Thursday, September 3, 2015

I still do….

"Love is not about how much you say "I love you" but how much you prove that it's true".  I love those words for many reasons!  Leif and I have been saying "I love you" for over 15 years.  We said "I love you" at the ripe old age of 17 and now here we are after 10 years of marriage still saying the same thing.  But I know for a fact that our love then and our love now look completely different!  When I said "I love you" at 17 I probably meant that "I think you are awesome".  HA!  You're a cool guy and you make me feel like I am a pretty cool girl.  Our problems are minimal and our responsibilities concur!  We are just 2 high schoolers who find the other intriguing so why not just see what happens.  Sure, I loved him in a way that only a 17 year old knows how.  We could say "I love you" until the cows came home and that was that!  Did I know then the depths of love?  Do I even know now?  Probably not.  Love is constant.  It's a journey and certainly not a destination.  It's the everyday.  Loving for us doesn't mean that I love every single thing about him and he loves every single thing about me.  It's means that despite our differing views and personalities, we excel together, empower each other, grow together rather than apart and carry on even when giving up looks compelling!  Neither of us are 17 any more…our life looks so different now than it did back then and to be honest our life now is so different than it was just 5 years ago.  What is the same is that we continue to show up.  Show up, you ask?  Yes, we show up for the job of marriage every single day.  The fairy tale only exists  in the midst of daily work, daily struggle, and daily commitment!  On one hand I feel like I blinked and arrived here, and on the other I know that we have worked very, very, very hard to get here.  We beat the odds.  No, we aren't 50 years in but so many people said we couldn't.  They said it for many different reasons…2 kids from very different families, 2 kids with opposite socioeconomic upbringings, distance during college, pressure from family to take breaks, "most Navy marriages don't survive", most marriages end during deployment….the list goes on.  We have had so many opportunities to give up, say it's not worth it, throw in the towel, decide that one persons needs are more important than the other!  His career, by nature, requires our lives be different and our decisions aren't ours.  We live around a schedule that isn't up for negotiation or discussion and it certainly isn't an option.  But we figure it out and stay the course.  Our private conversations, his private struggles and my private insecurities are just that…they are private!  Although I don't think they are unique to our marriage!  We fight for each other when the other just can't!  He picks me up when I can't stand and I pull it all together when he can't be here.  Our relationship is not equal…it never will be!  That's the nature of our lifestyle.  But…I am his biggest fan and he is the sole reason that I am confident of my work behind the scenes and motivated enough to build my own business on my terms.  This isn't him vs. me.  This is me and him, him and I, this is US….together WE have built a beautiful life.  Maybe you are wondering how we (or anyone else) does it.  Why does their marriage look a certain way?…trust me…we work at it every single day!  Sometimes that work is really ugly!  Sometimes there are tears, the silent treatment, and everything in between.  As with anything in life, put in the work.  Pick him/her up when they are down.  Don't just SAY "I love you" .  LIVE "I love you" every single day…even on the days when you can't even say it….still LIVE IT!!!

Leif,  After 10 years of marriage, I am so thankful that we are both still in it.  Still committed to greatness.  Committed to building each other up, building a life for our kids and designing a successful marriage on our terms.  I am so grateful that you love me when I am at my worst.  I may not always be happy about our lack of control in planning but I am surely always always proud of you!  You are a model to so many of what being a man is…faithful, dedicated, hardworking, gentle, encouraging and sensitive!  The boys and I have a front row view of what is right in this world…not always fair (for you for me or for them)but certainly always right!  You do work that matters and we are so proud of you!  The accolades are few and far between but we know and believe in all that you are accomplishing quietly!  I promised you 10 years ago that I would always ride this ride with you….that hasn't changed!  The ups, the downs, and the maintenance in between…I'm on board…Still!!!! Thank you for being my soulmate, my sounding board, my best friends, my rock and everything I have ever wanted and needed in a partner!   Happy 10 year Anniversary!!!  I love You!