15 years ago we started down the biggest, scariest, most exciting journey of our lives. We were making that commitment to love, honor, cherish, and obey through sickness and in health, for richer or poorer. In reality it started before that. I can remember walking up her drive way late one night and telling her I love her. She said, “I’ll believe it when you say it like you mean it.” The thing was I did mean it, but me being the idiot I am tried to make a joke out of it. I knew pretty early on that I was in love with this woman.
I can remember (and it’s a story I’ve told hundreds of times) sitting at the front of the church and seeing her with her family in the pews off to my left. I remember my Aladdin moment. I was struck by the beauty of the woman in that church that day. I can remember her saying, “You know I have a kid,” and it not phasing me one bit. I can remember, “Don’t ask me that,” when I asked her out for the first time. I can remember the teasing of the kids behind us in church because they knew I liked her. I can remember funnel cakes at the fair, singing during the intermission of a play, taking her to meet my parents (completely by surprise) for the first time, meeting her parents at their house for the first time. It’s all there. Some of it may be a little fuzzy now and I may not remember every little detail, but I remember the big moments. I remember all the firsts. I remember long nights with a pregnant woman who couldn’t sleep.
I remember all the good. I remember all the bad. I remember despair at the thought of losing her. I remember going to the pawn shop to re-buy the rings I had bought a few years earlier. Marriage isn’t always easy. It’s not always fun. There will be trouble. There will be trials, but it’s those moments that define relationships, that define you as a person and you as a couple. Those rough patches, those low points, serve to strengthen the bond you forged the day you decided to get married.
It’s been 15 years since we made that leap, since we decided we would spend our lives together working with and for each other for the rest of our lives. It’s been rocky, it’s been bumpy, but God’s blessed every moment we’ve traveled down that Broken Road. I wouldn’t change any high or any low. All the moments, all the memories of the last 15 years have shaped who we are as a couple, who we are as parents, who we are as friends, who we are as partners.
I want to be able to say when our children look back on our lives that their parents were the perfect example of a successful marriage. I want them to remember all the hand holding in the car or on the couch. I want them to remember all the long kisses in the kitchen. I want them to remember us struggling to figure out how a bill was going to be paid, or gas was going to be put in the car. I want them to remember seeing us work together to solve any problem. I want them to remember the stress of redoing a house, but how in the end it was worth every ounce of stress, sweat, and effort. I want them to say, “my parents have been married for 30, 40 or 50 years and they still love each other as much, if not more than the day they got married.”
I garden now. Who would have thought I’d ever want to do that? I want chickens. What has this woman done to me? Oh yeah. She’s made me interested in things that really matter. She’s made me a better person just by being around her.
She makes me smile. She makes me laugh. When she walks into a room I can’t help, but feel the room warm up. She’s beautiful. She’s intelligent. She can back up all her arguments with solid facts. She can correct my grammar.
This woman means the world to me. I’d go anywhere and everywhere to be with her. I didn’t know it when I moved to Oklahoma, but it wouldn’t be long before I found the one God had sent just for me. It’s been 15 years. We’ve got at least 50 more left in us, but I think, so far, we’re off to a good start.