When love needs to be shouted from the rooftops
Sometimes it’s important to express love publicly.
It’s one thing to tell your lover that you love them, it is another to tell the whole world about your love for your lover.
Admittedly I probably should have written this on Valentine’s Day. But I’m not that organised. And expressions of love should never be limited to one day of the year anyway! (That’s my excuse, and I’m sticking to it.)
So, this is simply me wanting to let the world know that I think Rachel Radford is wonderful and that I love her. We’ve been married for eleven and a half years now and I am so grateful to have her in my life.
Because of Rachel, I am a better person. A happier person. A more fulfilled person.
Together we have travelled the world, been through highs and lows, embarked on the adventure of having a family, and so much more.
We do life together. All of it: the exciting and the mundane.
And despite all our imperfections—more mine than hers—we keep choosing to love and to cherish one another.
Some people consider marriage the end of freedom, but nothing could be further from the truth.
Freedom inside of a marriage is different from the freedom of a single person, but it is a rich, full, and powerful freedom none-the-less.
It is the freedom to be myself.
And to know that I am loved unconditionally for who I am.
Doing life with Rachel is so, so, so much better than doing it alone.
As some of you will know, the last few years have been pretty tough. Eloise, our eldest daughter, was diagnosed with 22q11 Deletion Syndrome and Rachel was diagnosed with Graves’ disease.
And, to top it off, 2016 has been a real challenge as Rachel got shingles and was then hit with post-shingles fatigue that has wiped her out and left her unable to work.
It’s at times like these that true love shines through.
You realise you would do anything for them.
Even though Rachel feels like she is being a drain and I’m carrying everything right now, it doesn’t feel like that at all from my side.
Truthfully, I only wish I could do more. And also, I know that at some point in the future, I’ll be the one receiving that love and support.
Seeing Rachel cope with all her health challenges has been a real inspiration.
She has her ups and downs, but she has never given up. She refuses to remain in negative thoughts for too long.
She works hard to give her best for our girls who don’t fully understand why Mummy can’t do much at the moment.
She’s even managed to learn to stop saying Yes to every social or serving opportunity that comes her way! 😉
It may seem odd to say it, but going through all that we’ve gone through these last few years — and especially these last few months — has made me realise new depths to my love for Rachel.
Like any relationship, we have our ups and downs.
We make mistakes.
We treat each other poorly sometimes.
We don’t always respect each other as we deserve.
We take each other for granted.
We forget to say ‘thank you’.
We don’t give each other our best time or attention.
We stop making enough time to communicate well.
We let sex become too infrequent.
We allow grudges to build up…
But what I love about our relationship is that through it all, we never give up. We never throw in the towel.
We forgive each other. We choose to let our love cover a multitude of sins. We choose to keep building a life together.
We choose to carry on learning how to love each other better; to keep growing as people, and become a stronger couple.
And we both understand that that happens only by choice and not by chance.
I am so grateful to have found a partner in Rachel who isn’t content with a status quo marriage. Someone who will keep fighting for what we’ve got even when times are tough.
Because what we have together is worth fighting for.
I love what we have together more than I ever thought possible. And I love Rachel more than ever.
Love doesn’t run out or dry up. Love grows and expands.
On our wedding day, it was hard to imagine ever being able to love Rachel more than I did in that moment. But that really was just the beginning.
And even now, eleven years on, I realise I am still so far from discovering all that there is to know about Rachel.
This much I do already know, though:
Rachel is kind and compassionate, fun and energising, brave and strong, intelligent and inspiring, beautiful and sexy.
And I’m a lucky guy.