Also, I wanted to take some time as a newlywed young woman who is getting more credit than she deserves, to praise my new husband and create a monument, as small as it is, in thankfulness to him. Because he’s done more for me than I can ever repay or even successfully express, but here goes.
He took a girl who rarely smiled and made her smile all the time. The kind of smile that reaches all the way to eyes and will leave a legacy around their corners. The kind that when I’m old, people will be able to look at my face and say, “There is a woman who has led a happy life”.
He gave me the strength I needed to complete college. I was carrying a heavy class load, had three capstone projects to complete, was rehabilitating an injured horse, had suffered the death of a beloved pet and was still recovering from the death of my grandmother. Without him being there on Skype nearly every night to talk me through and let me unwind, I probably never would have managed it.
He allows me to rest easy at night. After a decade of insomnia and nightmares, I can finally sleep at night.
He changed my artwork for the better. I no longer care about the academic expectations or adherence to agreed upon reality. I paint what I want to paint, draw what I want to draw. And guess what? People love it. He also reminded me why I love it.
He’s one of only a few people in my life who treats me like a human being, complete with flaws, weaknesses, strengths, and areas of ignorance. So many people in my life have held me to ridiculously high standards and been disappointed when I was incapable of performing as expected. I’m still learning how to cook and I can’t do math, like at all, and he loves me anyway.
He took a girl who’d only been told she was pretty five times in her life and not only made her believe she was beautiful, but made other people believe it too. In the past I could count how many times I’d been called pretty or beautiful on one hand, and now I can’t even keep track. Strangers compliment me, the older ladies at church say I’m pretty like an angel. The only thing that happened is he walked into my life. My maid of honor said during her toast that when she first saw us together, I seemed to glow, that she’d never seen me so happy.
He’s given me the freedom to actually live my life the way I want to. He’s lifted so many crushing burdens from my shoulders. I’m finally pursuing the life I want to live, which of course, is the life that no one assumed that a smart girl like me wanted and never would have encouraged me to pursue. All the stuff that I ever wanted to do, I finally have the courage to do those things now that I’m by his side.
The simple act of kissing me hello and goodbye. After living with a family who never cared where I was going or when I would be back, this is revolutionary. I can’t be mistaken about whether he cares about me or not, about whether he cares when I return or if I return. The evidence is there every single time.
He’s given me someone to share experiences with. Watching a meteor shower or going to the beach is great, it’s even better when you’re sharing it with someone else, especially if the experience is new for one of you.
I appreciate the fact that he’s older than me, because it shifts my mindset and forces me to be less selfish. Instead of saying to him, “Where were you when I needed you?”, I am compelled to say, “Where was I when you needed me?”. I can’t mess around and think to myself, “I’ll be fertile for awhile, I can wait awhile to have kids”. No, he deserves to be able to see his children grow to adulthood and be part of their lives. So I won’t be following the advice to wait until I’m thirty to have kids. Sure, we’d still be able to have kids, but neither of us would be able to enjoy it as much.
His kindness and patience towards me and everyone else is truly wonderful. Even at times when he’s had every right to be very angry, he’s been calm and collected. For me, who can be crushed by a sharp word, this is a precious quality.
He helps me weather my storms, regardless of their origins. He doesn’t express annoyance with my tears or accuse me of emotional manipulation. He just holds me and listens as I choke it out word by word. Even if he would prefer if I just spat it out.
He made Christmas mean something to me again.
He makes me want to dance and sing. I no longer just listen to songs in the car or merely look forward to the monthly square dances. These days I have a life worth celebrating and he’s the one who gave it to me.
He found us a wonderful church where the people care about us and I’m actually learning something. We’ve had complete strangers congratulate us on our marriage and it was one of our church friends that first introduced me as “Mrs”.
He’s taught me the importance of smaller things. Like photographs, traditions, calling family and sending thank you cards.
He touches me, hugs me, kisses me, picks me up and carries me around, and generally takes every opportunity to show me he loves me via touch.
He looks after me and shows concern for my well-being. He’s already popular with my doctor. He’s not clingy or nosy about it though.
He’s willing to introduce me to new things or explore new things together. I know more about where I live than I did before he came here, and it really has been a glorious adventure to me.
Most of all, he loved me enough to give me a home and the promise of a family. There will be no more lonely wandering for me, as long as we are both alive.
With all of these things in mind, I have dedicated myself to him. I’ve promised myself that no matter how long or short our time is together, that I will make it my goal to fill his life with love and joy. I will remain by his side no matter what and do my best to submit to him. I will make his house a pleasant place to live and raise up our children with him. I will encourage him, support him, and care for him. I will remember the blessings that he has brought upon me and I will seek to do the same. Because with this man I chose to make my home, before God and man.