April 19, 2007
April 19, 2016

I know that probably everyone thinks their love story is the best. I can't take that away from anyone, because to you, yours is. That is convenient since I think ours is the best.

We have gone through so much during our relationship. I met my husband 14 years ago. We started dating almost 12 years ago. It took us longer to get married, although I think we were talking about marriage and children almost immediately. Andy is the great love of my life. There were times when I hated him, but loved him so much I couldn't stand to be away from him, I would rather hate him and be with him than be without him totally. There were times where I couldn't remember for the life of me what his face looked like because he had been gone for so long. There were also times when I cried myself to sleep because I felt like my heart couldn't go another day without him next to me and we had no idea when that day would come.

Gosh, my throat has a lump in it just now, typing that. I'm so glad those days are over. The long distance days.

When Andy and I got married, we had only been together in person for about 28 days. When Andy decided to propose, the longest time we had spent together at once was 10 days. 

After we got married, life was crazy. Andy was gone for 60 days, home for 28 days, for about a year. Then it was 90/28. Then it was 100-something/28. We did that for six years. Can you imagine being a newlywed and being alone most of the time? How about being a newlywed, being alone, in a town you don't particularly like, all alone with no family? It sucked. Those days were so hard. 

Andy and I haven't had a perfect relationship. There were, for a long time, more hard and bad times than good easy ones. Luckily after some of those hard times we decided to go to church and work at having a Christ-centered marriage. However, just because you know and love Jesus doesn't mean life suddenly gets easy. Marriage is a load of hard work.

Good times come and go, ebb and flow like the tide of the ocean. We had some great times for a while. We had Mexico. We had Europe. We had tiny stolen chunks of time between deployments. Then his work schedule became six months/28 days.. 8 months and we weren't sure when he was coming home. We had another child and she had no idea who he was. Finally after being gone 14 months with only a 28 day break in between.. that life was over. He came home. He took 6 months off work totally and we moved to my home town to be near my family. We grew, we struggled, we fought, we came through, we made it.

That sounds like a lot of bad. It was and it wasn't. But it was necessary, and worth it. Most relationships don't survive that much distance.

Yesterday I was standing over the sink, washing wine glasses from our church small connections group, Vino League. Andy was outside in the back yard, doing yard work. Raking and bagging leaves so we can mulch and plant flowers near our azalea bushes. As I was rinsing and drying the wine glasses, I felt an incredible, overwhelming surge of thankfulness. Of love. How lucky are we that we are doing these ordinary, normal household chores? How incredibly lucky are we that we can relax and enjoy these tasks, because when the day is over, we have the next day, and the next, and the next? There is no doomsday on the horizon, no lingering goodbye in the airport hovering near like death or heartbreak. Every single day for the rest of our lives, is a gift, because we get to spend them together. 

The last three years, Andy has had an oilfield job. It was hard work and he was traveling a lot, sometimes with only a couple of hours notice. That was inconvenient but it wasn't hard. We heard a lot of "I don't know how you do it!" but, compared to the six years he spent traveling back and forth to the middle east, stateside travel with short notice was easy peasy. Now he's home every single night, every single weekend, and its wonderful. 

Its hard sometimes. We're not used to being together so much. Oh, how it is so perfectly wonderfully normal though. You probably think I'm crazy. But I look at my husband, out the window, doing yard work... and I think this is the most perfect kind of love. We are finally, nine years into this marriage, getting to experience ordinary. I have to say it is the most incredible feeling.

Here's to another year. A first for us, being together every single day. May these ordinary days we're loving so much right now stay this way... full of appreciation, overflowing with content, waking up next to each other every morning. Andy, for you, I am so incredibly thankful. I could never love someone as much as I love you, I could never wait for anyone other than you, I would never want to experience this extraordinary love story with anyone else. You are the peanut butter to my jelly, my soul mate. Thank you for being my best friend.

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