So, the story goes, a happily single girl returned home from Romania to finish out her senior year of college and return to an unmarried (potentially) life of servanthood overseas.
But then, there was this guy.
Twelve years, lots of late nights in Weymouth, one wedding, five countries, a dozen islands, three cruises, four babies, two losses, one shoebox apartment, one shoebox condo, one shoebox house, five or six cars (one stolen and recovered, still running, two blocks away), three cats, three degrees, multiple job promotions, one national publication, one crushing job loss, one stumbled upon and blessed business venture – and here I am, ten years of marriage later, with this guy.
This guy who won me over with a Scooby Doo pillow and Hudson Hawk and hands that shook with nerves when I asked for a shoulder rub. This guy who simply held my hand and it was enough to keep me grounded, to keep me here, to change everything I thought I wanted out of life.
Everything that I thought I wanted, turned out to be not what I needed, and my world-to-be was right there in front of me, beside me, holding my hand.
And so, in honor of our ten years, here is a handful of things I have learned:
1. 99% of the time, Vinnie is right. This does not mean that 99% of the time, I am wrong, just that, more often than not, especially in circumstances when either logic or driving directions are involved, Vinnie knows best.
2. If you have a competition to see who can hold out longest on doing the dishes, you will use paper plates (and have counters and a kitchen that are uninhabitable.)
3. Having children will make life a thousand times more complicated and a million times more wonderful, hilarious and worthwhile.
4. The person you love, the person who loves you, will hurt you.
5. If you are able to allow them to, they will also help you heal and you will be closer because of it.
6. Marrying a Godly man was important to me when we said our vows, because I wanted someone who shared in my faith and understood my heart. Having children will make this eminently more important. (And nothing will melt your heart more than listening to the father of your children pray with them.)
7. Talking about things, (even ugly, uncomfortable, heart-breaking things) is important.
9. Forgive, even when you are wounded. Kiss goodnight, even when you are angry.
10. To quote Brooke Fraser, I know that I’m filled to be emptied again, my God is a God who provides. I realize that I am writing this from a time of plenty, when my marriage is good and my life is full. If I have learned anything over this past decade it is that life is not certain or secure, but that God is. I thank him for ten years of marriage with Vinnie and I pray for the next ten and beyond.
I don’t remember too much of what was said in the toasts at our wedding, but I remember one line, spoken by one groomsman. He made the remark that we were hospitable and that walking into our place (or to something being hosted by the two of us at my apartment, as it were), was like being home.
To this day, I am thankful for his words and I am thankful for the home that I have with Vinnie and that others feel welcome, because they are. You are, come on over. I make a good pizza.
Our lives are richer and fuller thanks to the friends we have who surrounded us from our wedding day, to this one. We have been abundantly blessed with friendship and I think it has made a world of difference in our marriage. (Cue set of snapshots of wedding and friendship…some have notes if you move the pointer over them.)
(And end gratuitous display of disposable camera photos from my wedding.)
So, the story goes, there once was a happily single girl who had the world waiting for her, only to meet this adorable guy who was too nervous to give her a back rub. But then, the life they built together was beyond whatever she could have imagined at twenty-two when they first made their vows and committed every day to one another, as friends, as confidants, as husband and wife.
Ten years of marriage and there is no what if left in my heart. It never crosses my mind to wonder what would have happened, what could have become, had only our paths not met.
All that remains is comfort, happiness, hope and love.
And the greatest of these, is love.