“I promise to live in truth with you and to communicate fully and fearlessly, to nurture your dreams because through them your soul shines, to help shoulder our challenges for there is nothing we cannot face if we stand together, to be responsible in our finances but not let money ruin our lives, to respect you as your own person and to realize that your interest, desires, and needs are no less important than my own, to drop my expectations of you becoming the person I want you to be as opposed to the person you are, to be your partner in all things working with you as a part of the whole, and to love you, forever, through the happy and the sad.”
Three years ago back home in my childhood backyard on a very warm June evening amongst our closest friends and family, Will and I shared these vows in a simple and quaint ceremony. We wrote these vows, together, on the two hour car ride to my hometown three days prior to the wedding. They are simple, and even as I read them three years later, I wouldn’t change a single word. We are simple. We didn’t have the traditional reverend or priest at our wedding, instead, our best friend (who was ordained solely for our wedding) performed the most sincere and meaningful ceremony. That’s just a little glimpse into our relationship. We are simple and real.
So when I tell you I was not prepared for marriage, I really mean it. Dating was easy. I had been living on my own independently for five years until I chose this married life. Why didn’t anyone tell me how hard marriage was?? The more I think about it, maybe marriage was hard for me because I let someone else in my life, my heart…leaving me completely vulnerable and scared of the unknown.
I’d be lying if I said every day of our marriage has been filled with rainbows and butterflies. There have been nights when I have fallen asleep cuddling my dog rather than my husband. Mornings when I have woken up embarrassed and ashamed of what I had said to him at dinner when he didn’t agree with me. Days when I dreamed of traveling the world alone with my dog. Moments when I wasn’t sure I made the right decision.
Tragedy struck and the way I perceived life changed. The man I vowed to love forever was fighting for his life. Would he ever wake up? Would he ever speak? Would he know me? Would he ever be able survive on his own or would he always need constant supervision? Would he ever be able to work again? I learned that day the unknown was the scariest part of life. The only thing I knew for certain was there was no one I loved more than the man lying next to me in the hospital bed.
The part in our vows that reads, I promise to help shoulder our challenges for there is nothing we cannot face if we stand together, has never been more true. It’s sad that it took such a traumatic event to change the way I saw the world, but more importantly, our marriage. I’ve learned how to be more selfless rather than selfish. I’ve learned that life is less about money and more about happiness. Jobs can be replaced but our marriage can’t. I’ve learned that our marriage doesn’t exist without compromise. My happiness doesn’t exist without his. I have learned to love and embrace his friends for they are his family. I have learned not to expect perfection and to take each day as it comes. I’ve learned to pick my battles and have accepted that I am not always right.
Each day brings on new challenges, but there’s no one I’d rather do this life with than the man I shared those vows with three years ago. At the age of 32, he’s overcome more loss than most will experience in a lifetime. I consider myself the luckiest girl in the world to be able to share life with the strongest, smartest, and most imperfect man I have ever known. Happy anniversary my love! For there is nothing we cannot face if we stand together.
Marriage is hard and half end in divorce. But when it’s good, it’s the best thing in this world. #thingsnoonetellsyou