11 years…

Today… today we celebrate 11 years of marriage. 11 amazing years of growing and learning together. We’ve had some big lows: discovering our first home was a money pit, scrapping by paycheck to paycheck, having our house burn down, struggling through infertility, miscarrying… and also some wonderful highs: my business taking off, rebuilding our home, becoming parents,…

But as I type, I look down at my hand and my eyes fall on the ring on my left hand… where my wedding ring should be, a different ring sits in it’s place. It’s funny because while we’ve only been married for 11 years, we’ve been together for 15… and the truth is – we committed our lives to one another long before the wedding bells rang.

Looking back at old pictures, I can’t help but see how young we were… I was finishing up high school and you were in your second year of college. I had truthfully been miserable for a LONG time and really believed that no one could ever love me. There was something about you though, watching you goof around during band practice at church. You were so… happy. You just seemed to have so much fun… You intrigued me. I don’t know how I ever managed to actually muster the courage to get your screen name that night but I’m so glad I did because what started off as simple curiosity in your joy and spontaneity turned into one of the absolute best things in my life.

I love that there are some things I remember very clearly and then there are other things that you remind me of. But there are so many feelings I remember with absolute clarity… like the feeling of lightness and like I could just burst into song when I was thinking of you in school. Or the excitement that would bubble up and out when I’d find a note tucked under the windshield wiper on my car. Or the feeling of contentment just hanging out with you and your friends. And definitely not the emotions that welled up in me when you gave me a very much needed hug. Even back then you were always so patient and kind. You listened. And you were my support through a lot of tough situations. And you always helped me find my smile. You brought joy to my life.

But time changes things… we aren’t the young things we once were. We’ve grown, matured, changed, and shifted, and our relationship has too in the most beautiful way. I might not feel like singing in the hallways, but thinking of you always brings a smile to my face. You still always know just what to do to make me laugh. You’ve all but perfected the art of knowing exactly when I need a hug or when I just need you to listen. Just being with you still brings a peace and contentment to my life. But you also challenge me with deeply intelligent conversations and we’ve grown in our understanding and beliefs about ourselves and the world.

So when I look down at the ring on my left hand, what I see is the promise ring you gave me after we’d been dating for a year. The ring you and I used to privately commit ourselves to one another. It’s not fancy, but it’s perfect. And it’s a perfect reminder of beautiful memories and 15 years of life TOGETHER. A day does not go by that I’m not infinitely grateful for you, Ryan. My life is and will always be better because you are in it. Happy Anniversary sweet man! I love you!

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