I wanted to get you something really cool for our 10-year wedding anniversary–something that signified the magnitude of the milestone we’ve reached. I “Googled” for some ideas, but cuff links, coupons, and creative frames didn’t seem to fit quite right. It dawned on me that perhaps the best gift would be what I gave you 10 years ago–an expression and promise of my heart in front of tons of people.
Marriage is really hard, and for us two years ago it almost became too hard. We’ve learned that sometimes things get worse over time, but you’ve shown me that with a heart dedicated to doing whatever it takes, the broken parts can heal to where “for better” becomes better than ever.
Here is what I have learned about you, your character, and your heart in the last 10 years:
You don’t love me because I’m encouraging, charming, cute, a good mom, and make a mean Mongolian Beef (not to mention, I am incredibly modest about my virtues 😉 ). You love me despite…
~my eating disorder. I’ve scared you to death choosing a path to my own death, yet you pull me closer rather than push me away or give up on me when I cycle through bad weeks.
~my celiac disease. Let’s be honest; there are worse diseases we could
be battling for sure, but celiac comes with some unattractive side effects that don’t exactly say “hold me baby.” I say “we” because instead of abandoning me in the kitchen to fend for myself, you do all the research and all the shopping and all the encouraging and, most importantly, all the taste testing of my experimentation so we can live a celiac-lifestyle together–and so I don’t have to be overwhelmed by all that stuff because you know that I do. (By the way, don’t think I haven’t noticed the extra Tapito you’ve been pouring all over your food lately. It’s okay. :))
~my tendency to be impatient, irritable, and a bit “control-y.” I think this one is pretty self-explanatory–moving on.
~my anxiety and fear of the dark, spiders, food, and even the slightest possibility that we might be inconveniencing someone. You are an amazing spider warrior and a brave scary-noise checker.
~my love for someone before you. Jesus. You totally accept and encourage my love affair with Him; you listen to me when I gush about my mornings with Him and all the wonderful things He teaches me.
Guess what He showed me this week when I was praying about you?
Over the last 10 years I have, at times, taken you for granted; disrespected your love for me; and disregarded your feelings. I look at all the broken parts of me and see you standing beside me loving me even still. You find me beautiful; you find me worth the investment of time, money, and emotion (and emotion is hard for you!); your patience with me is unwavering; and you constantly show me how valuable I am and wish with all your heart I could see it for myself.
I have treated you the same way I treat God; you have responded the same
way God responds to me–with an unconditional love and amazing grace that I cannot understand or fathom to deserve. And it only grows as the years go by! This is not to say you are God, of course, but rather God gave me you as physical, earthly manifestation of His love for me. You are my love gift from the Lover and Savior of my soul. Look, I know that sounds all like “there will be blood,” but I am trying to say that your irrefragable love gives me a glimpse into the divine-ness that is found in the gift of marriage. (I get bonus points for using “irrefragable”–good word, huh? Bet you had to look it up! 😉 )
It’s only taken me 10 years to see but a sliver of what a lifetime together will bring–and I am so excited! I pray I don’t mess it up.
The other week our daughter asked me how she was going to pick the man she was to marry. First I told her she didn’t have to think about that for a long time since she’s only six years old. But then I said,
“You know how daddy treats and loves mommy? Find a man who loves you the same way. Who adores you exactly as you are– and sticks around and loves you even when things change and who is willing to flex and grow with what life brings. Find a man who has the courage to engage a dedicated heart when life requires him to pursue you beyond the confines of comfort to make sure you know you matter–and more importantly that you are loved.”
She promised me that would be the kind of man she’d pick. One just like you.
I love you so much! I would like to say I can’t wait for the next 10 years, but the truth is I am so happy with where we are now that I just want to indulge and enjoy and rest in what we have right this moment. It’s taken us 10 years to find this place–we should stay a while, don’t you think?
So, I have nothing for you to unwrap this year–not even a card, but I couldn’t find one that said all this stuff. Nothing can convey my heart the way my own words can. I promise to keep learning how to love you better, and I promise to keep my dedicated heart to you–for better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health. But especially for worse, poorer, and in sickness because that is when love matters most and when we best honor what God has given us through the gift of marriage.
Happy anniversary, Hon’!