I can't believe it has been a whole year already. If someone would have told me two years ago that I would be married for a year now, I would have told them they were crazy. I had my plans; I was quite over sitting around and waiting. Deciding to utilize four years to the best of my ability, I was in the process of making plans to move. But. A wedding in Colorado changed those plans. I was in the bridal party; and during the reception, I noticed this groomsman across the table. (pretty sure he winked me at one point, even though he says he did not). I was impressed by his intelligence and ability to have good conversation, but I adamantly told myself that this was not in my plans. As people were leaving the reception, I had managed to get into another conversation with him. Until that night, I had never believed that you could have a moment with someone that connected you to someone the way we did that night. I left frustrated because he was not on my agenda, but I wondered if I would ever hear from him.
He didn't waste a large amount of time finding me on Facebook, which thrilled and annoyed me all at the same time. He had no clue at that point how much he was messing with my carefully laid plans. Over the next two months, we would randomly message back and forth. Our conversations were different than anything I had ever experienced before. As the time plodded through July, I noticed he talked more and more to me. I also knew that I was moving in the middle of August, and I wasn't sure what I should do. I spoke with the couple that had "kinda" introduced us (we were at their wedding when we met). I asked for advice because I knew them well, and I knew that this groomsman and the husband were friends.
Through a series of crazy, scary moments (ask me sometime :) ) Tim and I decided we'd like to see if this was a relationship that was for real. Ok, so in all honesty, we did decide that but I basically told him that I was done hee-hawing about; and if he wasn't going to at least pursue me with the intention of forever, then he could see himself right out my door. Harsh, I know, but clearly he didn't mind too badly.
So, our journey began. Above are two of my favorite people who got to hear probably way too much of the journey, but they still love me.Tim and I dated long distance for 4 and a half months. I was in Chicago for school, and he was still in Ohio. Through that season, we were extremely frank with each other about past experiences and where we wanted to go with our lives and the relationship. I was cautious to a point, holding back certain areas of my life until I was sure he was a safe place. I have never regretted how we approached our relationship. It taught me a lot about myself and gave us the freedom to share with only small amounts of fear.
I figured out shortly into my semester in Chicago that I loved the culture but hated living in the city. I made plans to go home at Christmas and finish online. Moving back home brought more transition and change.
His proposal is a story full of my stubbornness and his willingness to love me well. Another thing to ask me sometime. He proposed on January 7th; I obviously said yes. We started making plans and settled on May 7th.
This man has been the safest place for me. He has shown my heart a side of life that I never imagined possible. Through him, God has healed things I never dreamed. He is patient when I am impatient. Quiet to my loud. Steady to my whimsy.
I'm seriously not that sappy of a person; you can ask him. But. Something about the way he has loved me well and care for me even when I should be put into a corner, brings out things in me I never thought would be. We laugh a lot, and our life is seriously never boring.
He simply allows me to be myself and pour my heart into things I'm passionate about. Sometimes my dreams and ideas look crazy to him, but he does a good job of letting me try new things. He loves so well and not just me. He loves the people that my heart holds dear, simply because I care deeply for them.
Being married has taught me a lot of things. One of the hardest is that it is hard to balance family holidays. We get to wrestle with that because our families don't live within a half hour of each other. I know I can't complain because it's not even two hours, but learning to balance holidays and get togethers has been interesting. I've learned that sometimes you have to weigh the possible memories of who may or may not be there tomorrow. And really, how can we know who will or will not be there the next time? In the past few months, we've seen friends lose close family members and friends. It's really made us treasure the times with our families, friends, and each other.
We've had multiple conversations with the realization that one of us may not come home. It has made us be wise in our arguments and disagreements. I realized one day that if I can help it, I never want to leave the house angry or regretting something I said to him. Recently, I came across a post from a friend who lost her husband a while ago. She had posted this article from another widow. In it, it talked about how in a moment you can lose a dear one. In that moment, you realize that all the things that frustrated or annoyed you about your person were insignificant and even things that could be loved. I love my husband. I can't say that I never get annoyed with him or he with me, but we're learning that even the things that frustrate us can be used for fruitful, precious memories.
We talk about how we're grateful we never went into marriage thinking it would be a fairy-tale. But. Even though we went into it with that realization, we both had extremely different take-aways from this first year. (feel free to ask :) ) It's crazy how certain cultures and ways of growing up can follow you into adulthood and marriage.
As we've been preparing for the next step in our lives, we've wrestled what parenthood looks like. Above is my little girl. She wasn't happy that Tim was marrying me. To her, I will always be HER miss Kelly. But. She loves Tim, and he loves her. I love how he has interacted with all the children that have been in my life. It's a blessing to see how my own children will be loved.
If there is one thing I have been so grateful for is something my dad encouraged me in several years before I even met Tim. We were having a conversation about a previous relationship (and I know beyond a shadow of a doubt, I made the right decision in not continuing that one), and my dad firmly told me that relationships are not all about feelings. I didn't really want to believe him then, but I do now. And how I love that it's not all about feelings.
I would be lying if I said I never had to choose to love him or honor or respect him. I do. But, he chooses to do that for me too. I'm learning to appreciate the choosing. It makes the feelings all the sweeter. I'm also learning that a healthy relationship is truly like a well-marinated, perfectly grilled steak. You have to wait for the steak to marinate; you have to allow it to go through the fire; and when you finally get to eat and appreciate it, you figure out that the waiting and fire were so worth the delicious taste in your mouth.
Soooooo, below. Lame next sentence, so bear with me. We've had some lemons this year, but I'm so grateful for a husband who has humbly, willing stomped on the lemons with me and made lemonade. I was recently telling a few people that somehow, no matter how a situation has started, we have managed to smell like roses.
One more thing that comes to mind with marriage is this: gifts and love don't always look like date nights, roses, trips, etc. Sometimes it looks like him changing the oil in my car, weeding my garden for me, rubbing my feet even when he's tired, cooking dinner randomly, changing out the laundry for me when I'm overwhelmed, and picking wildflowers in a beautiful bouquet. I am a gifts person. I can't help it. I.LOVE.GIFTS. But. Sometimes the greatest gift is in the things you can't possibly touch with your hands, but a memory that will last forever.
I don't regret a day so far. I hope I never do. I hope none of you ever do either. We literally don't know all the treasures we have in our hands until they are no longer able to be touched.
P.S. excuse all the pictures. These are part of my favorite memories. I hold them close, each person and thing associated with each picture.
P.P.S. Always remember to laugh. To be thankful. To remember.