Four Augusts ago, I walked down a grassy aisle, my eyes never wavering from the man with the blue eyes and the big heart and the contagious laugh. My pulse pounded with joy . . . and a healthy dose of fear. I had never said yes to something big, so unknown before.
Up to that point, I’d made some fairly significant decisions in my life. I’d accepted a job offer, I’d signed a mortgage, I’d joined a church. But if things went wrong and everything fell apart, those commitments could be undone. I could sell the house, quit the job, find a new church.
But this was different. This was forever—for as long as both shall live.
I didn’t know what lay ahead for us. We’d imagined together and planned together and dreamed about the future together, but there was no way to know what twists and turns were waiting down the road.
What would the next year hold? The next decade? The next however-many years God would grant us together? I wasn’t sure, but I knew this: whatever came, I wanted to embrace it by Daniel’s side.
I do. I will.
I might be the writer in the family, but Daniel is definitely the songwriter. Earlier this year he wrote a song called “Take That Picture,” and this line in the chorus makes me tear up every time:
These dreams, we made them up
And now they’re true
Four years into this marriage adventure, I see those words unfolding before my eyes, and in my heart. We’re starting to see the vows we made to each other on that dew-covered August morning sprout to life. We’re beginning to see our dreams take root in the soil of us—some of which we imagined and others we didn’t dare to hope for. And still others that are yet to bloom.
But dreams, we’re discovering, don’t just appear out of thin air. As my dad says, marriage is a miracle, but it’s one you work on.
Here’s what I know now that I didn’t quite grasp on my wedding day: Dreams aren’t fluffy wisps that simply materialize. They’re forged out of bricks and sweat and tears and laughter and the hard work of love.
A friend recently asked me for advice as she was weighing the pros and cons of a particular dating relationship. “There are some things about this guy that aren’t my mental image of the ‘ideal husband,’” she said. “Which things should I make sure change about him before I agree to take the relationship to the next level?”
I understood what she was getting at, and certainly there are nonnegotiables that should be weighed before making such a big commitment. But there was something backwards about that way of looking at things.
And so, as gently as I could, I said, “My sweet friend, you’re not saying yes to a package. You’re saying yes to a person.”
Getting married isn’t sealing in a particular set of circumstances and then crossing your fingers that certain things will never change—and that others will. It’s choosing that person. And then choosing them again, day after day, year after year.
Maybe an anniversary is a chance to step back and watch as the miracle of marriage, covered as it is in sweat and elbow grease, unfolds before our eyes.
So as we celebrate four years of the Daniel and Stephanie team, I want to thank Daniel for writing the words to this song. And I want to thank God for making them come true.