Friday, August 13, 2010

Our Anniversary

Our anniversary is on the 15th.  Anyone in the bridal room before the wedding must have thought we'd never make it this far.  I was all but breathing into a bag.  I was a nervous wreck and was having trouble catching my breath.  I had big, red splotches on my chest from my nerves and I couldn't talk to anyone.   I know that it looked like I had doubts and that I might not walk down the aisle at all, but that's the farthest thing from the truth.  I've never, ever doubted that Craig was a gift in every way.  Instead, I was overwhelmed both by the hugeness of the step we were taking and having serious self-doubt about my own worthiness of him and my abilities to be a good wife.  I think I was right to be intimidated by the sacred and very permanent vows we were making.  It probably would've made his sweet mother less nervous if I hadn't done it then, but on the whole, I'm glad that I was able to appreciate the solemnity of that moment in my life.  As would become a pattern in our marriage, all of my fears and anxiety completely disappeared once we were together right before the ceremony.  I know that a lot of people think that seeing each other before the ceremony diminishes the walk down the aisle, but that first time we saw each other, by ourselves, was the most affirming and special moment of my life so far.

I used to think of all the big decisions that I've made in my life and all of the opportunities I've taken over others and wonder what my life would be like if I'd chosen a different door.  I would imagine, for example, where I might be living if I'd gone to a different college and knew different people.  Would I be happier? More successful?  As hokey as it sounds, meeting Craig has forever halted that thought.  I absolutely know that there is no other person that I would want to share a life with more than him and that everything that got me here was as it should be.  I love Craig to the ends of the earth and back again, but on top of that, I like the guy and I like being around him.  I think he's fun, and witty, and interesting, and even if our arms and legs fell off, we could still sit around and have a talk and never want for anything.

I don't claim to know the secret to a successful marriage.  We're still practically at the starting point.  I do know, though, that he has some of the most rare and precious qualities in a person. I think he is incredibly handsome and I still get really excited every time his car pulls in the driveway.  I have trouble paying attention to other people when we're at parties and he still makes me blush all the time.  I know that those things may not last, though.  I hope there will be embers forever, but even if not, I love him more than all those things combined because of who he is. I may be married to one of the nicest people I've ever known.  Nice is absolutely the most generic attribute in the world, but it's true.  He is a very, very nice person.  If you're reading this, and you've met Craig, he likes you and he cares about you.  I can say that without any hesitation.  He's always concerned about people, even when he doesn't know them well, and remembers the things going on their lives, big and small. He's mindful of treating people with respect, even when they don't give him the same courtesy.  I truly believe that nice is one of the most unappreciated qualities, and yet going through life with a deeply good and kind person is more than anyone could ask for.  He can be a touch on the quiet side and doesn't reveal his soft side readily, but his compassion runs all the way to his core.  Those of us who are close to his heart are very privileged.  Don't get me wrong, being nice doesn't compromise his backbone.  He's a strong leader both in his career and in our new family, but he manages to do it as a servant leader.  Over the course of our relationship I've watched him grow into a kind of biblical manhood and I've been so happy to have a front row seat as he's developed a stronger faith, learned his own professional strengths and gone after his dreams, worked like a horse so that I can realize mine, and stepped up in his own family to try and give back in gratitude for what he was given.  I only hope that I can always give him support and room to grow in all directions. 

I know I'm gushing and if you're rolling your eyes, that's fine.  This post is for Craig anyway.  He deserves more praise than I could give.  He's not perfect, but he's never claimed to be.  We all come to marriage baring our scars and flaws, but in the best of circumstances the right person will motivate us to act from a place of humbleness and not through those well worn defenses that carried us in past relationships.  He has been that for me.  I'm better for knowing Craig.  I think he's better for knowing me too.  Add all of that to the fact that I've gained the great big family I've always wanted and he's gotten my Mom, who has enough personality for a room full of people.  I thank God for all the answered prayers this year and add one more, asking that he see us through many, many more.

This is the first time we saw each other.

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