Twelve years a…lucky man

Reflections on twelve years of marriage

Today our marriage turns twelve. It’s hard to fathom quite where all those years have gone. I don’t feel much older than the twenty six years old I was the day we both said I do. In some ways nothing has changed and yet in others everything has.

Marriage, like life, is never all smooth sailing. We’ve faced plenty of waves and rough seas through the years. Some beyond our control, others of our own making. But we’ve always stayed in the boat together and tackled whatever’s come our way hand-in-hand.

Love is more than a feeling. When we made our vows, we made a choice to love each other with a love that transcended whatever we may or may not feel on any given day. For better or worse, we said. And, truthfully, in amidst more than our fair share of better, there has been some worse along the way.

But, wonderfully, though the puppy-like enthusiastic feelings of initial love have evolved, there’s never been a time when loving Rachel has been hard work. There’ve been moments of frustration, anger, and disappointment along the way, but those feelings soon pass away, overwhelmed by the far larger ocean of boundless love.

This last year has been one of the most trying yet. Rachel has not been able to work all year due to getting shingles and then post viral fatigue. It’s put an inevitable strain of our whole family. It’s also made me appreciate all she does for me and the girls on a whole new level.

Watching someone you love struggle physical, emotionally, and mentally is heartbreaking. You would do anything to take it away. And yet, through it all, the way Rachel has faced everything this year has thrown at her has been inspiring.

She’s needed picking up a few times along the way, but she’s never given up, she kept going, she’s always found a way back back to positivity. I’m so proud of how she’s made her way through this. And delighted too that a corner has now been turned and she’s nearly back to full health.

Seeing Rachel handle this year has made me realise afresh how much I love her. When life is sunny and giving is mutual, love is easy. But Rachel hasn’t been able to give much this year. That has made me thankful for everything she has given so much more. It’s helped me see her with new eyes and be grateful for her in different ways.

It might be tempting to think that the mere fact I’m writing publicly like this makes me a good husband. But I’m acutely aware of my many shortcomings. I know I’m far from perfect and still all too often behave in selfish ways.

Marriage – and parenting for that matter – serves as a wonderful mirror, endlessly revealing, for better or worse, who we really are. Life is easy when it’s just you. But when life is intertwined with another we become exposed in whole new ways.

I’m still amazed, no matter the depth of my love for Rachel, at my capacity to make selfish choices. I’m equally amazed at Rachel’s endless grace and forgiveness when she deserves better from me.

All of this is to simply say: I’m a lucky man. I’m so thankful for the twelve years of marriage we’re shared. I’m grateful for who I’ve become in those years and I’m grateful for who we’ve become together in that time.

Here’s to many more years of sailing through whatever comes our way.

In Whitby earlier this year.

Rachel on our wedding day.

On honeymoon in South Africa.

To love and to cherish

Acquiring new tastes