Ever wish you could write yourself a note and send it back in time? You know, like to the scared self, the stupid self, the self absorbed self, teenage you, or maybe on your wedding day? Well, today, I wish I could send me a letter back to today, exactly 16 years ago. I’d be nice and wait till after the cake was cut, the bouquet was tossed, and maybe even the honeymoon was over. But… really… It’s been proven that I wouldn’t ever listen to anyone who said anything – I mean, what did they know? But I MIGHT listen to me….
It would say:
I know today is the day you are getting married to a guy you are hopelessly in love with. You even probably think this is the crowning day of all of your whole life… But I am here to burst your bubble. This magical day, yes, the one you’ve dreamed about your whole girlhood life… it’s just a day. It’s A step. It’s not THE step. I am proud of you for getting here… but beware, marriage is not a game, it’s a life long marathon only “won” by working together, keeping your strides even and your pace steady. It takes TWO partners willing to do the hard work of the race to make it through. Do YOU have what it takes. Don’t look at your new husband and see if HE has what it takes. I know the YOU. You did that then. But here’s something you need to know…There will be days you will need to have enough strength for the BOTH of you. He has to make that choice and step on his own as well… Since I know the future, I can say He does choose to do that, and he’s picked you up more times than you’ll ever want to admit to yourself. He’s amazing.
Dear sweet girl… There are going to be huge hills you will actually INCORRECTLY believe are mountains. There will be beautiful views from awe inducing vistas and major mile stones you never dreamed possible. I only wish I could make you stop and slow your pace enough to REALLY enjoy, but from where I stand, I know for certain you will rush ahead and on to the next view, because you are always pushing ahead like that. You forget to live in the moment so often it hurts me to say the words out loud. You will use up your energy climbing one rocky hill early on way too quickly and with all your OWN effort, and you will be shocked and nearly flattened when the real mountain comes into view. Suddenly you’ll realize that you haven’t the strength to climb it. It really will shock you because really, underneath everything you SAID you believed in, there was a little bit of smugness that really believed YOU could do anything you DECIDED to do.
It’s then that your real wedding day will come. The partner you’ve chosen today will honor his vow and carry you when you couldn’t walk another step, and you’ll both have to learn how to truly lean on God and find your source of renewed energy in Him.
Your REAL wedding day is going to be the day you put God first and your husband second, and when you cling to them both with your heart free of the worldly stuff. It’s the unmarked day where you’ll sit with Bible in hand, distraught, with three kids to raise and no energy or means to raise them. It’s THEN that you will take THE step and give your hand into God’s and He will lead you and your life-mate down the path HE has chosen for you… not the ones YOU’ve always chosen for yourself. There’s no special day on the calendar where photos were taken, cake was cut, and family gathered… not for the REAL wedding… but I can promise you that the man you stood up and took a vow to love, honor, and respect will still be there, by your side. And between you and me, he’s more handsome than the day you met. YES, REALLY!
One day, 16 years from today, your best friend will come home from work in the morning with flowers for you on your anniversary. He will let you sleep in, he’ll drive kids around and do breakfast and morning duties… and he’ll let you sleep till you wake up. He’ll be there when you look like hell warmed over and he’ll be nice enough not to say it. He’ll ignore your morning breath and bed head and lean in for a sweet anniversary wake up kiss. He’ll show his love daily by going to work and always doing what it takes to provide for your family. He’ll keep looking for answers for your medical issues long after you’ve personally given up… and he’ll stay by your side, even if you never do find them.
Now don’t get me wrong here, girlie. While I am thrilled you are marrying this wonderful man today… dont fool yourself into thinking you’ve conquered your mountain. Really, the race has just begun, and there is a whole lot of life to go. And to be fair, this letter is to future me too. This is just a bend in the road, and another valley, rocky road, but it will be worth it in the end. There will be more to climb, and more beautiful views to take in together… But don’t forget to keep God between you and before you.
As I sit in year 16 and remember even the few college years before WE officially began, I sit in awe and with great joy at the gift God bestowed upon us as a couple when He gave us each other. May God continue to lead our lives, our marriage, and our love down many paths, and give us strength to run the race before us with courage and stamina.
Love you, Babe… Thanks for loving me through it all – for giving me 3 amazing children, and for our two sweet dogs too. You put up with a lot – but we’re all worth it right? 🙂
I know you say we’ve really got the “for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health” down pat… now we just need the “for as long as we both shall live!”
Today I say I DO all over again. You are far more than just my husband and my best friend. You are my ONE and ONLY. The best gift I’ve ever been given is YOU.