, made me look you in the eye, and literally refuted every single one of my concerns. We were late to our gathering, but you didn’t mind, because my heart in that moment was worth more to you than your image to others. You always bring me back to the truth. You always remind me who I am and what I really know to be true. You never settle for me believing a lie, even if it’s just a small one. You won’t stand for me losing heart, even the tiniest bit. You always lift me up, pulling me back to where I belong when I stray, pulling my head up high when it’s hanging low.
At first, it was difficult to get used to our personality differences, and how they affected our lifestyles. But somewhere along the way, it became easy as we both realized how the other worked. I saw that your need for people, being around them and caring for them, made you a better husband to me. You saw that my need for rest and alone time with you, made me a better friend to all the people we love. And we made it work. You have enriched my life in every way possible, and brought me into the family I longed for during the few years I lived in a new city as a single girl. I love the vibrancy of our life together.
Do you remember the day we decided to do some summer cleaning, and get rid of some of our clothes? We were taking them to Plato’s Closet. You hadn’t really done this before, but I had. As we pulled into the parking lot, you decided to pray that you would make at least $25 for your clothes. “I need to ask God. He said that if a man takes care of his wife, he has favor and God hears him.” In my head, I laughed to myself, “No way, he’s going to get maybe $8 or $9, tops.” You walked out with $36, and I will never forget that. Thank you for inspiring and challenging me to be bold, and ask for more, even in the little things. I am amazed at the favor you have in life. I’m convinced it’s nothing short of Psalm 112. You are blessed, because you say yes to Him. In a million ways, every single day, you honor Him. Not because you are trying to get something out of it, not because you want an easier, better life, but because you genuinely love God. You amaze me.
Your lists mean more to me than you even realize. You make your coffee, seek God, and make your lists, because you know that this is the place from which everything else flows. You make lists of your personal goals, in work, life, and faith. I love seeing your lists laying around the house, because they tell me that you are ambitious. You are always seeking to better yourself, and those around you. In a weird way, seeing that list of things you are going to do in the next five days lying on the kitchen table gives me peace. It tells me that you are steady. It tells me that I am married to a solid man, who is always reaching for greater things, and it makes me reach, too.
You didn’t get annoyed when you walked in the door and found me spread out in the living room with newspapers covering the carpet, painting. You asked me how the painting was going. Instead of turning on the TV, as I’m sure you were looking forward to doing after a long day at work, you turned on a youtube playlist of music that you knew would inspire me while I painted, and didn’t say a word. You allowed me to be myself, and not only by tolerating me, but by giving me an environment in which to flourish. These are things I adore about you. I’ve never met a man like you.
You don’t complain that I don’t cook as much as I should. Even though I would love to have hot dinners ready for us every night, most of the time, I’m tired and want to make something quick and easy, and you understand that. You never make me feel bad about it. Instead, you ask what would be the easiest thing to cook, and then ask if I’d like you to order a pizza. Honesty, I’ve never met someone as easy-going as you. It’s a breath of fresh air. Thank you.
You don’t starve my need for words of affirmation. You constantly tell me I’m beautiful. You make sure I know that I am loved by you. There has never been a moment that I‘ve questioned whether or not you love me. You have done so well in showing how you feel about me, whether through words, actions, or both. Hearing your words is life to me. Thank you for kissing my forehead when I feel average, plain. Thank you for wrapping me up first thing when one of us walks in the door, and being excited to see me.
Life is half as hard, and twice as good, with you. Two are better than one. You make me more of who I’m supposed to be. I am a better version of myself because you are in my life, and I hope and pray that I am all of the same things to you.
My expectations for marriage were sub par compared to the reality of life with you.
Happy One Year!