Today is the firefighter and my anniversary. Nine years ago I became a 22 year old bride and planted a sloppy kiss on my 22 year old husband. We said our vows in my parent’s backyard to a handful of close family and friends.
Nine years ago today we started the greatest love story I have ever known.
That statement is significant especially in this day and age when movies, music, and “reality” shows would tell you that your love story happens before you get married. Culture tells you love is at first sight, it is the dizziness of a first kiss, the passion of the first fight and the making up after. It is the angst of wondering if your relationship can go the distance, but the distance is only ever shown as a wedding. Culture says it better look good in pictures and the details of the wedding are what matter. Who the heck cares how or what you do after “I do”, surely it’ll be fine…but if it isn’t, no big d. Divorce is always an option.
Well, culture has it wrong because the firefighter and my story before we got married is so culturally cliched I expect Nicholas Sparks to call asking for the rights any day now. We met when we were fifteen and went through so many stages. close friends to mere acquaintances. Strangers as we wandered through life on different paths, then deepest confidants as we were brought back together. Then confusion as we dealt with intense feelings for each other that we had never had before, but the timing was not right. Then the most ridiculous series of will-they-won’t-they-get-together. I mean, worse than Ross and Rachel.
Finally he asked my daddy if he could take me on a date. And when we left my dad turned to my mom and said, “I think I just gave permission to the boy who’s gonna marry Amber.” A few months later we were engaged, (with my dad’s proviso that we HAD to have insurance before we could marry) and about a year later we were married.
I could tell you more of the adorability of our courtship. Like the time we both saw the same sunset in different locations and called each other, missed one another, and left each other a message that said the same thing, “Look outside. The sunset looks like sherbet icecream.” Or the time after I hurt my arm and was leaning against his chest and felt his heart beat and noted my heart rate slowing to keep time with his. Not to mention the fact that I was born on his due date and he was born on mine. So many adorable things. They are the precious tinsel of young love.
I don’t want to negate the beauty of such sweet memories. But those are the fluff of what culture would tell you to aspire to as you love. Culture would say once the “romance” is gone it is time to move on. Y’all, say no to culture! It is the drug of the ephemeral. It would suggest a fulfilled life is one of constant, easy pleasure.
I am so thankful the firefighter did not fall for the pitfall of culture’s description of love.
Despite the Taylor Swift-esqueness of our early years, our real love story started after “I do”. It has depth that I was incapable of imagining 9 years ago. And every time we have gone through a difficult season that culture would tell us to give up and chase our own happiness, we come through stronger in our marriage and more gentle in our humanity. Love chooses struggle and authenticity over easy and fake. Our marriage is a tangible portrait of Grace and I am thankful for each refining moment. I am thankful to be so well known and still so well loved. I am thankful to pray and dream together and for all the laughter in our home. Thankful for the blessing of our kiddos and for how they teach us and humble us. Thankful that when it is just the two of us we still have so much we want to share with each other. Thankful that we think different and appreciate those differences. Thankful that it is ok that I am abysmal at many things, like cooking, keeping a plant alive, or being on time.
Happy Anniversary, my love! Your kisses still make me dizzy.
P.S. We’re having meatloaf for dinner.