I remember growing up a little obsessed with marriage–some years, it was all I wanted; others, I wanted anything but. Always, I regarded it with dread (in the archaic deep-awe sense of the word). I found very few examples of marriages I wished to emulate; a good percentage of them dissolved despite the appearance of happiness, and the ones that hadn’t seemed unnatural attachments held together by cultural nostalgia and superego’d shame. I heard repeatedly from the couples I did respect that marriage was “hard work” and love was a “choice.” I feared surrendering my personal freedom and hitchin’ my wagon to someone else’s star.
Then I found, or rather re-found, you — my first love, first heartbreak, separated by circumstances, time, and geography. I didn’t believe in soulmates, but I do now. Despite all odds, my soul which was formed with yours in Mind, sought you out. Despite my reservations, the “click” our hearts made when they fell into place was unmistakable. When I agreed to marry you, I expected it to be hard work; I had decided that I would choose to love you no matter what; I had a Biblical belief that marriage would make me holy, even if it didn’t make me happy.
But two years later, you know what I’ve discovered? When one is prepared to make sacrifices, when one is ready to love selflessly, when one expects the crucible of marriage to pound you into the image of Christ… It’s surprisingly enjoyable. Being married to you feels natural and easy. I respect you more than anyone else I’ve ever met and you love me so well that I never have cause to doubt it. Life has been hard, but marriage has been my haven, the safe place in the midst of the storms. You keep me anchored the way a kite is anchored and I am more myself than I have ever been.
When I heard that marriage would make me holy, I had visions of learning to be long-suffering through trials and selfless in the face of hardship. Instead, I have seen the face of God and He is Love. Your generous spirit and gracious heart have taught me more about my Father who is Loving and Generous and Forgiving and Good than any Bible lesson ever could, and because I know that I am loved to the very depth of my being, I have been freed to be more loving and generous and forgiving and good. You did that. And I am so grateful.
Thank for teaching me what it means to trust in the midst of doubt, forgive in the face of adversity, and love in spite of pain. “I love thee to the depth and breadth and height my soul can reach… and, if God choose, I shall but love thee better after death.”
Happy Valentine’s Day, my darling,
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