Today marks 12 years since Jon and I said “I do”. It’s actually kind of unbelievable to me that a dozen years have already passed since our wedding day…and by the same token it feels like our lives have been joined together for a lifetime already.
Jon and I got married the day after we graduated from college. Two days before our wedding I had celebrated my 22nd birthday. We were full of hopes and dreams and aspirations for the future, and we were babies. We didn’t think we were babies, but WE WERE BABIES (Oh my goodness, Mom and Dad, how did you let me do that?!).
While I wouldn’t change a single thing about the (early) timing of our wedding or the road we’ve been on together since then, I have had some time to reflect on that fateful day and all that it means. Since June 12, 2005 I have had the privilege of living another twelve years. And with time comes experience, and with experience comes wisdom. If I were to go back 12 years and talk to that 22 year-old girl wearing the homemade wedding gown, I would share some wisdom with her.
I wouldn’t necessarily tell her to change anything, but I would share some of the lessons I’ve already learned. I’d tell her some of the secrets that took me a decade to discover, some of the tips that actually make life more harmonious. And if I were talking to that giddy bride, I’d tell her to rewrite her wedding vows and make them more realistic. They’d go something like this:
I, Allison, take you, Jon, to be my wedded husband, to have and to hold, from this day forward.
I promise to love you equally on the days when everything is going perfectly and the days when nothing is going right.
I promise to admit when I am wrong, to apologize, and to forgive freely. Even if I am mostly always right.
I promise to tell you the truth–not just when it’s easy or convenient or you ask me to, but also when it’s messy or hurtful or makes me look bad. It’s worth looking bad for a moment if it means that you can trust me for a lifetime.
I promise to make you the first priority in our family. Our kids will be freaking amazing, but you will come first. I will save time and energy and love for you. Even if I’m beyond-tired from late-night feedings or trying to manage laundry piles with gaggles of children hanging from my ankles, I will still make time for you. Because today we choose each other, and each other is a relationship worth keeping strong no matter what sacrifices might need to be made.
I promise to always put the toilet paper roll so that the paper feeds from the top of the roll.
I promise not to blame you for things that are beyond your control, or things that should actually be in my control, but to handle situations as they are: situations that can always be resolved.
I promise to love you when we are so broke that we think we’ll have to foreclose on our house, and when we have enough money to travel the world. Together we will learn to see the lean times as a way to trust in God, and the times of provision will teach us to be grateful and generous.
I promise to support you in your decisions and your pursuits, even if they aren’t quite the same as my own.
I promise to respect you through my words, actions and attitudes.
I promise to advocate for you and always choose your side of the argument: we are (forever) on the same team.
I promise to buy you the “correct” brand of cheese, toilet paper, yogurt, underwear, cereal…well, everything. Even if it takes me 50 years, I will learn all of the “correct” of everything and I won’t let any of that other garbage into our house.
I promise to learn to love the things that you love, and to participate in your passions with you.
I promise to laugh with you often.
I promise to chew with my mouth closed and not talk while I’m eating.
I promise to love you as an imperfect sinner (just like myself), and not hold you to the impossible standards of perfection that may seep into my mind.
I promise to walk with Jesus, to change my ways if that walk needs some work, and encourage you in your own walk.
I promise to learn with you.
I promise to follow your dreams with you, wherever they may lead us.
I promise to love and to cherish you, till death do us part, according to God’s holy ordinance; and thereto I pledge myself to you.
Happy anniversary, Jon! Thank you for putting up with me and loving me so well–I can’t believe how lucky I am to have you.
Twelve down, 50-ish to go!