Friday, November 04, 2011
Love and Marriage
Tomorrow will be our 17th wedding anniversary. In some ways, it seems like just yesterday that we met because it has gone by so quickly. In other ways, it seems like we've been married forever because I can't remember what my life was like before. Each and every day, I thank God for putting that man in my life. I don't know where I would be without him.
I didn't have an easy childhood. There was not a lot of safety, security, or stability in our home. My parents certainly didn't model an example of what a healthy marriage looked like (they hadn't had those models either). We moved constantly so I never had a stable support system in my life, and by the time I was in 6th grade, I had attended eight different schools (in as many towns / states). I was insecure and constantly seeking approval, but never seemed to find it. My escape was reading, which I did constantly.
My first marriage was difficult, as well. My ex-husband isn't an ogre or anything - but we had very different ideas of what our family should be. We were young, ill-matched, and neither of us had the tools to fix things when they began to fail. The divorce was painful and left me feeling like a failure.
So, when I met Mr. C, I was carrying a lot of baggage. In fact, I think my baggage would've filled the entire luggage compartment of a jumbo jet. I didn't trust men. at. all. I had built up tall, thick walls. I had dealt with rejection and abandonment my entire life. I was also a people-pleaser, so I never felt comfortable asking for what I needed because I didn't want to inconvenience him, or seem too needy.
But my husband is an amazing man. He slowly proved that he was different. He encouraged me to share my thoughts. He taught me that there ARE good, honorable, gentle, and decent men in this world. This wasn't a quick, or easy, process - it took him years to tear down those walls I had built up. I can now honestly say that I trust him completely. And because it took so long to earn it, he works hard to not break that trust. He respects me as a person and as an equal.
He is the BEST father I've ever seen. He is patient, loving, and encouraging to our four children, even though he is only biologically related to the younger two. He doesn't consider my boys his step-sons, they are his sons. Period. He is the best father a daughter could have. He takes Katie on breakfast dates every Saturday morning. He treats me with love and respect so our children know how a man should treat his wife. He thanks me for cooking dinner every night, in front of the kids - and makes sure they thank me, too. He is loyal to his family - always. He is always a good example to our children and all four of them feel comfortable going to him for advice. They know they can rely and depend on him for anything - and he will always be there. His love is unconditional, and he would never, ever abandon them.
Even with all of these glowing words, don't assume the years have all been easy for us. We had a few really rough ones - so rough that there are times I am amazed that we made it through. Early in our marriage, we had some major adjustment issues. After moving to Cheyenne almost fifteen years ago, my boys tried attending school here, but both decided to go back to live in our former town with their father. I was devastated. When you combine this with the fact that Mr. C was working and/or golfing constantly...well, I was one unhappy and lonely girl. I began looking for a job back where my boys were (this was before the two littles were born), and was seriously planning on moving. If it weren't for my husband being such a stubborn and persuasive man, we wouldn't be where we are today. It took love, forgiveness, grace, and a whole lot of work (on both our parts), but we managed to do it. Our marriage is one of two content and grateful people who truly enjoy being together. We have been told many times that we still act like newlyweds. He is my dearest friend and the love of my life.
I have learned a few lessons through the years: 1) a bad childhood does not have to equal a bad adulthood. 2) you can overcome pain and uncertainty to create a joyful and happy life. 3) Even when your marriage looks like it is hopeless, you can rebuild it into something more wonderful than you ever dreamed.
And, for Mr. C - thank you for the past 17 years. God has given me more than I could have ever imagined or deserved. You are His greatest gift to me and you have my heart until the end of time. Happy early anniversary, my love.