My fiancé is in the living room writing his vows. And I am in bed, like a kid on Christmas Eve even though there are four more sleeps before he is officially my husband.
Writing my own vows today and lying here as he writes his has led me to reflect on the 9 years we have spent in each other’s company.
We met as leadership mentors for this incoming first year summer conference at our University, and we were paired together. There is actually a picture of us at the same conference a year earlier – me a delegate and him a leader – but we didn’t cross paths. This year, before I knew we were paired together I struck up a conversation with him (cause he was hot and I was a flirt) about puzzle mats – and he was kind of a jerk in his response – but I was being a know-it-all and honestly, puzzle mats?
Then we were paired together and had to maintain eye contact while listening to the other person talk about themselves for two minutes, you couldn’t interrupt, and the whole time I remember thinking to myself I am falling in love with this man.
Our relationship hasn’t been easy. It isn’t stuff you would find in fairy tales. I was suffering from depression and was as of yet undiagnosed (and would remain undiagnosed for three more years). I was lying constantly, and lied because I didn’t feel I was worthy of his love for almost two years after our first meeting. He got very sick, and he has serious family issues to deal with. There were fights and breakups, but through it all he has demonstrated this unbelievable stubbornness to just love me.
He has truly seen the darkest parts of me and chosen to love me through it. He shows up each day to our relationship. He makes me laugh when I want to cry and holds me when I need to be held.
No, our love may not have taken a straight path. In fact, it was a broken one, and it was hard at times for both of us in different ways.
But for somebody who at her core believes herself to be unlovable, who thinks herself unworthy, who can’t forgive herself for what she has done or who she was before – my fiancés love has been a gift, a gift that has kept me alive, literally. Because that summer I was diagnosed I begged him not to take me to the hospital and he didn’t listen. And I told him I hated him and said all kinds of awful, horrible things and he stayed, and he took me to the hospital, and he was there.
And yet, he never treats me like I am broken. He didn’t that day, and he has yet to.
If my parents weren’t at the ceremony I would have slightly different vows. And they would say all this and more.
Thank you for keeping me alive when I didn’t know how. Thank you for not treating me like I was crazy or unlovable even when I was acting like it. Thank you for being the catalyst for my life changing, for seeing the true me, as I am, as worthy of being loved. Thank you for always loving me regardless, for loving me until I knew how and beyond that moment. Thank you for saving my life and seeing me as your equal every single day. I vow to do my best for you, and I won’t be perfect, but that’s okay, because you taught me that with you – I never have to be.
It’s been a long journey, and I was determined to have quit self harming and lying by the time this day came. I have come so much further than that.
And every time this journey gets difficult I remind myself that he has never given up on me – even when I have – and that at the end of the day he will always be in my corner.
I would walk this difficult path a thousand times if it meant that we end up standing next to each other on Saturday every single time.