October 7, 2000 is my favorite day in the whole wide world. It's the day I met you (for the third time). Ten years later, I feel like I've barely scratched the surface of your complex soul... barely begun to understand what makes you tick.
But I have learned a few things...
2000: I learned that when a man finds the woman he wants to spend the rest of his life with, he wants the rest of his life to start right now. When he sees what he wants, he goes after it. You pursued me, just like God pursues His bride in Jeremiah 31:3.
2001: I learned that being married to you meant making you my first priority emotionally. That I couldn't spend days on end incapacitated because of the conflicts of loved ones hundreds of miles away. That I only had so much emotional energy, and I needed to choose to spend it where God had placed me -- with you. Just like Psalm 45:10-11.
I also learned that through countless nights of sleeplessness, colicky newborn, and postpartum wife, you would be a Psalm 37:37 man of peace -- a solid rock in the midst of stormy weather.
2002: I learned that you would move heaven and earth to make me happy, and I would do well not to abuse that kind of devotion with petulance and selfish whims. You wooed me with kindness, tolerance and patience no matter how outrageous my demands, and gave me my first glimpse of the characteristics of God described in Romans 2:4.
2003: I learned that the news of another baby nestled in my womb would bring unabashed tears of joy to your eyes as you accepted with humility and gladness the truth of Psalm 127:3.
2004: I learned that you took very seriously the mandate given to you in Ephesians 5:25 and you put your whole heart and soul into obeying Ephesians 6:4.
2005: I learned that you would do whatever you had to do to protect our marriage even though it cost you a promising job and, subsequently, our first home. Just like Philippians 3:7.
2006: I learned that when we discovered together the events of my past, you did not run away, but instead, you were the embodiment of God's promise in Joel 2:25-27 as you held my hand through the darkness.
2007: I learned that you would follow God to a place that made no sense, and that you would do so courageously, obeying God's command in Joshua 1:9 and working with the humble diligence that shouted your integrity amidst the questionable actions of those around you.
2008: I learned that fibromyalgia doesn't scare you, and it doesn't even phase you. That you possessed the physical strength to lift me when I couldn't lift myself, the gentleness to wash my hair when my arms were too tired, and the flexibility to change all of our plans to accommodate my chronic pain. You helped me understand Psalm 46:1.
2009: I learned that I was worth everything to you. That I mattered more to you than your reputation, your job, our house, our friends, our church, and our entire way of life. I clung to your tenacious peace in the midst of losing all of those things and marveled as you brushed each of them aside and focused on your pearl of great price, like the one in Matthew 13:46.
2010: I learned that you are here. To stay. That each time I tremble with the renewed shock of unspeakable loss, your arms are wrapped around me, and to the best of your ability, you will keep the promise to me that God gave to Joshua in Deuteronomy 31:8, cross your heart and hope to live to a hundred.
I don't know what the next ten years will hold, but I do know, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that I want to spend them all with you.
Happy anniversary, Mr. Man.