As originally published at The Mighty on May 7, 2014:
When I said “for better or for worse” nearly 10 years ago, I meant it, but in all honesty, I’m not sure what I thought “for better or for worse” was going to look like in our marriage.
Job changes, financial difficulties, arguments over household chores, parenting differences — sure, I considered and expected things like these to pop in our lives, and some of them did. What I didn’t expect, though, were many things we’ve experienced as husband and wife:
Watching the TV screen together during an ultrasound, only to see my empty womb and crumpling into your arms as we began to grieve the loss of the child who was no longer there.
Watching you rush from the delivery room with our second daughter as she was whisked away to the NICU and I lay on the table trying to process what was happening.
Receiving your phone call in the middle of the night while I was away on business that our then nearly 3-month-old baby had been rushed to the hospital by ambulance.
All of these experiences, and so many more like them, have filled our lives, our marriage. And as much as these moments have been painful and trying, and even emotionally, mentally and spiritually paralyzing, there have been amazing gifts provided to us through them. As I look back across the landscape of our 10 years of marriage, I’m amazed at how I also, in my naïveté, never stopped to think about how these difficult times, the ones that no one wants to go through, the ones that I think most couples are afraid to face for fear of what it will do to them and their marriages, would be the most refining and defining moments for us as a couple.
Yes, I still look at you and swoon, knowing that you are the most handsome man I’ve ever laid eyes on; yes, 10 years later, your sense of humor and wit still leave me in stitches each day, but I look at you now and I see so much more. I see the man who has held me together as I fell apart over the loss of our son. I see the man who brought me the desperately needed reassurance that Ava would be in good hands in the NICU and our older daughter, Olivia was being taken care of by family. I see the man who encouraged me to stay calm when Ava was rushed to the hospital and I was gone, the man who was the cool, calm, collected one I absolutely needed at that time, and so did she.
I know that when we said “for better or for worse” a decade ago, you probably didn’t consider any of these moments either, but I hope that you can look back upon them and many others to see the “more” of me that I’ve become since we married, because of our relationship, and I can only hope that you, too, can look upon these days of our lives and see that although they were unexpected, the fruits of these experiences are exactly what we had in mind when we said, “I do”:
– A happy family.
– A loving marriage that grows stronger by the day.
– A bond that even that the most trying times will not break.
– Strong faith.
– Joy and purpose in our lives.
I look forward to the next 10 years with you with a mix of both excitement and peace. There will be so many more “for better or worse” moments in our lives, but I look forward to being better with you because of both the better and the worse.