For those who don’t know the story, I was sick on our wedding day….extremely sick. I had strep throat, pink eye, a high fever, and could barely take a step without wincing. I was advised not to wear makeup and that I should not kiss anyone, for fear of spreading germs. Sounds like a brides nightmare, right? I didn’t feel beautiful as I got ready…I didn’t bustle around worrying about every little perfect detail. To be honest, I wanted to call the whole thing off and climb back into bed. I was devastated that this magical day I had dreamt about for so long had been taken away from me. And yet as I changed into my dress and counted down the minutes, I felt something that lifted my spirits more than any medicine could. Butterflies. The kind of butterflies you feel when you’re 16 and experiencing real love for the first time. Or in the beginning of a relationship, when everything is new and you can’t stop yourself from smiling. I felt excitement. I felt bliss. I felt…complete. I knew that no matter what, it was going to be one of the best days of my life. I was marrying my best friend and NOTHING would take that happiness from me. As we took our place to start our ceremony, I stood in front of my (almost) husband and he told me for the 100th time how gorgeous I was. I’m still convinced he was lying. He looked at me the way he has for 5 years…like I’m the only person his eyes can see. And as we said “I do” and kissed as man and wife (germs and all!), I smiled with tears in my eyes because I felt not just beautiful, but RADIANT. Every ache and pain disappeared, and all I could feel was elation. But that’s Shawn…making me feel like I can fly with broken wings, and being there to catch me if I fall. We started off our first days of being newlyweds by him nursing me back to health and reassuring me that we’d get through it…and we did. We always do. That’s what marriage is. Every moment isn’t a real life fairy tale. Things don’t always go the way you planned. It’s an obstacle course. It’s hard work, it’s struggles. It’s ups and downs. It’s bad luck at the worst possible times. It’s making tough decisions with completely opposite viewpoints. It’s fights about small things that don’t matter, and saying you’re sorry even when you think you’re right. It’s crappy days and long nights. And through it all, it’s teamwork. It’s standing next to the person you chose for life, taking their hand and saying “we’re in this together. let’s do it.” That’s what it’s all about. And when I look back on July 31st, 2015, I won’t remember how high my fever was (104, but who knows?) or how terrible I felt. I’ll remember that the weather was perfect and that we were surrounded by our family. I’ll remember the way he looked at me with tears rolling down his face, and that love saved the day.
With these unfortunate circumstances on our big day, we were unable to recite our personal vows to one another. I had so much to say, and now after taking on our first year of marriage together (and rocking it!) I think it’s about time I finally got to share mine. Since the 1st wedding anniversary present is paper, I decided to write my long overdue vows on the pages of my journal…the same journal my boyfriend bought me way back when, for our first Christmas together. Adds a romantical touch, no?
WARNING: Do not read if you’re easily nauseated.
A love letter to my souls counterpart:
When we first became friends…what now seems like a million years ago…we used to play what we called “the truth game.” We’d take turns asking each other questions and we would spend hours going back and forth, dishing out our biggest secrets. It could range anywhere from “what’s your favorite color?” to “what’s your biggest fear in life?” and there was only one rule…you had to tell the truth no matter what. I think it was in those moments of brutal honesty, where you opened up to me and revealed your soul, that I fell in love with you. So, let’s play a game…I’ll go first. Only this time, I don’t need you to ask me anything. You’ve given me all the answers I need.
Truth: When you met me, I was lost. I was still trying to find myself and figure out what I wanted from life. I was in a dark place, searching for the answers with no end in sight. And then just like that, there you were. Unexpected, unplanned, but everything I had ever wanted. You grabbed my hand and heart, and you led me out of the dark and into the light. You pulled me into your world, full of love and warmth. You embraced me with protecting arms and promised that no matter what, you’d keep me safe from harm. You taught me how to trust again, how to laugh again, and how to be the person I had been trying so desperately to rediscover. You saved my life. I could thank you every day until the end of time, but I know it will never be enough. I could praise you for how wonderful you are and how much you’ve done for me…and I’m sure you wouldn’t complain…but today, I want to thank you for who you’ve made ME.
In all of our years together, you’ve helped me to find this unbelievable inner peace within myself. You remind me that I can do anything I set my mind to, not because I have you, but because you believe in me enough to do so. You like to take care of me, but support me enough to be independent and take care of myself as well. You encourage me as a wife and a mother, but most importantly, as a woman. You remind me that I am strong. I am capable. I am beautiful. I am special. I am worthy. I am loved.
I vow to hold you up when you’re weak, and to cheer you on through all of your strengths.
I vow to stand with you when life gets us down, and to embrace life’s joyous moments as they come.
I vow to be your confidante, and to keep your secrets safe and close to my heart.
I vow to always believe in you, and to believe in us.
I vow to never go to sleep angry.
I vow to return every sweet gesture, loving word, and kind smile.
I vow to always split the last brownie with you from the middle of the pan.
I vow that first and formost, I will always be your friend.
I vow to never give up.
Today, and every day going forward, I promise you my devotion, my honesty, my patience, and my understanding.
I love you, unconditionally.
I look around at the life we’ve created together and it fills my heart with more joy than I could ever put into words. The kind of life we wished for and built side by side, watching our dreams unfold as we went. We have the most beautiful family, and the happiest home I could ever imagine. Thank you. You gave me a forever. For that, I couldn’t be more blessed….and that’s the truth.
Mrs. Harrison xoxo
So, how’d ya do? Throw up yet?!? I almost did. Imagine actually FEELING that way? If you’re lucky enough, you have before or do right now. You’d think I’d burst into flames on a daily basis! That’s us though, what can I say? People are always commenting on our relationship and how perfect we are together. I might be biased, but I’d like to think that’s true! And I always have the same response for them – if they didn’t marry their best friend, they’re doing it wrong. We’re only one year in, but ask me again in 50 years and I bet you I’ll be saying the same thing….with this same ring on my finger.
Oh, and if you’re still out looking…..stop. There is someone out there for everyone and the second you stop searching, they’ll appear when you need them most. It happened for me. Your perfect person is on their way, and they’re getting here as fast as they can.
…..now excuse me while I go nag my husband with questions and fart on his pillow.