Thursday, October 2, 2014

one year later.

Dear Bill:

I can't believe our one year anniversary is almost here! We have the cute little B&B booked, our wedding cake topper ready for defrosting, and I hope the perfect new dress I had delivered this week fits.

It took me so long to find you. So many tears, so much deep, heart felt pain, so much anxiety. And then, all of a sudden, there you were.  And you became everything to me, almost immediately. It was only a few weeks in that we planned to get married, and here we are, haven't even known each other for two years, and we've already been married for one.

It is such a privalege to be your wife and to do life next to you, with you. It makes me sad to think of all the people who don't know your heart because they are missing out on such a gem.

You are so funny, so kind, so smart, so gentle, so sweet. After all, I do call you my sweet boy bill. I feel like you have taken the words Bruce spoke over us at our wedding to heart and have tried your best to uphold them during the course of our marriage. Every day, I wake up feeling so loved and so accepted. I feel like every day you take from your store room of love and add to mine. Even on my worst days, when my insecurities and my fears from the past come creeping up, you love me through them and remain steadfast in your gentleness and love. You show grace when I don't deserve it  and you show patience when I know inside you just want to gouge your eyes out. Or mine. You are my hero.

Our wedding was perfect to me; an absolute dream. I love looking at our wedding album and remembering every little detail and how full our lives were that day. I loved that so many people loved us enough to celebrate with us as we started our life as one. I remember our honeymoon and how much fun it was, being totally relaxed and away from the day to day stresses life can bring (me more than you because I can over analyze and be anxious about things until I am blue in the face. You on the other hand are go with the flow Bill and seem to have mastered the art of not worrying. And I love you for the balance you bring to our life).

I  knew taking our vows wasn't something to be taken lightly, and I knew marriage would be hard. And plenty of people told us the first year of marriage was the hardest. Of course, I don't think either of us really believed that. I mean, we were in a whirlwind of love and joy and celebration. What could go wrong?

I remember the fear we felt that cancer had returned, and the pure elation we felt when it turned out to be a false diagnosis. I remember the joy of new jobs and the excitement of a new place to live. But I also remember the stress of new jobs and the stress of moving. I remember the feelings of (whatever you want to call them) from taking a financial planning class and learning to manage our money now that we were one, and I remember how trying it was for us to have only one working car for a few months. I remember being in debt, and I remember the feelings of relief to wash over us when we no longer were.  I remember the excitement of our first married trip. I remember so much laughter, so much fun, so much life lived together in this first year.

This first year of marriage has shown me just how selfish I can be. I would be lying if I said shifting my focus from me to us wasn't hard (and it IS different than dating. I don't care what anyone says). Sometimes, I just want to do what I want to do and buy what I want to buy and go where I want to go and make huge life decisions without explanation and without having to check in with you. But, that defeats the purpose of teamwork, and I don't want to be in a marriage where we aren't on the same team. Over the past year, I have learned that the long term benefit of being selfless outweighs the short term benefit of doing things my way all the time. I have learned that the more I strive to serve you and to love you well, the better I am as a helpmate, and the better our marriage is. I have learned that self sacrifice is a daily choice and as long as it's with you, it's a choice I want to make day after day. It's also a choice that has made me even more grateful for new mercies every day, because there are a lot of days where I mess up, and I need another chance.

This first year of marriage has been such a source of joy and has brought meaning and purpose to my life. I love so many things about you and even when we have hurt each other, you're the only one I want to do life with. You complement me in so many ways and don't let me take myself too seriously. You bring fresh insight to my thoughts and you don't seem to mind all my feelings, even if they are just a whole lot of the same ones! You don't mind my lists, my love for MTV,  my belief that Barbara is human, you appreciate the little things I do for you, you bring me flowers often, you affirm me and you encourage my dreams and hopes for the future. To quote Taylor Swift, your hands are rough but they are where mine belong.

Sometimes, I still lose my breath and have to pinch myself because I never thought I would find this love, and even now, it's still sometimes hard for me to believe it's real and it's mine. It just never occurred to me that such goodness was waiting for me. I don't feel deserving of you at all but you are my living proof that our God is a God of grace and mercy and second chances. You are my answered prayer and evidence of His faithfulness.

So here's to our first year of marriage. I am so excited for the ones to come.

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