10th Anniversary and The Evolution of “I love you”

These past couple of days I’ve had the early years of my marriage to Laura on my mind. Today we celebrate a decade of marriage. I first told Laura I loved her a few weeks after we started dating. I know, fast right? Well, a month in we knew we were going to get married and had picked out an engagement ring.

Laura told me the first time I said that I loved her my hand was shaking. It was a very emotional and a very important milestone in our relationship. But the interesting thing is that now when I say those words to her there is a depth to them that simply wasn’t possible the first time I said them.

Today the words “I love you” carry with them the weight and history of a relationship that is over eleven years old and a marriage that now has ten years of experience under its belt. Those three words tell the story of a sweaty palmed 20 year old me telling the girl sitting on the couch I loved her during a long evening of night security at a dorm. It’s the story of getting stung by a wasp immediately after I proposed. It’s the story of showing off (just a little) on the nights Laura would come out to watch the Raisins play flag football. It’s the story of a wedding where we ran down the aisle and headlong into life together. It’s the story of a tiny $350/month first apartment and low paying jobs at Staples and Dillards. It’s the story of a move to Dallas to a shady apartment and a move the very next day to a lovely apartment. It’s the story of a go at Dallas Theological Seminary and a job at Southern Methodist University. It’s a trip to Fort Worth from Dallas on the train to see a Star Wars exhibit. It’s a move from one side of DFW to another so that I could be closer to school but left Laura a two hour commute from work. It’s enduring four long years of seminary. It’s the great friends who made those years amazing. It’s the heartbreak of infertility. Then the joy of two, soon to be three, boys. It’s the waiting for a job while Laura worked and I stayed home with our newborn. It’s the excitement of starting in the pastorate. It’s the heartbreak of being kicked out of the pastorate. It’s the long, hard months of waiting while I worked at Best Buy and we hoped the Army would pick us for Active Duty. It’s the joy and madness of packing up our lives and moving across the country to a brand new world. It’s living every day of the past eighteen months in thankful awe that God brought us to this place, the friends that we’ve made, and the memories we’ve created.

And those are just the things that come to mind right now.

Tonight I’m not sitting on a couch in an Oklahoma Baptist University dorm. I’m sitting on a couch in our home. We’re doing something romantic (watching the GOP debate). Our boys are in bed upstairs. My palms don’t get sweaty and my hands don’t shake when I tell Laura that I love her any more. But those words carry the weight of a decade with them now. I can’t wait to say them to her many more times over the next decade and it makes me smile to think about the weight they’ll carry after a lifetime together.

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