TJ and I celebrated our 14th anniversary last Wednesday. No, fourteen years is not going to break the record for having the longest marriage, and it's not considered a "milestone" year in any way. But, to me it's significant because we have worked really hard to make our marriage last. Not just last, but honor God and be a good example for our children in the process.
When we married, I was 20 years old. I had never met his family, and he had only met my family once. We had our families' blessings to get married, but it didn't come without many, many warnings of "Don't you think you're too young?" and "Don't you think you should wait a little while longer?"
Speaking only for myself, I knew TJ was "the one" for me before we started dating. No, it was not "love at first sight" or anything like that. In fact, it was quite the opposite. TJ and I worked together while in the Air Force. He asked me out several times and I always declined. I had recently broken up with a long-term boyfriend from back home (in Ohio) and simply didn't want to jump into another relationship. But, the more we worked together and I got to know him, the more I enjoyed being with him. I knew he was "the one" when he deployed for short trip (gone approximately a week). I missed not working with him! When he got back, I told him I missed him and he asked me out to dinner and a movie. I accepted, and that was the start of our dating relationship.
We dated for about 15 months before we married. When we did get married, it was like something out of a movie. Notice I didn't say fairytale. =) We drove to Reno, NV and got married at "The Chapel of Love" wedding chapel. We had our closest friends from the Air Force with us, and we spent 2 nights in Reno. We enjoyed celebrating the 4th of July watching fireworks on the rooftop of our hotel (Circus Circus- Cirque De Solei performs out of there), along with a performance of "Riverdance" the other night. It was a fun, memorable time for sure!
Our marriage is nothing extraordinary, but like I said, we do try to glorify God through it. That means lots of overlooking offenses (in love), lots of taking time to put each other first, and lots of seeking forgiveness as neither of us is perfect (shocking, I know!).
TJ brought me a dozen roses for our anniversary this year. Perhaps to some, this is not enough. And, at one point in time, it might not have been for me, either. But, over the years I've been married, I've learned a lot along the way. One is that he thinks about me in many unusual ways, and that makes me feel loved. For instance, users often bring in baked goods as a way to thank him or one of his employees for their help in solving a computer problem. Many times TJ will not eat something and instead bring it home just for me if he knows I really like it (brownies, for example). Another thing I've learned is that I would rather him "spoil" me in the everyday of our lives rather than once a year. He helps me out so much with the kids in ways that many other husbands don't: he bathes the kids while I clean up from dinner, he takes them to run errands on the weekends to give me a little break, we put the kids to bed together, etc.
Our marriage isn't perfect, but it is "real" and it is founded on God's design and plan for marriage. As we both work to perfect our roles as husband and wife, we grow closer to each other and in our walk with the Lord. What more could I ask for?