Well, tomorrow, October 11th, is upon us and it marks the most important day in my life to this point. I swore an oath, made a covenant, or otherwise bound myself to Heather C. Laurence at Tunnel Hill Baptist Church in Elizabethtown, KY 11 years ago. It was the best decision I have ever made.
I always thought that I knew the type of person I would marry. I knew what she would look like, what her interests and hobbies were, and had our future pretty much mapped out. And then I met Heather. On an airplane. With her mother. And she and I barely spoke but her mom and I chatted the whole flight. We both left that plane ride knowing we would end up together but not sure of how it would happen.
After a friendly supper, I made the move to court Heather. Yes, the old school term for checking somebody out for marriage with the father and mother’s approval. I made a bad choice during that time with my military career, but that is for another post. But three months after we met, she and I had started saying, “I love you” to one another, and before I deployed in the middle of February to Iraq I proposed. We had to push the wedding around a little, and settled on October 11th, almost 1 year exactly since we first met (Oct. 13, 2002).
She was gorgeous. I was nervous but elated. I felt so honored and blessed to be marrying someone so special.
If I had to do it over, I would marry her again but this time I would shorten the ceremony, throw in some dancing, and do our pictures outside. Maybe we can do that at our 25th anniversary?
Now we have four children who run us ragged, but who further prove that I married someone just perfect for me. She is an amazing mother whose heart is solid gold towards our little ones. She is their teacher, mother, diaper changer, food preparing, clothes washer, all around maid for that matter, spiritual advisor, and someone for them to play with. I might get neglected a little here and there, but I do the same to her, and we both sort of okay with that because of the season of marriage we are in. We still laugh together, have pillow talk (since we all know that couples can’t talk anywhere other than in bed when both of you are extremely tired and you only had two hours of time to chat before bed, but there were things like football, emails, Facebook, online shopping, dishes, laundry, etc… to take care of so you wait until you are both captive in bed to talk). We enjoy being with each other and are genuinely each other’s best friend.
I remember in 2001 when I went to Australia by myself. I was sitting on a peninsula watching the sun set while camping out by myself after all the locals headed back to work that morning. The waves were hitting the little wooded beach and I found myself feeling sad. I had nobody to experience this with that would be there 50 years later to say during pillow talk, “Hey, remember when we…”. I made a decision at that point not to do anything cool until I was married so that I could share those moments with my forever spouse.
And boy have we made some memories:
- Mount Saint Helens
- Land Between the Lake camping while duck hunters woke us up before dawn firing at their prey
- Minor league baseball games
- Ballets, orchestras, Broadway plays, local theater
- Amusement parks
- 4 births, each with their own story line
- Discovery Cove
- Kayaking in Virginia for something like 8 hours on a supposedly four hour trip
- Spring River canoeing and meeting my extended family
- Two of my great granddads dying, a young cousin dying, and a close friend who was also our pastor getting killed in a car wreck
- Las Vegas
- The Balloon Fiesta – where we never saw a balloon!!!
- Charleston, SC; Smokey Mountains; Chattanooga, TN; Lynchburg, VA; Washington, D.C.; Phoenix, AZ; etc…
- And more, so much more
We have laughed a lot together, had our share of fights, counseling, and make-ups. She has seen me cry, be depressed, be at my worst, and yet she still loves me and desires to be with me – forever.
We made a commitment years ago to remove the D-word from our marital vocabulary. We do not think about divorce as an option or utter the word in each other’s presence regarding our relationship. This has forced us to work through tough times. I loved what my amazing wife said during one particular rough season, “we can be married and be miserable, or we can be married and be happy, the choice is yours.” Now that is commitment and I love her for it.
I was surprised to see that the two biggest things that people told us would help us have a marriage that would last for our lifetimes were trust and commitment. I certainly thought it would be love for one of those. But it is not. When you get into this level of love you leave behind the mushy, romantic love (although it is still appreciated by the wife when you demonstrate your love in that way), and you enter into a depth of love that I believe couples are short on today. But that is another post as well.
So here is to you, the most amazing and wildly beautiful woman I know and who I am going to spend the rest of my life with. I love you. I am committed to you and you can trust me. I hope I have demonstrated that more so in these past few years than in the beginning of our marriage. I hope it continues to be something that I prove to you daily.