Before the kids and even before the beard, our romance began in a whirlwind. We locked eyes from across the room. He was just back from being in Alabama for two years and had a five year plan of doing life on his own before looking for a future spouse. I was just 19 and had no direction, but plenty of dreams. We never spent a day apart after that night. He told me he loved me after three days, knelt down on one knee and asked me to marry him two weeks after knowing each other and we said “I do” for time and all of eternity four months later in a quaint ceremony. Thirteen years ago yesterday we stood hand in hand in my grandparent’s backyard underneath that pergola draped with vines that smelled of blossoms, both of us just kids and not knowing what our life was going to look like, but we had jumped two feet in and were not about to look back. And we never have.
While there are plans in the future of a lavish vacation to celebrate, side by side on a remote beach somewhere getting lost in the waves and in each other, yesterday was spent just like any other day. And a smile drapes across my face when I think about how wonderfully ordinary it is of us. Comforting to no end if I am being honest. I woke up not feeling well and spent the morning in bed. He got himself and all four kids ready for church, kissed my stomach, kissed me and told me to rest as he walked out the door followed by all of our cubs. I closed my eyes, said a quiet and thankful prayer to myself for him and the humble life we have built together and fell asleep.
Over the course of thirteen years I have never known my husband to let a day go by that he doesn’t tell me how beautiful I am. And despite age and the effects child bearing can have on one’s body, he still looks at me the way he did when we were newlyweds. We have supported each other as we have walked away from salaries and stability to pursue our own endeavors and create a life of flexibility and freedom. Side by side we manage the home together – while one is vacuuming the other is folding laundry – and I never see him smile bigger than when he is laughing and spending time with our children. He lets me choose the restaurant and only mildly pokes fun at the way I order the same dish depending on where we end up at. He lets me decide on family dinners, but we cook side by side in the kitchen together. He lets me take the reins on making our house a home and what style and feel I want it to have and he is always willing to rub my feet while relaxing on the couch. There is so much good my husband is and words could never express what he has given me in life, but the one thing that he does best? He has a servant’s heart. A servant’s heart in our marriage, a servant’s heart as a father and a servant’s heart as a fellow human. And he inspires me every day to do better. To be better.
In today’s society I can imagine what that notion might sound like – possibly a little archaic. However, having a servant’s heart shows an immense amount of strength, of selflessness, of maturity and of respect. To use your position, your talents, your strength and your gifts to lift and serve those around you. He is at the helm of our family and having a man in that position with such a kind and soft heart, free from ego and jealousy, is a rarity. A true blessing for both me and my children. For all of them to see a healthy relationship between husband and wife, for my daughters to see how they deserve to be treated by their future partners and for my sons to follow in his footsteps and to lead their own family in a kind, gentle and supportive manner. A true gentleman in every sense. And for that and everything he is I will always be the luckiest woman in the world.
Here is to thirteen years and an eternity more.