“I just want to be able to provide for my family and give them what they need.” These are the words spoken that set my heart ablaze and immediately cemented my desire to share a life with my now husband, John. We had just spent my birthday weekend in Dallas where he introduced me to his family and took me to a Dallas Cowboy’s football game. In the dark of night, high in the hills of northwest Arkansas while driving back to our college town, I asked him, what is your goal in life? Those are the words he said with much conviction.
I grew up in a wonderful home and have fond memories of fishing, jumping on the trampoline, riding my bike, and playing beauty salon with friends, but there was always a feint feeling of insecurity and loneliness. I’m an only child and my parents divorced when I was 14. I yearned for a stable home life full of love, laughter and above all, security.
I met my husband in college and from the moment I laid eyes on him, I thought he was the most handsome guy. Little did I know, he also possessed the traits I wanted and desperately needed in a life partner. He had thick, brown wavy hair, large chestnut eyes, and a smile that lit up a room. We had mutual friends in common who made it their personal mission to set us up. From that moment, I was that giddy girl that was slightly intimidated yet intrigued by this guy she would soon come to know – and later love.
From the moment we met it wasn’t long until we started dating. I was 20, he was 21, and I remember texting had just become a thing. Not texting like today, but texting on our Razor flip phones where you had to press 2 3x to write “c.” While we texted often (my ringtone was Christina Aguilera’s “Ain’t No Other Man” 😊), I loved spending time with him. He was so kind to everybody he met and his friends couldn’t find one bad thing to say about him. In addition to his friendly demeanor, he was hard working and made me want to be a better version of myself.
Fast forward 5 years and he was down on his knee proposing the night before my 25th birthday. It was a moment I dreamt about my whole life and was everything I’d wished for and more. The following year, we had my dream wedding at Arlington Hall in Dallas, danced under chandeliers hanging from trees in the crisp night air, and bought a house to begin our life together.
I reminisce because today is our 10-year wedding anniversary. We still live in the house we bought together with our Maltese, Madeline – who is now 11 – but it is no longer just a house. It is a home filled with love, laughter and above all, security. We now have two beautiful children that are always running around, toys strewn about, music playing and food cooking on the stove or in the oven.
The last time my dad came to visit, he said to me, “I always love being in your home because there is so much joy here. It feels good.” I tear up thinking about it because somehow, at the young – and yes, it is still young – age of 35, I have everything my heart ever wanted.
I am not an expert and life is full of ups and downs, but I believe marriage is something that is sacred and should be protected. It can be work at times but if you share the same values and similar goals in life, you can get through anything when you support each other.
As for some tips I’ve gathered along the way – take or leave them – but I have been told they are lifesavers from others I’ve shared them with throughout the years.
- Don’t share a blanket to sleep each night. It’s inevitable that one person is a toss and turner and the other lays still. Save yourselves from countless sheet wars through the night and sleep with your own blanket!
- Give each other grace and don’t set expectations. Nobody is perfect and if you think of the little things your spouse does that may get under your skin, you probably do things that get under their skin too.
- If you want something or want something done, ask for it. It’s no mystery that men and women communicate differently. No man will know everything going through your head so you have to share it with them.
Like I said, I believe marriage is something that is sacred and should be protected. Don’t enter it lightly, but when you do, give it everything you have. I prayed for God to send me the perfect person to share my life with and he delivered. I’m not always in the best mood, but no matter what happens, I am grateful every day to wake up next to John and love him more each passing year.
Cheers to 10 more years!