Happy Anniversary!

Though I actually wrote this ten days ago, today dear readers is my anniversary. November 19, 2005

You see, seven years ago today, I waddled my seven month pregnant self down the aisle, leaning on my mother for support and strength, toward the man I would, God willing, spend the rest of my life with. I was 20 years old, on the verge of motherhood and was suddenly a wife. I was terrified. WE were terrified. But somehow we’ve pulled through.

When we got married, the statistics weren’t good for marriages where a pregnancy was present at the time of the nuptials. I believe it was eighteen months. The average marriage when the wife was pregnant at the wedding was lasting about 18 months when we said our “I Do”. That wasn’t encouraging to those who cared about us because, regardless of what we said or how often we said it, I’m pretty sure they all believed we were getting married because of the baby. But there was something more. Something they couldn’t know.

He was put in my life to make me a better person and I was there to help him be one too. That’s what our marriage is about. Loving God, loving each other, loving our kids, and making each other the best we can be. The fact that no one understood this was very evident when I talked to my boss (she was also a friend) about “our song”. While I’m not sure we have an “official” song, there are several songs that have had a large impact on us as a couple and, I believe, the very first one was “The Reason” by Hoobastank.

Now most people from my generation have heard this song. It came out the year after I graduated high school and was very popular at the time. My boss, ‘LuLu’, was convinced this was the worst song possible for a new romance to set as their own. She believed the song was about changing yourself to be good enough for your lover and feared that this was what I was doing. I don’t actually think she had ever paid attention to the lyrics of this song with a hint of accuracy. With this in mind, let’s look at those lyrics:

“The Reason” (from azlyrics.com)

I’m not a perfect person
There’s many things I wish I didn’t do
But I continue learning
I never meant to do those things to you
And so I have to say before I go
That I just want you to know

I’ve found a reason for me
To change who I used to be
A reason to start over new
and the reason is you

Okay, let’s start here. The narrator here is saying “I’m a f**k up, I didn’t mean to do that. I’m working on me, but I know that’s not enough for you right now. I’ll leave, but before I do, I want you to know that I want to be a better person. I want to change so I don’t do this to someone else and you are the reason I want to make that change” I fail to see how this is a bad thing. We all strive to be better people and many of us have people of inspiration behind these drastic behavior changes. Next verse:

I’m sorry that I hurt you
It’s something I must live with everyday
And all the pain I put you through
I wish that I could take it all away
And be the one who catches all your tears
Thats why i need you to hear

I’ve found a reason for me
To change who I used to be
A reason to start over new
and the reason is You

Here again, we gain a little more insight into the problem. Whatever behavior he wishes to change has become incredibly painful to the woman he loves. He hurt her pretty badly and has to live with the fact that he caused a great pain to the woman of his heart. He says “I’m sorry. I wish I could change what happened, I wish I could stop the pain, the hurt and your tears. That’s why I need you to listen. I need you to know that I’m trying to be a better person and that you are the reason I want to change. I don’t want to put you or anyone else through this again.” The rest of the song is for emphasis. A “please listen to me”, if you will.

and the reason is You [x3]

I’m not a perfect person
I never meant to do those things to you
And so I have to say before I go
That I just want you to know

I’ve found a reason for me
To change who I used to be
A reason to start over new
and the reason is you

I’ve found a reason to show
A side of me you didn’t know
A reason for all that I do
And the reason is you

So this was the song my husband and I chose all those years ago. We chose a song that in the moment was a great one for us. Eight years ago, we chose to be a better person than we were being. We made the effort to always build each other up and to change behaviors that were harmful to ourselves or each other. We strive to be better people.

We are not perfect. We have gone through a lot in our marriage that has knocked the floor out from under us. There have been times that have been so difficult and so painful that it almost cost us our marriage. Multiple times. There have been times where it would have been much easier to just give up. Times where it was my fault. Times where it was his fault. But instead of calling it quits and walking away, we pulled together. We’ve been in marriage counseling on two separate occasions and I’m not afraid to admit it. I had a severe bout of depression years ago that almost destroyed us. I changed my thinking habits, took medications for a while and haven’t had a serious issue with it since 2007.

We’ve stuck with it when it would have been easier to leave. We’ve done amazing things in our marriage and I hope that, someday, our marriage can be a beacon of hope for someone else going through hard times. I want to continue being the reason he strives to be a better man. A better husband, a better father. And I want to be his better wife, better mother, and better woman in return.

At this point in our lives, any number of songs could describe how I feel about my marriage, my husband, my life. Death Cab for Cutie’s “I Will Follow You into the Dark“, for instance, Green Day’s “Wake Me Up When September Ends“, even Alanis Morissette’s “Head Over Feet“. I’ve always communicated better through music. I love my husband more today that I did all those years ago. I can say that without irony, and with full honesty. I love him more now. I’ve watched him grow as a man. I’ve watched him grow as a husband and as a father. I’ve seen him stumble. I’ve seen him fall. I’ve seen every bump and bruise in between. My husband is a better man today that he was those seven years ago. He will be a better man seven years from now.

I miss him terribly, I want him here with me. Personal sacrifice is part of growing. It’s part of learning who you are and what you are made of. I bare this cross with honor for my country. I’ve got your back. So does my husband.

I love you, kid. See you soon!

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