My Ten Year Anniversary: A Letter to the Love of My Life.
I loved you. I was in love with you, but I’m not sure if I loved you deeply. I don’t think at 25 I knew what loving someone “deeply” meant. We had a toddler and an infant, we just bought a new house, you were knee-deep in your football career, and we were still learning about each other. We were still in fun-mode, just skating through life as a newly married couple. I remember, for our first anniversary, I did a full scavenger hunt for you, (which ended up at the place you proposed to me). It was so special to me, but I think I was more into the hunt itself than the meaning of having survived one full year of marriage.
It’s funny how I can remember specific events for each year based on being pregnant four out of the ten years of our marriage. Year two was good. We had two babies and were still learning about each other. At this point, we were trying to balance football, kids, and more kids. I loved you a little bit more than I did the first year. For our anniversary that year… I can’t remember what we did because I wasn’t pregnant.
Year three was a tough one. I had our third baby and I borderline lost my mind. I thought for sure you were going to divorce me because I was quite the handful. I remember right after having my third, I got mad for no reason and packed up and left. Like seriously, what was I thinking? But you stood by me, held my hand and loved me like no other. Then my dad died. My life fell apart for a bit, but not nearly as bad as it could have been because you picked me up and carried me through one the hardest times of my life; I’m not sure if I was myself during year three. It wasn’t my greatest year. But, you continued to stand by me. Thank you. You carried the load for both of us when I was unable.
Year Four was another tough year, mentally. My dad’s death was still very raw. Then, one of the best days happened when we found out we were pregnant. We told our family and friends, and then sadly, we lost our baby. You, (and God) are the only reasons I didn’t end up in a crazy house. You have no idea how much it means to me that you didn’t say this was too much for you or leave me because I know you were hurting as well. I just couldn’t get past myself to comfort you. I was depressed and once again, broken.
Marriage was hard. Day-to-day was hard. Life was hard. But Marcus, you became even more strong than you were before. You prayed for me and with me. You took over and fought for me and our marriage. Year four, I know you were hurting from our loss, hurting physically from football, and the reality that your career was coming to an end was setting in. I tried my hardest to be your rock, love you and support you the best I could through my own struggling. To show you that even though I was hurting, I understood your struggle, cared about your struggle and loved you, unconditionally.
I think this is the year I realized our love ran deep. I realized in order for our marriage to be better, I needed to be better. We needed to give our best to each other at all times. We were older, wiser and wanted to set a good example for our three, soon-to-be four daughters, (I was pregnant again, hallelujah)! Lovin’ you was easy, it always had been easy. But after five years and all the petty fights, the big fights, the power struggles, the insecurities and the devastations, I knew you were my forever. Nothing else mattered but you, our family and our marriage. No matter what we went through, we would have each other’s back. Year five, I tried to really show up for you and be a better me, so I could give more of me to you and to our marriage.
You retiring made me once again question my sanity. I thought being retired meant you would be with me all day, every day. But it was anything but that. You were busier our sixth year than you were during football. I selfishly wanted all of your time. I wanted your attention; I wanted you. When you think about it, even though I was selfish, my wanting you and my wanting to be with you 24/7 was a blessing. I mean, how many wives are obsessed with their husbands like I am with you? I didn’t realize it at the time that you were out grinding for me, for our family so that we could stay happy. But, now I do.
What a year! We had an unexpected surprise with the birth of our son! In true “greatest man in the world” fashion, you worked, supported my emotional needs, were a super-dad to your kids and a superhero to everyone else. I think year seven we leaned on each other a lot. You started communicating your needs more. I was always barking and talking, but you expressing your needs was what the missing element was; you expressed them, which brought about some epic battles, but we overcame them, and our love for each other dug even deeper.
Do you know how many times I said to myself, “I literally can not STAND this man!” The phrase, “seven-year itch” didn’t apply to us, but the eight-year “you straight up get on my nerves” itch was upon us. Year eight is the year we both realized that marriage takes real work. Work beyond the usual work that goes into a relationship. After eight years, things become stagnant, sometimes even dull. BUT, you and I were aware of the changes that were happening, and we kept communicating, kept working and kept pushing for our love and our family.
Year nine has been a crazy one, but a blessed one. What we went through with the building of our house and other unfortunate things surrounding our home is enough to tear a couple apart. But year nine is the year you realize if we can make it nine years through ups and downs, we can make it through ANYTHING! Year nine and we are STILL studying each other’s wants and needs and trying to make sure they are met. We are everchanging and evolving, but year nine we are changing as one, we are one, you are my internal heartbeat, and I am yours.
This year you learned my love language, (I always knew yours, haha) and we’ve both been pulling our relationship-weight, together. We are comfortable, but always ready to step out of our comfort zones, together. We had a moment where we really had to step back and re-evaluate our time and attention for one another, but we figured it out. You scaled back on your work to be with your family more, and I appreciate you for it.
It has been ten years now. I am in shock and in awe that we have been married for this long. To some, it may seem small, but to us, it means more than you’ll ever know. We have had times where we didn’t think we would make it, and we did. Times where others haven’t wanted us to make it, and we have. For this alone we will celebrate ten years of marriage.
Remember when I said I thought I wasn’t sure after the first year if I loved you deeply? Well, I didn’t. Because now, ten years later, I love you so deeply it pains me to ever think about being without you. I love you so deeply that I would do anything, and I mean anything, for you. My love for you is so deep that no one, nothing, could ever tear us apart. Our love runs so deep that I will fight for our marriage, for our love, until my very last breath leaves my body. I love you so deeply that I hope we die straight Notebook-style, old as hell, hand-in-hand. I cannot imagine life without you. I cannot imagine not hearing your annoying-ass chewing. I cannot imagine laughing without you, traveling without you, parenting without you, living without you.
Thank you for ten years. The best, most fulfilling, greatest ten years of my life. Thank you for not only being my love, but my best friend. I don’t think we would be as happy if we weren’t best friends. We couldn’t have made it ten years without GOD in our marriage. We still pray together for God to continue to protect and bless our marriage. We have never given up on each other. Our love is so deep that quitting will never be an option. I don’t want to do anything without you by my side.
Thank you for asking my dad for my hand in marriage, and when he asked you “are you sure,” you didn’t second-guess your decision and run. Haha, thank you for loving me, even more than I love myself at times. Thank you for picking me up, standing by me, with me, and for me.
Thank you for changing my life.
Thank you, Lord, for sending me my soul mate.
Marcus, I love you so much it hurts!
Cheers to ten years, and a lifetime more!