I can honestly say I don’t know who I would be today if not for you. Not only have you been my most loyal cheerleader, teacher, coach, and life teammate, you also happen to be one of the kindest, most loving people in my life. I am so grateful that I chose you. Your heart is an inspiration to me. You, just being you, motivates me to be the best me I can BE. Who knows, maybe that’s the definition of a soul mate. You and I have created a life built on loyalty, respect, friendship, understanding, commitment, faith, and love in action. I am so grateful for that.
I chose you, a man of integrity that really does practice what he preaches. I love your openness, your intellect, and your creative heart and soul. I know we joke whenever you introduce me to something new and out of my comfort zone, whether it’s trying a new food or being open to learning a new skill, that you are dragging me kicking and screaming to something I will eventually love. And I’m so grateful to you for continuing to show up for me.
Your sense of humor is one of your superpowers. You use humor and lighthearted energy to express yourself and to connect with others. You have a way of making people feel valued, seen, and heard. It is evident in your nicknames for others, your funny John’isms; those phrases you repeat over and over that have now become a part of the family’s language, shoot…anyone who knows you well can hear you saying, “All good things…” or “Heyyy. How are YA?” or my personal favorite, “You’re doin’ great!” You are the “give you the shirt off his back” kind of friend. And I love that about you.
You also support and encourage me to do the things that I feel passionate about, whether that’s writing, furthering my education, working with others, my spiritual development, all of it… you are supportive even when you don’t understand the value some of those things have for me. You value my perspective, and you value my ideas. You value me, and it shows.
I was listening to our wedding song, Come Rain or Come Shine, this past week. It occurred to me that we really have lived through rain and shine in these last 16.5 years. I am still touched when I remember that you were the one to pick this song. It has been proven to be a prophetic pick.
I recently reread our marriage vows. I stood in front of the hanging frame and read these powerful words:
I take you to be my husband, my friend, my love, and my lifelong companion. I promise to trust you when I don’t understand, weep with you in heartache, and celebrate life with you in joy. I vow to treat you with respect, love, and loyalty. This commitment is made in love, kept in faith, lived in hope, and eternally made new.
My love for you is as steady and as powerful as the passage of time through each day we spend together. You are my source of peace and happiness through which I experience the world. I pledge to you my friendship and understanding. I pledge to you my body and soul. From now to the end of time, I am yours.
Those words are still true today, and I realize they have always been there; hanging on the walls of our home, present even when I didn’t see it. Since the day we spoke those vows, our lives have drastically changed. We began as a couple, and we’ve created a loving, imperfect family. I couldn’t have asked for a better father for our four beloved children. They all get the benefit of your time, your patience, your love, your inspiration, your “Dad jokes,” your work ethic, your endless curiosity, your honor, and your heart. You are committed to parenting with me as a team. You take time to reflect and discuss how to be the best father to our kids as time moves us through different circumstances and crises.
Looking back through the years, I am now able to see that your love has been evident even when we were struggling with deep wounds in our relationship. I hold countless memories in my heart of your acts of love throughout our life together. I am noticing, also, that as I have been healing, so too has our relationship. As my body, mind, and soul continue to heal, I can better acknowledge and appreciate your strength and support. I’m so very grateful for you. Thank you for loving me. Thank you for being brave and vulnerable and kind. Thank you for creating this life with me. Thank you for being my friend and my lover. I love you. I hope I have brought as much richness into your life as you have brought to mine.
“By and by…Love becomes not a relationship, it becomes a state of your being.
Not that you are in love,…now you are love.”