May 14th, 2005. 

I am standing in the back of a small chapel in Chattanooga, TN, getting ready to see my love for the first time on our wedding day. As the photographer tells him to turn around, I can hear his sharp intake of breath and see the smile jump to his face as he sees me. I walk towards him and see the glistening in his eyes as he says very quietly, “You are beautiful…I love you”. In that very moment, I knew that everything was as it should be. 

That was 10 years ago today.

10 years ago. 

I know at that moment in time as I left that small chapel with the man I called my husband, that 10 years felt like an eternity. I could barely contain my excitement on that day knowing that there was so much ahead of us, and we would now embark on that journey of marriage together! I felt wild and free!

So much has happened in the last 10 years, that there isn’t enough time in a year to be able to recount it all. The traveling, the experiences, the journey, the tears, and the joy…it’s enough for a lifetime. And it hasn’t always been easy. It’s been a struggle that has been filled with plenty of laughter and tears, and I would do it all over again in a heartbeat if it meant finding myself where I am today again.

As I sit here in my kitchen and write these words, my mind is filled with memories. Memories of long airplane rides around the country and eventually around the world. Memories of the homes that we have lived in, or of the first years of our marriage when I didn’t know how to cook (we still laugh about the amount of chicken, green beans, and canned biscuits we ate!). Memories of road trips, shows, and business ventures. Memories of lots of laughter and lots of late nights dreaming. But my mind is also filled with memories of the tears, the disagreements, the bitterness, the betrayals. I remember the day that I almost walked out, just 3 short years in. I remember the heartbreak in my husbands’ eyes as I bared my soul to him and told him of my mistakes. I remember the nights I laid awake as the tears streamed down my face as I wondered if my heart would ever heal. And then I remember the forgiveness, the promises kept, and getting serious together about our future.

See, this is what real marriage looks like. It is filled with love, joy, heartache, trial, and opportunity.

It takes effort.

It takes work.

It takes selflessness. 

It takes God.

I have known my husband for 14 years. I have a difficult time conjuring up memories that don’t include him being there. It feels as though I have known him forever. I have been married to my husband for 10 of those 14 years, and I know that we are completely different people today than the two starry-eyed lovebirds that said, “I do” in front of family and friends. We are the best of friends. We have found respect, balance, selflessness, and adoration for one another, and let me tell you…that changes everything.

I have nothing but overwhelming respect for my husband as he leads us as a couple, and now leads us as a family of 3, almost 4. I have watched him grow and stretch and come into his own both personally and with his business. He is wildly talented at what he does, and I have loved being his biggest fan for the better part of a decade. I adore him with every fiber of my being and cannot imagine my life without him. And I feel as though my heart could burst into a million pieces as I have watched him become a father. He is my partner in every way, and I wish that I had more words to describe the deep love that I have for him.

As we celebrate 10 years today, I took a few moments to write out new vows for our future.

I love you more than I could ever put into words. Seems cliche, I know, but it’s the honest truth. I have loved you since I was 18, and even though things have been rocky and sometimes painful, I know that my deep-rooted love for you has only grown stronger.

You are my rock, my support, my best friend. You understand my quirks and my issues, and have helped me grow into the person that I am today. You have given me over 10 years of adventures, support, and encouragement. I pray that I have given you the same, and that you feel my support and encouragement even when I’m not there to tell you in person.

Thank you for your friendship and your love. I can only hope that I have given you the same friendship and love in return, and that you have felt how deeply I love you.

Thank you for allowing me to hold your heart in my hands, for trusting me to take care of it even when I have been careless.

Thank you for giving me the gift of being a mother…it is one of my greatest joys. Watching you become a father has only made me love you more.

I promise to continue to love you until the day God takes me home…just like I promised on our wedding day. I know that there will be ups and downs in the future, but we are equipped to handle them with grace and understanding the next time around.

I promise to be patient, kind, and slow to speak…all things that we know I’ve been working on since the day we met. And I promise to continue to collect a multitude of memories and experiences with you and with our kids! Nothing gives me greater joy than running wild and free with you by side. 

I adore you my love. You are my eternal sunshine. 

 

 

{{Cover Photo :: Blue Vinyl Photography}}

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *