Twenty-four years ago today I made one of the scariest, yet bravest decisions ever – I said “I Do” to you – not because I was head-over-heels in love with you, but because I was pregnant, and I wanted to offer our child a permanent and loving family.
It didn’t matter what society said, I knew better. I knew that a loving, intact family is what children need and deserve. So we got married – nine months pregnant, with both of us on church discipline and my mom boycotting our wedding; tying the knot a mere eight days before our little bundle of joy was born.
By anyone’s definition we had a really rough start, and we made a ton of marriage and parenting mistakes along the way. By all accounts we shouldn’t be here today – happily married with a beautiful family. We watched many couples who had really good starts crash and burn (breaks my heart), but today we are 24 years old and going strong.
Today, our marriage is not just surviving, it’s thriving, but it’s not really because of us.
I know that the chief reason we’ve made it this far is because of Jesus Christ and God’s work of grace in our marriage. Still, we had to put in work – the hard work of submitting to God’s Word and bowing our hearts to our First Love – Our Heavenly Father, to make our marriage and home life thrive.
Even my love name for you – Prince Charming – is a complete and utter testimony to the work that only Jesus Christ can perform in a person’s heart, for I remember when I believed you to be anyone but my Prince Charming, or my knight in shining armor. I almost thought that you were the destroyer of dreams. After all, you were supposed to save this young, single mom and her seven year old daughter, but blending a family was hard! Way harder than either one of us had anticipated; and everything seemed to be blowing up in our faces.
Truth is, you really were my Prince Charming, but I didn’t see it because I was blinded by my pain – I just couldn’t see the hand of God working in our lives. Not only that, but I was spoiled and filled with the worldly wisdom that ravages most present day marriages. And I was just plain ol’ weak: I lacked the emotional grit and mental fortitude required to deal with the rough parts of life.
No, you were not perfect, but looking back, you were a rock. You were steady, consistent, devoted, 100% all in, and always home and dedicated to our family.
You were, and still are one of the most unselfish people I’ve ever met. You routinely put our family’s needs ahead of your own. I remember the nights that you said you had enough to eat, or that you weren’t hungry. I know you weren’t satisfied, but you never said a word.
I remember the day when we were college age and “just friends” – actually, we were the best of friends! I looked at you across the room when you weren’t paying any attention to me, and I had this inner certainty that who ever married you would be one very happy woman – and somehow I knew that woman should be me.
Well, today, after 24 years of ups-and-downs; after laughter and tears; after diapers and potty training six kiddos; after nursery school and homeschooling; after several high school and college graduations; after years of financial struggle and minivans with no air conditioning (how fun was it riding around like bandits with the door open?); and after a couple of weddings and two grandchildren, I can honestly attest that I AM that happy woman who I envisioned your wife to be.
I love our life together, Honey. I love our kids who keep us up all night – no matter how old they are. (When they were babies, it was the endless diaper changes and bottle feedings; in their teens, it’s chatter all night at the foot of our bed; older than that, it’s the scary call we’d sometimes get in the middle of the night – boys!) And I love this little house that we dwell in and are virtually bursting out of, and the way we manage to find room to fit just one more. BUT MORE THAN ANYTHING, I love the way you love me.
I want you to know – I need you to know – that if I had to do it all over again, I would choose you . . . I would choose “us” once again, my darling Prince Charming.
Thank you for loving me like Christ loved the Church.
shared with love where I party