Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Vows

This blog has been an outlet for my confusion, sadness, or frustration so many times. I'm so glad that I'm in a phase where I have positive things to write. Without a doubt, E and I owe our reconciliation to the Retrouvaille program. I recommend it with all my heart to anyone who is struggling in a marriage. We've learned so much since February.

It's amazing that two people who absolutely thought they were done can recommit themselves to making things work. It really is just amazing to me what you can do if you both choose to love. Amazing.

I know I still haven't really written yet about the day we shared with our family last Sunday. With E's permission, here are the words we wrote for each other: our vows. We wrote them independently and didn't share them with each other until that day. I'll let them speak for themselves.



{E's}

I remember a day just like today; a sunny, hot, spring day back in 1996 when you, my first girlfriend, dumped me in the parking lot [...] after school. It took a few months for the pain to fade, but things got better, life moved on, and by the end of our senior year we got back together and had a great summer. But then I moved away when college started in the fall. That was a tough year. So tough in fact, that I moved back home after freshman year so we could be together again. Fast forward 8 years and I’m moving out of the house again, staying in an apartment [...]. We only made it 2 months before I came home. Then last year we decided our marriage was over and I moved out for what I thought was the last time. And now we’re standing here today. The point is that I’m drawn to you. More than that, we’re drawn to each other. You are my true north, and I’m always led back to you when I get lost.

But that’s not enough. Even though we’re drawn together, we seem to inevitably move apart over time. We get back together, we make promises to each other, we reaffirm our love, and we make choices to better our relationship. But promises get broken or forgotten, commitments get pushed aside, and the choices we make are the wrong ones. I say sometimes that I’m inherently indecisive, but I think the truth is that I let decisions in my life be made for me. Sometimes that works, like when I can’t decide between Taco Bell and Carl’s Jr. But some choices, like where to go to college, what to major in, when to get married… I’ve learned that if I don’t make the big decisions, I can’t live with the results. You know how much I’ve struggled over the past few years with choosing my own path. You know how far I’ve come. I’m a better person today because I have chosen to stay home and raise our children, chosen to finish law school even though I wanted to quit every day, chosen to ride a Harley instead of a Suzuki…..

But the most important choice that I have made, and the reason that I’m here today, is the choice to love. I’ve wasted years of my life trying to figure out what love is, worrying that I lost it and trying to make myself feel it again. But once I was taught that love is not a feeling but a choice, everything clicked into place. Now we are drawn together again, and I am making the biggest decision of my life. Today, in front of our family and friends, I want you to know that I choose you for my wife, I choose to love you, and I will continue to make that choice every day for the rest of my life.



::hug, kiss, great rejoicing::



{mine}

I’m drawn to you and your wit, even when I’d like to pretend I’m immune. My life is you. Today I feel conscious, joyful, and most significantly, confident. I feel bolstered, supported by an ally in my walk. It is a warm glow in my chest and a firm hand at my back. I am free to stand or be held, lead or be a passenger, each in safety and support. This overwhelms me.

My relaxed confidence today is like that of a lizard, sunning on a rock. I want to drink in the warmth of your words, to store it up and let it nourish me through the inevitable cold. I’m safe; I can let go of defensiveness and craziness. This feeling is like a rich fuchsia, tinged by pain from circumstance and choices, but illuminated with the joy of shared life experiences. I know that I am half a partnership, and I know that partner is you. I want you to bear witness to my life: joy, pain, parenthood, grief, surprises and successes. Imperfections, stubbornness and all I have to give. You are the proof of the complete truth of me.

My confidence fills me like hearty tri tip on a summer day. It feels like warm earth beneath my bare feet, stable, solid, and vibrating with potential. If my confidence were a sound, it would be Addie’s laugh: a joyous release, free of worry about what anyone thinks. Reckless abandon, vetted in years of honest struggle… the paradox of freedom with assurance. This feeling transcends speech. At losses, births, mistakes, forgiveness--every milestone, we drop our shields and find each other. Silent confirmation, surpassing the ability of words. You hear me in one look.

So with this confidence, in spite of fears and struggles we’ll face ahead, with a true and honest understanding of what this means, I promise myself to you forever. For you, I’ll navigate life and freeways, but gift you the freedom to find—or make—your own path. I promise to call you back when you lose you way, and to stubbornly keep at this even in fear and frustration. I will honor you with my life. I give myself to you and our family without reservation; I won’t quit. I will be the eyes across the room that say “yes” and the one who just knows. I promise to choose love, trust, and forgiveness each day. All in. I choose you.



Photos by April

4 comments:

  1. Um, wow! Thanks for bringing me to tears today, but we all know that doesn't take much. I am just so happy for y'all and for your future together! May God bless you now and forever, amen and really! ;-)

    Love,
    Sarah R

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thank you for sharing your beautiful vows to one another with your public. Just like your last picture posted, I hope you hang on to one another for the rest of your lives.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Absolutely beautiful words. Thank you for sharing with such heartfelt honesty - blessings to both of you!

    ReplyDelete