I love you more today than I could have dreamed when I met you on a small island that fall, surrounded by turquoise water and warm breezes. We played board games and told jokes and bought random candy at the little store across the street and it felt like we’d known each other for years, not hours.
I love you more than when a dozen roses showed up at the front door and I couldn’t help blushing bright red because “just friends” don’t do those kinds of things.
I love you more than when we met again in an airport at Christmastime and we were like a couple of tongue-tied kids meeting a stranger .You only talked to my family and barely looked at me the whole rest of the day.
I love you more now than when you said I looked adorable, the first compliment you ever paid me in words. I floated on a cloud when I went to sleep that night.
I love you more than the first time we said those three words to each other and I thrilled head to toe. We said them many times over every phone call we had after that.
I love you more than when I was singing lullabies to my last few darlings still awake during their afternoon nap on a South African winter day far away from you. Another girl came in, saying I had to see something and I wondered what it could be that couldn’t wait. I got a gorgeous basket of flowers from you that day and told the story of us a dozen times over.
I love you more today than on those days of misadventure when you were just trying to get on one knee and ask me to spend life together as your wife [and I was swallowing a bite of cheesecake as I said yes]
I told you the other day that my personality would be compatible with just about anybody but you had to have someone like me. We laughed and there was truth in it, but the truth is I need you too. Truth is you grow me in a thousand more ways than if we just got along comfortably. And God knew it. Maybe there isn’t just one person in the world a person could love and be happy with, but I know that God chose you for me forever.
On our anniversary you asked if marriage gets better after the first year. I smiled and said that I hope so. But in my head I wondered too, has it really been so bad? Because when you smile at me and hold my hand, all the fights and hurt and anger and the times we just can’t understand one another, those things don’t matter. I can see them making us closer by God’s redemptive plan.
Our story has been one of redemption from the start, of failures and habits and walls of distrust, of mercy and grace and beautification. Still He’s restoring the years eaten away by sin and the now moments of sarcasm and impatience, the harsh words that leave our lips unguided by His grace. Every time we talk it through and we both really share and stop to listen, a wall goes down. We know each other more; we took a step along His path, more together.
Our romance isn’t always like the movies, but I see your love when you come with me every time to the grocery store and push my cart, or listen to my girl talk when there’s no one else to hear it, or take me to a concert even though you’re tired. I see it when you work hard every day to provide, surprise me with a trip to Starbucks, or take our dog out for me because you know I’m just tired.
I loved you so soon after we first met and through everything life has brought along. But I don’t love you only for what we’ve shared or the things you do. I love you-who you are, who you’ve been, the person God is making you. I love you in your mistakes and successes. And everyday you become another reason for me to thank God, a daily gift for all our life together.
I love you...then and now and always.