When little girls are young most of them dream about the kind of man they will marry, the man who will hold their hand forever, the man who will take them on dates, send flowers, and all the other stuff we watch on Hollywood screens since childhood. I didn’t dream much, not because I didn’t want to get married, I did, one day…. after I had accomplished my long to do list of dreams which included writing for a big publication, like Glamour (I was really into skin creams back then). I thought marriage was the kind of thing that other girls got to do, the sweet girls, the ones that wore lily Pulitzer and knew which side of the plate a fork went on (still can’t tell you). I figured marriage was for the girls who checked off the boxes of being great at organizing, looking divine when they wake up in the morning, and owned at least three monogrammed bags. Now I know this is all very 1950’s but in my tiny brain marriage was simply something for the good girls. Marriage was for the girls who hadn’t screwed up in high school, the girls who didn’t refer to centipedes as cinnomanpedes in their childhood, or butter a cat just to see what happened, the girls who had a grip on their emotions. Those kind of girls I expected to marry.
I was reminded often by my loving family that it would take quite a man to marry someone like me. They didn’t mean it in a bad way more in a, he might have to have actual access to Job to get advice on patience. They knew that it would take a very special individual to look at my Tasmanian devil type of ways and say, “this could be fun.” Because there are just a few realities you learn to accept about yourself as you grow and most of my realities made me a bit of a handful, fun in small doses but a bit much for forever… or so I thought.
Then I met Ben, luckily a few years into my redemption and six months into my no dating for a year pact with God. I wish I could tell you I waited the full six months before letting him take me out but I did wait one week which for someone like me feels like FOREVER (imagine the most dramatic 16 year old girl saying this). Although 5 years of marriage and almost two kids in I think God’s ok that we skipped ahead a bit.
I knew it would take a special man to be by my side but I never anticipated God would blow my expectations out of the water. See I had this past and I thought God reserved the “B list” for girls like me but then there was this man who wanted to marry me and he was so beyond what I was expecting. I remember waiting for it to implode, waiting for him to realize he could do better but he just kept loving me, through crazy family times, through moves and job changes, through depression, through more moves, through our first child and WOW crazy hormones, through almost a second pregnancy and again with the hormones, through a book that details a past most husbands would shudder to see on shelves, through good days bad days and the million in between. He’s my reminder that God gives great blessings not because we earn them but because he loves us. He reminds me that selfless love can be quiet in its pursuit and that when I serve other I will experience God the most. He cheers me on from front rows of hard talks and in the tears shed when life looks bleak, he champions me in the good and in the bad, and the best is in this crazy life he really believes in me.
Recently a girl asked me what my husband thought of me writing my book and I remembered this sweet conversation we had when I was about to sign the publishing deal. He had been struggling (as all men would) with the details, the pain, and what it would mean for it to be public but he came to me and said “If one girl has a different story because of this it will be worth it.” What a man.
Today is his birthday and I like to honor people with my words… there’s so much more I could say, so many more words that he deserves but for now I’ll leave it at this, I’m so glad it took a special kind of man to marry me, I would have missed out on so much with ordinary. So happy birthday to the most amazing man who loves me so amazingly well.