A decade ago, this undeserving soul married the most, well… It would be impossible to capture her in a simple string of adjectives, so I will attempt to weave a tapestry of words that somehow embodies the picture of the woman that agreed to marry this most terrible wretch years ago. I am almost certain that she will read this and immediately be drawn to all of my incorrectly placed commas, even so.
“The color red” is the name of a poem that I wrote back when I took my first college English class. In the poem I attempted to capture my adoration of Ashley, my wife, with apparent success. This was really the first time I had ever written anything of any sort of significance. I turned in the “assignment” and was given a symphony of praises by my otherwise relatively quiet online professor at Ashford. She seemed to find something in what I had written praiseworthy, and obviously I was elated at the idea of someone actually enjoying what I had written. I sat down and tried to understand what it was that deserved such praise. Now as i think back and consider it, I don’t think it was the quality of the writing but the subject of the work coming to life. Ashley. As I consider her all again on this anniversary I am left with one real emotion, thankfulness.
I am thankful for this woman, more thankful for her than anything else in the world. My thankfulness brings with it echoes of love and joy, that I wish more than anything I could always maintain. Somewhere in between significant benchmarks of marriage however, those echoes become quieter and sometimes non-existent. We forget how much we love each other as we get tangled up in the endless knot that is life. Sometimes I forget about everything except for the stupid knot that needs untangling. What a fickle human I am. Though in the end, it is always her unyielding loyalty and absolute love that bring me back to this place. Her forgiveness and kindness that is unmerited bring me to my knees, sometimes literally.
God. He is the glue that binds our marriage. He is the one that gives and leads to forgiveness. He is the one that brings resolute commitment. He is the one that sustains when I simply cannot (and is really the sustainer when I can). He is both the road to love and the fountain of limitless love at the end of the road. He has kept us together when the world and “things” would have us apart. Something just outside our field of view holding our marriage in the palm of His hands and yet there is a sense of Him being tangible at times. He brings significance that has the power to bind two souls in this life. We glorify Him in our union. (Or at least we try).
She has endured all tests even when normal people would eject. She has stood resolutely by my side even when I am called away for long periods of time. I would imagine that of the decade that we have been married, we have probably spent the good part of two years (maybe more) apart. All that time? She stands firm. I know that when I come home she will be there ready as ever to greet me. She is the most extravagant gift I could ever receive… Though loyalty is only one of her many brilliant qualities. She has been my rock when I needed her. She keeps me going when I think I can’t. She reminds me of who I am and she pushed me to succeed. She gave up her own path to follow me into the Air Force, and for that I will be forever grateful. She pushes me to be a great NCO and reminds me that people matter. She finds joy, and makes it contagious. I could go on… and on.
I love you with everything in me. I am so very humbled and thankful to have you as my co-pilot in life. I have watched you grow into the wonderful, powerful, fear inspiring (at times), respectable, honorable, Godly, humble, prayerful, motivating, inspiring wife that you are today. I have no words that can give meaning to the way that I feel about you. I know that you know, though and that is precisely enough for me. I promise you this, over the next decade that I will spend with you (hopefully a few decades Lord willing). That you can expect maddening frustration at your imbecile husband, hilarious conversation, joy, pain, love, affection, comfort, discomfort at me purposefully trying to embarass you… I promise you these things and more, not all good things mind you but I know that you will have me anyways. Because I know that you love me too… I love you until my heart no longer has the capacity to pump blood through my veins; even then, off into the realm of limitless eternity I expect that I will still love you.