I, Swear

P1170989“So it’s not gonna be easy. It’s going to be really hard; we’re gonna have to work at this everyday, but I want to do that because I want you. I want all of you, forever, everyday. You and me… everyday.”
― Nicholas Sparks, The Notebook

It is kind of funny to think that the year I was turning 21 is the year I got married. Even more odd to me is the concept that today I celebrate 21 years with my wife.  There is a song that called “Don’t Blink” and when you are young you don’t quite understand that concept, but I can tell you in some ways 21 years ago seems like ages ago but in other ways it feels like not that long ago.

When we started this journey we were just a couple kids with a child on the way.  There is no way I could have predicted the path our lives would take. I could have never predicted the trials and joys or how quickly that 21 years would go. I couldn’t foresee another 2 children, deciding to homeschool our kids, me staying home with them, the fights, the uphill battles, the passing of my parents, or her father getting diagnosed with Alzheimer.

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“Happiness is only real when shared” ― Jon Krakauer

There is no way I could have predicted anything ahead of us.  In fact 21 years ago the only thing I was doing was fighting to have the woman I wanted, then saying I do to someone I wanted in my life. To think about  that start amazes me. Also that back then I had no idea how we would make it.  It felt so overwhelming and I took a lot of walks just to figure things out. We started living with my parents for a few months and then our own place.

Expenses exceed income driving old cars (though I did love my 81 Riviera),  and just the support of our parents. We had state aid from health insurance to food stamps.  Sandi would have to go shopping with the food stamps because I couldn’t use them because of how it made me feel.  You learn to focus on the beautiful people that see beyond the situation to the people inside. There are plenty of jackasses out there but you try to focus on the beautiful people.

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“A great marriage is not when the ‘perfect couple’ comes together. It is when an imperfect couple learns to enjoy their differences.” ― Dave Meurer

We’d go for drives with the kids and the car didn’t have air conditioning so we would use a spray bottle with cool water to spritz the kids sometimes to keep them cool.  It seemed everyone had an opinion and well I’m pretty stubborn person with my own ideas of how to approach things.  Which is probably why it worked out that my wife and I did a role reversal and she went to work and I stayed home. You see we both always believed that one of us should stay home and that meant even when finances dictated that both of us should work.

The priority was our children.  I’d fit various ways to bring in extra money in over the course of the years I stayed home including starting my own business. It was an interesting start to a marriage. A small wedding in the woods with only a few people and a honeymoon at a cabin in the woods that her parents rented for us. In fact my wedding band I had to borrow money from her dad to buy.  Which that man has always amazed me even though he didn’t agree with me, disagreed with us getting married, and he still helped us, though you always knew a speech was going to come with the help.

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“The only way love can last a lifetime is if it’s unconditional. The truth is this: love is not determined by the one being loved but rather by the one choosing to love.” ― Stephen Kendrick

So 21 years ago most people didn’t think we would make it, some didn’t even think we would make it a year. It was a tough way to start a marriage and even tougher way to start a family. It didn’t help that I was very headstrong and not willing to listen very often to others.  Which sometimes was to my advantage and other times not so much. Though I guess the biggest perk is both her and I were committed to making it work and we trusted were brought together to complete each other.

While our song back then was “I, swear” by all4one, the song that really touches both of us back then and even now is “Keeper of the stars” by tracy byrd.  I can’t think of anyone that would put up with me 24/7 for any amount of time, let alone 21 years. I’m moody , headstrong,  and brought scars with me that there she could not have been prepared for. Especially since she had the typical American family upbringing, while my childhood and youth was by no means typical.  I didn’t bring any drinking or drug use with me nothing like that. Okay I did bring smoking with me which she hated but the things she had to deal with was those scars that impacted how I dealt with life and influenced my anger. I’m so glad God helped me find a way to handle that anger because that was my most destructive trait from punching walls, throwing things,  to my mouth. I’m still not sure how she put up with that. Faith is the only thing I can think of.  Maybe it helped to understand the root of that anger but still it was the one big thing that could have taken down our marriage.

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“Sometimes the best and worst times of your life can coincide. It is a talent of the soul to discover the joy in pain—-thinking of moments you long for, and knowing you’ll never have them again. The beautiful ghosts of our past haunt us, and yet we still can’t decide if the pain they caused us out weighs the tender moments when they touched our soul. This is the irony of love.” ― Shannon L. Alder

Her father and I talked several years later and he said that was the concern he had with us as well was my anger.  He saw it before we even got married that he would anger me with his comments and I would walk out saying some explicative and slamming the door as I went for a walk. Though I would always return when calmed down to continue the talk.

When you stop seeing the world as always against you and allow yourself to see the beauty. When you deal with the scars and stop allowing them to control you. When you open yourself up to be healed and stop seeing yourself as a victim and just as something that happened and is part of you. When you realize that the life ahead of you is so much more important than the scars from the past.  When your focus changes it changes everything.

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“To keep your marriage brimming, with love in the wedding cup, whenever you’re wrong, admit it; whenever you’re right, shut up.” ― Ogden Nash

21 years later and with the faith of my wife and  God. I have learned to nurture the loving caring heart that my wife saw in me and I let the anger go years ago.  It has been an amazing ride and I can’t think of anyone better to take that ride with.  Though our years has been filled with mountains and valleys but it’s the love and joy that has made it a beautiful 21 years.

I’m listening to music while I write this and the song “I,swear” came on as I finished writing this. It has brought a smile and tears to my face.  What an amazing, beautiful ride this has been. I thank God for his guidance the entire time and giving us all the opportunities he has along the way and showing me how to truly use my heart.

Thank you for your time and I hope you have a wonderful day.

p.s. My editor has not reviewed this so any grammar issues blame Microsoft word for not catching it for me. 🙂

“Love’s about finding the one person who makes your heart complete. Who makes you a better person than you ever dreamed you could be. Its about looking in the eyes of your wife and knowing all the way to your bones that she’s simply the best person you’ve ever known.”
― Julia Quinn

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