Eighteen years ago, I put a ring on my wife’s finger and made her my wife. It was the first mistake I’d make as her husband, but certainly not the last. And she’s been there with me for eighteen years since accepting my challenges, loving me, and being my best friend.
A mistake, you ask? Well, yes. We’d gotten to the ring part of the wedding ceremony and with the ring in my hand and the words of the pastor swirling in my head, I reached for Jenni’s hand. Her right hand. As in the wrong hand. And she was pulling her right hand back.
I think–because after eighteen years, some of the specifics of that day are a little hazy–there was a brief moment when I wondered to myself what she was trying to do here. But then, somehow, probably at her urging, I figured it out and finally grabbed the left hand. The right hand. The correct hand.
Eighteen years later, we’ll still laugh about that. I’ll still feel a twinge of embarrassment about it. But that day and that mistake was just the start of a long, wonderful time together as husband and wife.
Sure, there have been good times and bad. But probably, when it’s all said and done, I don’t know that I’d change a thing about our life together because without the bad times, we’d never have learned things about life and our relationship. And without the good times, we probably wouldn’t have our kids or each other or the remarkably happy life that we do have together.
I said it in my vows and it continues to hold true: Jenni is my best friend, my wife, and my lover. She’s the one I look forward to seeing and talking to every day about the good and bad of my day. She’s the one I enjoy telling my awful jokes to. She’s the one who I love to make smile.
And she was the one who brought three other people who I look forward to seeing and talking to every single day. And I love being silly and sharing things with Patrick, Hannah and Zoe just as much as I do with Jenni.
I’ve been told a few times by a few different people over the last eighteen-plus years that marriage and relationships are a constantly changing thing. One of those people jokingly told me to always remember those two little words–Yes, Dear–but then he put it into a completely brilliant context: change and keep up with your life together and what kids and money and all other factors bring into it, but always be true to yourself and your role in your marriage.
I’m always here for Jenni, sometimes not how she wants–I try to want to fix things too much instead of just listening–and she’s always there for me. And the best part about it is that I think both of us just know that and it makes things that much easier.
So to Jenni: Thank you for being a truly amazing, wonderful, loving wife for eighteen years. Thank you for helping me realize that we can accomplish anything we put our minds and efforts to. Thank you for being a great mother to our children. Thank you for going out of your way to show your love for me. And thank you for being the person you are–good and maybe not as good–the person I’ve been in love with this whole time.
And thank you for getting me straightened out on that whole hand thing.
I love you!
To those of you out there reading this today, so many years later, thanks for still being a part of our lives.
See you later.