Sometimes you have to work at loving your spouse. Sometimes you have to compromise and just let them do things their way (no matter how incorrectly he loads the dishwasher). Sometimes you have to stay up until the words are nice and the tears are slowed before you can go to bed. Sometimes you have to hold your spouse when they lack the strength to stand on their own. Sometimes you have to hold each other in a pile on the floor because neither of you can stand, period. Sometimes you have to ask for forgiveness because what you said, did, or both, was completely hurtful. Sometimes you have to forgive when forgiveness hasn't been asked for. When you love unconditionally, you leave yourself vulnerable to the battle scars of proving that love. Brent and I have battle scars.
Sometimes you will laugh until you can't breathe. Sometimes you have to pinch yourself to believe you found a spouse as awesome as the one you're married to. Sometimes you will become so overwhelmed with joy in your heart, there will be no words to express how blessed you are. Sometimes you will love so much you'll hurt. Sometimes you will get lost in their eyes and pray thanks to God for joining you together. Sometimes you will look across the room as he makes those game-faces while playing his xbox, and even though you're annoyed he plays that game at all, you'll be so enamored with his cute little lip-pursing, you don't even care about the game anymore. When you love unconditionally, you leave yourself vulnerable to the blessed joy of basking in that love. Brent and I have basked.
Ten years has had its share of struggles. Heartache. Despair. There have been times both of us have been ready to walk out on our vows. There have been times we've shown our teeth more from gritting them than from smiling. We've let the sun go down on our anger. We've put our own needs ahead of our spouse's, and for that matter, ahead of God's word. We've been to the brink, but we've come back.
Despite everything, Brent has become the man I always wanted. Not only the man I always wanted, but the man I always needed.
In the beginning, I was crazy about him because he was crazy about me. Then I was just crazy, and couldn't handle being with someone who was crazy about me. We had a rocky relationship. It wasn't because of one thing or another - it was because we were both human. We were both immature and selfish (though I would say I was more so than Brent). We were both new to this "committed relationship" thing. The pastor who did our premarital counseling told us - to our faces - he had doubts we were going to make it. There were times we had doubts, too. But here we are - and I can tell you with confidence: neither of us is going anywhere.
We have endured hardships. We have had tremendous heartache. When I was pregnant with Haley, my husband nearly lost both of us. I was knocking at death's door, and we had no idea. When I was pregnant with Harlynn, she died in my womb. We lost our daughter. My husband has been through more than any man should have to face. He buried his child. Our child. We have been through things no couple ever expects to have to go through. We have walked through some of the hardest, darkest days any person has to face. And because he has stayed alongside me, we've both come out the other side.
He has had to support me in every possible meaning of the word. Financially. Physically. Mentally. Emotionally. Spiritually. All-other-allys. He has been my nurse, my therapist, my handyman, my mechanic, my landscaper, my chef, my plumber, my chauffeur, my pest-controller. He has been my strength, my support, my heart, my head, my very will to keep on going. He has been and continues to be my everything. He is my hero. He is my husband.
There are not enough words, and certainly not any words that contain adequate meaning, to express to you how wonderful Brent is as a man, as a husband, as a father. My vocabulary falls entirely short in describing his worth and value as my better half.
There are days he drives me crazy. There are moments he infuriates me. There are times he makes me so mad I could spit. But if I ever had to be without him, I would be incomplete. I would be empty. I would be absolutely lost. Lost.
When Brent and I met, God put something into motion we never could have imagined. Celebrating 10 years of marriage means more to me today than it meant walking down that aisle. My wedding was one beautiful day (sick as I was, it was still beautiful), but our marriage is a culmination of commitment, love, and faith. Our marriage is more beautiful than any one day.
Ten years ago, I married a man I thought the world of. Today that man is my world.
The preacher who married us, the one and only JP Morgan, read the following scripture from the book of Ruth during our ceremony.
"Don't urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the LORD deal with me, be it ever so severely, if even death separates you and me."
"What God has joined together, let no one separate." God joined us together. God kept us together. Marriage is a lifestyle - yes - but it is nothing without God. Brent and I would not be the couple we are today, and would not have made it through the trials and joys we've walked through, were it not for God's faithfulness.
Brent, my groom....you are my very heart. I love you, I admire you, and I cannot imagine a single day of my life without you in it. For the next ten minutes, and for the next ten decades - I Do.
~ Our First Dance as Husband & Wife ~