The woman lying next to me in bed this morning has a tremendous reservoir of patience. Today marks 17 years since we were married and started waking up together, a span of time in which I have tested her patience extensively.
On the surface it may seem like completely loving someone means you choose them over every other person on the planet, which is not untrue, but it’s also not the whole story. It turns out that completely loving someone means you choose them over yourself, which is…whoa.
My first inclination in every situation is to determine what is best for me and any act of selflessness I can muster is in direct opposition to those initial instincts. No one knows that better than my wife, which is unfortunate and beautiful.
She knows my imperfections and weaknesses like no one else, and is the person most impacted by them, but she chooses to love me in spite of them. For 17 years she has chosen to honor a commitment in which we agreed, “whatever happens, we will figure it out together,” and I haven’t always made that easy for her.
It seems like a lifetime ago that I was a 21-year old kid making a promise I had no way of truly understanding…but I guess falling in love is like getting gum in your hair: there is no easy way to get out of a situation like that.
Nicole: I knew you were the one for me when I was in high school and 20 years later I’m still sure I was right. I knew it before you did and I’ll never let you forget it. Thank you for loving me…all of me…for the past 17 years and for the assurance that you’re going to keep on loving me.
I will love you forever…