Ten years, My Love.
Did we know when we stood at that altar how dear those vows would be? How in the darkest of nights, those promises would be the thread that kept us stitched together?
For richer or poorer.
It seems as though the "poorer" wins more often than not, but I still count us as the wealthiest of all people we know.
In sickness and in health.
You have walked with me through pregnancies, depression, and sickness and have remained strong and steadfast through it all.
For better or for worse.
Those late night fights that end in silence and tears, but you still wake me with kisses in the morning. Seasons of doubt, and seasons of rejoicing. Seasons of loss, and seasons of great gain.
No, My Love, the starry-eyed lovers that met at the altar had no idea, but half the fun of the ride is not knowing what turns are coming next. But in all those turns, your love and affection have been unwavering.
I remember a night in our little blue house when the brokenness of the world became too much in the moment. The final straw, a loved garment found tattered and stained, propelled me into a fit of tears and anger. I heaped all my ugliness on you and blamed you for the hurt within and around me. I retreated to a bath to marinate in my misery, when you softly stepped in. I covered myself out of shame, not for my nakedness, but out of guilt for the cruelty I had just shown. Without a word, you began gently washing my hair, pouring cup after cup of warm water over my head and running your hands through my long, tangled locks. The bitter tears running down my face stopped as the warm water overtook them. You kissed me on my head and walked out.
Your love had made me lovely once more.
Before we married, our pastor gave us this word: When you stand at the altar, you are not meeting a statue, not coming together with a finished product. You are meeting a slab of marble that the Lord is still shaping, one of his greatest tools being marriage.
This decade has carved, smoothed, and defined us. We've had rough pieces broken off and beautiful pieces smoothed and refined. We're far from finished, you and I, but as I watch the shape you're taking, the man that has emerged from the boy I stood across from on that day, it makes me excited to see what else we might become.
As we continue to wrinkle (those are fun new additions, are they not?), as these babies have stretched body and soul, as life leaves us weathered and bruised, I pray that this marriage will remain a cozy shelter, the light that fills our home and the love that wraps our children warmly.
This is harder than we dreamed, but better than we hoped.
You're my favorite, my love, and I pray for many decades more.
First Anniversary in New Orleans. How young and rested we look!
Fifth Anniversary in Nashville. Two babies in, two more to come.
A decade later. Movie night with our treasures.