Saturday, July 26, 2008

A Date to Remember...


About 10 1/2 years ago, I was 18, Charlie BRown was 22, and we'd just gotten engaged after dating for 2 years. Immediately, the planning for a summer wedding ensued.

With his parents' anniversary in June and his brother having recently been wed in August, we both felt that a July wedding was key to feeling like our day was "ours."

As we looked over the calendar, I began placing red x's on the weeks I knew would not be conducive to honeymooning activities. I was able to do this with a confidence newly instilled by the menstrual regularity one experiences while taking birth control pills. In order to get an accurate gauge on this for July, I had to start in January, where we were at. As we got to July, I erred on the side of caution, singling out the two weeks that I was neither going to be menstruating, nor a crampy, bloated, premenstrual emotional train wreck.

"Honey, it looks like we are down to July 11th or July 18th, any preference?"

As I glanced over at Charlie Brown, I saw him get this look, one that I've come to know and love over the years, a playful, 'my-wheels-are-turning' look. Then he said, "Seven eleven? For real? That's awesome, because you KNOW I could NEVER forget that date, right? I mean, heck I could probably finagle a free anniversary slurpee from 7-11 every year!"

We laughed long and hard for awhile, later this turned into a tickling match which eventually turned into a makeout session. After several kisses, Charlie Brown propped himself up on his elbow and held me close.

"Seriously, though - know the best part about 7/11, 1998?"

I shrugged coyly.

"That's the day that this," he picked up my hand with my engagement ring, "becomes our life together, not just the promise of it. It means we will really, finally be married, and that is so exciting to me - I can't wait to make you my wife."

It's one of those moments in time, akin to the wedding day, the moment each one of my children was placed on my chest, that just feels so completely right and burns into my memory, never to be taken away from me.

Over the next six months, we had several trials.

Charlie Brown got fired from his job after his alarm clock failed due to a power outage. When he woke, the first thing he did was call his boss and he said, "Your toolbox is waiting with your final check." We were both so young and green that we were both completely thrown by the unfairness of it. We'd come to know later that life isn't always fair.

My mom and I struggled a lot in our relationship together. She was totally against the idea of me getting married so young, which is understandable to me now, but at the time felt like the worst pain imaginable. She finally came around at my bridal shower, about 2 wks before the wedding.

We pushed on and before we knew it July 11, 1998 arrived.

That day was amazing, especially for such a humble wedding. But what difference do the details make when you are marrying your best friend in the world, an excellent lover, and a soul that loves God? What else could I have asked for then? And how lucky was I to have found love so quickly in life.

Sounds dreamy, huh?

It was. As with everyone, over the course of 10 years, reality has come crashing in at times, leading us to experience the "for worses" acknowledged in our vows to one another, things that we couldn't have expected and didn't even begin to understand the ramifications of when we pledged our undying commitment to each other before God. Those things take a big chunk out of love. Add to it the constant erosions caused by the mundane, the trivial, the everyday stressors, and, well, there's little wonder for me why so many loves die out.

We've seen so many challenges in our first 10 years that I have often felt like quitting, more often than I'd care for people to know. But still we've pushed on, together. I haven't always been able to see that we were still walking this path together. Truth be told, at times, it's seemed like we were on completely different paths, but my most recent battle with depression, his victory over addiction to porn, and the conversations that have ensued from both have shown me that we have been with each other all the way.

We are standing on high right now, and it's higher than we've ever accomplished thus far. I really feel like these 10 years were the grunt work, the initiation into a happy, enduring marriage. And it's all been worth it.

I would do it over again in a heartbeat, Charlie Brown. I love you more today than ever.

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