Nine years ago today, Stephen and I said, “I do.” We had little idea of what we were really getting into, but we were in love and ready to find out what marriage was all about. Nine years later, I’m not sure I know even now exactly what marriage is all about, but I’m so glad that I have Stephen with me while we figure it out.
Nine years ago, we committed to love each other forever, and for the most part, this has been an easy choice. But it has not been always been an easy road, and we have experienced firsthand loving one another “in sickness and in health.” My health issues over the past few years have tested us–tested our faith, tested our relationship, tested our endurance. I have seen Stephen function almost as a single parent at times when I was too sick to get out of bed. He has helped me use the bathroom, helped me get out of the shower, and lifted my legs up into the bed because I couldn’t do it myself–all things I wouldn’t have expected to need help with until much later in our married life. He has pushed me around stores in a wheelchair after my hip surgeries. I have seen him come home from work and immediately start playing with Charlotte, who loves her daddy more than anyone in the world (even me, as much as I hate to admit it). I have seen him make countless lunches for Charlotte, fix endless cups of coffee for me just the way I like it, save the last dessert for me, and put up with my indecisiveness about, well, almost everything. I have watched as he held our girl for the first time, eyes heavy with sleep but filled with love. I have watched as he paced the floor with our girl while she cried and cried and cried as a newborn. I have watched as he has prayed over our girl, read stories to her, and tickled her in all the right places until they are both collapsing with laughter.There were times when we looked at each other after a night of toddler tantrums, not knowing what in the world to do, but I remember being so thankful that in those moments, I could at least be clueless with him instead of clueless alone.
I knew when I married Stephen that I loved him, but that love has only grown deeper as we have walked the valleys of the past few years and as we have shared in the joys and struggles of parenting. He has done more for me in the past year than I ever thought he would have to do for me, and this humbles me and brings me to tears even now as I think about the many ways he sacrificed for me and our family. He would never want me to feel guilty about any of it, and I know he would do it all over again–each and every day if he had to–because he loves me. And not only does he love me, but he loves the Lord, and it’s because he loves the Lord that he is able to give of himself so fully and so selflessly. We only love because Christ loves us, and I have a daily reminder of God’s love for me in the form of Stephen. Because he loves me, I do not have to fear the future because I know I can face anything with him. Because he loves me, I am safe because I know he will take care of me. Because he loves me, each day is a gift. Because he loves me, I can see a glimpse of the immeasurable love that God has for me through his words and his actions towards me. Because he loves me, I love God more.
I love you, Stephen, and am happy to say “I do” to you every day for the rest of our lives.