Friday, April 30, 2010

20 years...

I'll be the first to admit this last year has held more than it's share of challenges. One of the biggest challenges has been a gradual, painful retooling of our marriage. Next week is our 20th anniversary so I'm going to take the opportunity to publicly brag on my husband. We are both very wounded people and often hurt each other in our pain, but he has done some pretty amazing things through the years.

We married in our (very) early 20's while both of us were in college. Soon after we married, we decided to return to Gainesville for me to finish my undergrad. We knew this would be a sacrifice for him (he hated it there) but didn't realize that he wouldn't find a job in his career for the nearly 3 years we were there. He gladly put aside his career to bring out the best in my career, and has supported me professionally throughout our marriage.

When we moved to West Virginia for my graduate school, the Lord blessed him with a job quickly and ultimately provided him with friends and a new career he still loves to this day. During that time, I became increasingly depressed--I was sleeping 16 hours a day by the time I got help--and though we were both understandably puzzled, he stood by me and supported me even when I couldn't get the laundry finished. He loved me patiently through medications and their side effects and supported my need to move back home to sunnier skies.

Again, the Lord blessed him with a job here in Orlando, close to family, in his own company, doing the same thing he had done in WV. We lived with his family for 6 months while our house was being finished and he was very kind and supportive during that tense time. Our careers settled into dependability, and we started to try to have children. It took 9 months to get pregnant and 3 years to have a baby. Our losses were more painful for him even than me. When PJ was finally born, he acquiesced to my desire to stay home with him and supported me through an unbelievably difficult labor, delivery and a nightmarish week afterward.

We were both delighted with our new son and the Lord sent me back to work from home a few months after he was born. As I was carrying Katie, he was very protective of me, sheltering me as much as I would allow. When a child very near our neighborhood was molested in his own home, he set himself to looking for a new home for us. When Katie was born and we were shocked by her diagnosis, his concerns centered around our long term health and prosperity, even offering to forgo our plans to move. When we did move, he had to handle the entire move nearly single-handedly.

To this day, we have a home that is warm and welcoming, even though John is a very private person. I am working nearly full time with his constant support and our children are doing quite well in light of some fairly serious difficulties. We have more than enough to overflow to generosity and I never have to get out of the car in the rain. He is again active in service at church and is admired as a spiritual leader in his workplace. All this, in spite of nearly debilitating back pain. He is a good man who does everything in his power to make our lives as comfortable as possible.

There are many things we are learning to do better and is willing to try even when it is difficult.

Happy anniversary, handsome...