9 Years of Strength & Love

9 Year Anniversary

My dearest Ryan,

Earlier this month, I was doing laundry and you came over to give me a kiss. We had yet another emotionally challenging week and for some reason you felt the need to apologize… “I’m so sorry this has been so hard.” I remember looking up at you and saying “It’s okay honey.” And you started in with a “I know but…” and that’s when I stopped you…

I know we’ve experienced so many heartaches and trials over our years together. And not just with regards to growing our family. I know that it often feels like we’ve had to deal with more than our fair share – for both of us. But I started thinking – we both know that God never gives us more than we can handle. And God gave us one heck of a road to travel!

Our life together as man and wife started in our first home that quickly turned into a money pit. We were broke and trying to keep up with house repairs, and we learned real quick how to stretch a dollar. Money is one of the biggest reasons marriages fall apart. I personally think home projects are the second. In fact, they tell you not to do a home renovation or repair in your first year of marriage because it can be tricky. But our house needed things fixed – starting with the mold-riddled bathroom, so we dug in our feet and got to work. It was definitely a learning experience and I may still pick on you for how long the bathroom renovation took – but we both learned a lot about each other and our marriage only got stronger.

It was at three years into married life when the fire woke us up at 4 am and consumed our home and everything in it. But we survived… and somehow handled that with relative ease. I know we both were just waiting for it to hit me – for the breakdown to occur. But it never really happened. I remained relatively calm through it all. I’ve always believed it was partly due to everyone’s prayers, but I also believe that it was largely due to you – my one constant in our dramatically changing world. Everything else had fallen away or shifted under foot, but you were there, unchanging.

And then of course there has been this journey – the long road. The seven years of pain and sorrows and heartache and difficulties… That day when you apologized for how hard things had been I made you stop… because I have a theory. See God knows everything. God has a plan for each of us – of course, it’s up to us whether or not we chose to give into his plan or seek out our own. But you and I – we gave in… we surrendered… And he knew. He knew this road was going to be so so hard. He knew an average couple might break under the weight of it – would most likely break. You hear about it all the time actually – couples splitting up because they can’t have kids or because the loss of their children (through miscarriage, infant loss, or other situations) was too painful to stay together.

God knew what he had in store and he knew he needed a couple strong enough to survive it… and that my sweet husband is why we’re here. God made you my perfect match. My other half. It confuses me beyond reason how well we balance each other and lift one another up. You are strong when I am weak and somehow I found strength when it’s your turn to finally fall apart. And other people see this too – this crazy love story we have – the way we look at one another and talk about one another. After thirteen years together, you’d think our love would have faded a little – but it’s there just as strong as ever!

Truthfully, I don’t believe we would be here, in Detroit with our little miracle, if we were anything less than what we are right now. There have been so many moments that required us to be the unshaken couple God made us to be. I cannot imagine going through all the tribulations over the past week with anyone but you, and I’m so grateful that we were able to be there for one another.

This… this has been the best anniversary gift ever! To wake up this morning (after doing the night shift with our new little one) and seeing you sitting in bed, half asleep a “snoozing” baby in your arms. Oh honey – I’ve always known God made you to be a daddy – that has only been reaffirmed in a million powerful ways on this trip. And truthfully my heart has already melted so many times watching. I cannot watch our marriage change and transform into this new phase of life.

I love you beyond words and logic! My husband, my bestfriend, my soulmate…

Forever yours,

Stephanie

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