Tomorrow is our anniversary. Eight years.
There is just no way of knowing what life will bring when you say "I do."
Perhaps it is best that way!
I am not a confident person but I actually had the audacity to believe I would be good
at being a wife. I thought I could love well. And then I gave it a try. and I kept
needing to compromise and submit and consider someone else. It wasn't so easy
to just simply love. I found I am a VERY selfish person. And I am married to a selfish
person. Makes for some not so pretty moments!!
Our first year of marriage was ROUGH! We actually did save some of our cake and as
we ate it on our first anniversary (it was still really good!) I think we both shed a few tears
thinking back over the year and all that we had been through. We moved twice, Ashley moving
to a whole new state. (I know much better now how much of a change that was for him!) Ashley
started a new business. His mother died 6 months after we got married. We had a long distance relationship and engagement so we were not only getting used to living together we were getting used to being around each other on a daily basis. That is much different than seeing each other over a weekend. We tried to find a church we both liked which proved to be a really really tough thing.
It is crazy to think about all we have experienced together in eight years. It is sad to think of issues we still have not worked out in all that time. It gives me hope to think of ways we have grown in those years. There have most certainly been days or weeks when it was that promise made July 13, 2002 that kept us together. That and our belief in the Lord and seeking to obey Him. It was not that I liked Ashley (and I am certain this goes both ways!!) during those times or that I felt in love with him. It wasn't because I was feeling cherished by him or appreciated. It wasn't that I felt like submitting to him or trying to work things out. I shock myself sometimes with how rebellious my heart can be and how unwilling I can feel to act on trying to make things better. There have been hopeless feelings of "neither of us is leaving but is it really going to be this miserable for the rest of our lives?"
Eight years ago I didn't think about his snoring affecting my sleep or why can't he just put his shoes away or will he eat that last bit of ice cream or what Honduras trip will come up next?
And he didn't think about his place in my heart compared to my family or if I would be ready in time for church or if I would ever handle a gun or if I can ever learn to just laugh rather than take things too seriously. At that time we both thought the other was pretty great. And we still do!! But life has happened. There have been disappointments and let downs. There has been the stress of a new baby and the short tempers that come with lack of sleep. We have seen the best and the worst in each other. We know the other one's buttons and sadly sometimes we chose to push those. We have experienced the better and the worse, the richer and poorer and the sickness and health. And God willing we will experience much more of it!
A couple in the church we have been attending just got married this past weekend. They were giddy with love and excitement as the day approached. It was sweet to see but a part of me, a jaded part, thinks they are naive. They have day to day life to experience yet.
But truly maybe it is day to day life stuff that makes the love even richer. It is difficult most definately. It requires daily choices to forgive and love and try again. It requires a daily choice to attempt to deny self. It means accepting good and bad of someone who can drive you crazy!
But he comes home every night. He makes me laugh. I trust him. I trust his leadership. He loves our son and is an incredible daddy. He made me feel warm and safe and loved after our miscarriage before Jonathan. I know the soft heart that exists behind the tough exterior he often puts on. I see how he agonizes over big decisions affecting our family. I know the heart that reaches out to help people. He still reaches for my hand. I see the sleep, time, energy, money that he gives up for the people of Honduras and know that he would do even more if possible. He gets mad at a movie or show where a child gets hurt or sick. He lets me take sips of his Dr Pepper and Root Beer. He requires Jonathan to be respectful to me. He compliments my cooking. He promised to never leave me.
And I love him. Even eight years later. Knowing what I know now.
Happy Anniversary Ashley. Thanks for chosing me.