Katie and Jackson,
Today is the 20th anniversary of the start of our family. On December 23, 1995, your father gave me the honor of becoming his wife.
In a few years, you might think your mother is terribly dull and dim. You'll wonder where her brains went and why she doesn't understand much about life. While you are free - and might even be encouraged - to think that, I DO want you to know I fully, 100% understand life... especially the hardest and best parts of it, like marriage.
In an effort to help you find a person you might want to spend the rest of your days with, I thought of some things you might want to look for in a spouse. I hope you will indulge me as I dispense a little advice, and you might even laugh a little along the way. Look for someone like this:
- The kind of person who will help you mop up a flooded basement
- And dance in restaurants with you
- And look at you with love-filled eyes
- Who will want you no matter how many stretch marks you have or jean sizes you've gone through
- Who will tolerate stopping to take hundreds of photos in a town you want to explore
- Who, on the 23rd anniversary of the day you met, will rub your head in the emergency room and sit on a tiny bed to hold you
- Who will change ALL the dirty diapers for your newborn in the hospital, not permitting you to do it yourself because you're recovering from surgery
- Who will encourage independence for you in pursuing outside friendships, knowing spouses don't have to be your everything - and, honestly, shouldn't be anyway
- Who will trust you to stay connected to high school friends, even a select few of the opposite gender
- Who will trust your judgment enough to say yes to church and follow the dance steps you show him for dancing with Jesus
- Who will ask you to stand beside him when he goes public about surrendering his life to Jesus
- Who will pray for you in the dark hours of every morning before leaving for work
- Who will get up at an ungodly hour to get to work early so he can make it home for the Cub Scout meeting
- Who gives his word and keeps it
- Whose chin trembles at sappy movies
- Who is the first to say sorry
- Who will stand beside you at funerals and hold you while you weep... and weep WITH you
- Who reminds you every single day in the pit of postpartum depression that you will be okay
- Who will indulge your love for kitchen gadgets by buying you an avocado slicer for Christmas
- Who tolerates you cross stitching silly sayings on pillows
- Who will drive an hour out of the way to get a geocache in another state for your children
- Who will clean the disgusting shower without being asked
- Who will change the dressings on your wounds
- Who will set firm boundaries while living in a state of grace and second chances
- Who will not keep a record of your wrongs, even when you do
- Who will not give you what you deserve and always believes the best about you
- Who loves you enough to stop chasing you when you storm off during a fight
- Who looks at you with a twinkle in his eyes, as if you share a secret no one else on this earth will ever know
- Who (sometimes annoyingly) knows you better than you know yourself
To my daughter and son: please find someone you can trust even more than yourself. Don't settle for "good enough" and don't sell yourself short. On the other hand, don't think more of yourself than you should! Your future spouse will change everything about you. He or she will bring out every worst characteristic you don't even know you have, and polish off more than a few rough spots. He or she will also deepen you and help you grow in magnificent ways. This person is the one you will have an unbreakable bond with, so make sure it's a person you'll want to stay bonded to forever. There is no going back when you make a promise like marriage. It's a covenant, not a contract!
To my husband: thank you for giving me more than just a new name. I will never be able to measure up to you and the ways you give yourself to me. Your loyalty, passion, security and sense of adventure is unlike anyone I've ever met. Even after 20 years of marriage, there are days I look at you and say to myself, "I cannot believe HE is MINE!" Thank you for loving me deeply and for showing me how to allow that love to heal me in some deeply broken places. You make me feel safe and wanted, and I am still so in love with you. Happy 20th anniversary!
To all three of you: twenty years is a drop in the bucket, and we have so much more ahead of us! I pray we keep each other safe, encouraged, and loved.
Always and forever,