Today is our 12-year wedding anniversary. It’s hard to believe it’s been 12 years. It seems like it was just last year. I think about all the things that has changed in the past 12 years, but one thing remains the same — Tom and me. The vows we made meant something to us and no matter how difficult things may have been, we found our way together. And we’ve always celebrated all the moments of joy in our marriage — ever thankful to God.
God has been a big part of our marriage since day one. We turned to God after being diagnosed with cancer a couple of months before our wedding. You can’t imagine the total devastation and despair we felt during that time. You can’t imagine what it felt like to be just eight weeks from our wedding day and be faced with the knowledge that we would never have any children together — and my future was so uncertain. I was scared — more scared than I ever knew I could be — for the first time, I wasn’t invincible. Plus, we were in the middle of everything — it was simply overwhelming. I started wondering if I should release Tom from his obligation — I was feeling incredibly guilty on top of everything else.
In such a short time, we had so many dreams. We loved each other — and I couldn’t imagine my life without Tom in it. And the truth was, Tom couldn’t imagine his life without me either. He showed his true character when I needed him the most. And I believe our vows meant something even more when we said them on this day, 12 years ago. It was a beautiful gift that God gave to us — joining us in holy matrimony.
My brother Bob talked to us numerous times throughout our marriage, but his initial conversation gave us clear direction in the middle of the chaos. His words of wisdom gave us the strength we needed and our path became clear — we were following the path that God had planned for us. Bob told us that we could make all the plans we wanted, but in the end, it’s God’s plan we follow. And if we can let him lead us in our lives, we will have fulfilling and happy lives. That was the moment that we learned to trust God. This was life changing for me.
It was like a someone flicked on a light switch. I had resolve that my life now had a new purpose. I know that sounds crazy, but that’s what happened. I remember my new doctor — an oncologist named Fred Price, called me on a Sunday night to talk to me. My surgery was scheduled for the coming Tuesday. I’m sure he didn’t know what to think of me — I was my usual outgoing and happy person with him on the phone. There were no tears, I was ready to move forward. I replaced fear and anxiety with trust in God. And we did that throughout our marriage during all the difficult times.
I know it’s my anniversary, and I’m reflecting on the things that surrounded our wedding 12 years ago. But those things directly impacted our marriage and shaped it to what it is today. So I decided to put together my list of things that has kept us strong.
- Give it to God. By putting complete trust in him, we are able to stay positive and know that we are following his plan for us. Plus, God gives us both hope, peace and unimaginable moments of joy. No matter how hard things may get, we know that he is always with us, and we are never alone.
- Laugh together. At the stupid things, at the funny things — at everything you can. Sometimes, in the middle of a project, when things were just not going right — we would laugh instead of getting angry at each other. Sometimes we would get angry too — but laughter is always the best medicine. And with a husband like Tom, it’s not hard to do. He’s also joking and goofing around.
- Respect each other. I never say anything that would hurt Tom’s feelings. And he does the same for me. It’s kind of a silent rule that we are kind to each other even if we’re angry. Oh — and the going to bed angry advice you get on your wedding day — it’s okay to go to bed angry. Sometimes you just need some time to think things through and see things differently tomorrow.
- Lean on each other. When bad things happen, you deal with it the best you can, and you have each other to make it through — you do it together as a team. Sure, there are times during my illness that I feel completely alone, but those are my trials. And then are times that I am so thankful I have such a wonderful partner.
- Celebrate the good, even the smallest of things. We celebrate as much as we can for all kinds of reasons — with our family and close friends — we love you all!
- Count your blessings. The past 12 years has blest us with so many things. It’s so easy to focus on the things we don’t have. Our gifts are so abundant and we’re ever so thankful to God.
- Find time for just the two of you. We do so much with family and friends that sometimes we need to schedule some time for just the two of us. Like having date night once a month or scheduling a couple of long weekend trips somewhere romantic. It gives us time to reconnect and just enjoy each other.
- Look for magic moments. Realize that sometimes the simplest things can change your whole day. It’s those little moments in time that can pass so quickly that if we’re not looking, can miss something very special.
- Never stop dreaming and do something unexpected. Tom and I are always making grand plans of some kind. That keeps our marriage exciting and the future filled with life and love. Doing something unexpected takes us out of our routine — like the jet ski we bought this summer. Okay — unexpected!!! Yet exciting!
- Curl up with a cat. Okay, this one is completely therapeutic! Besides the fact that Benny completely annoys me while I’m trying to finish my blog post, I love that little guy, and he or Sidney can brighten my mood anytime. And the same for Tom. For as much as he says, “kick the cat,” he really means, “my life would have less joy without those two little fur balls.”
Sometimes I wonder how I got so lucky. Today Tom washed the bed sheets, the towels and whatever miscellaneous laundry we had. He helped me clean the kitchen by taking all of the furniture out of it. He then swept the floors before swiffering it. He helped me clean the stainless and all the surfaces. He made it so easy for me to clean the hardwood — he did all the prep. And while I did that, he put the bed back together and vacuumed the entire house. He took out all the trash and made countless trips up and down the stairs. And then he asked me what else he could do to help.
We truly are one and tackle everything together, side-by-side. We rarely do things without each other. We took vows before God, and we live those vows with such conviction. Our love is truly a once-in-a-life love. Our life is filled with that once-in-a-lifetime magic.
Happy Anniversary Tom. I will love you forever and eternity.
Always B E L I E V E !