One year and counting...
Updated: May 3
It’s been just over a year since we walked down the aisle and said “I do.”
There are so many things I remember from my wedding day. I remember waking up early to finish my vows and feeling a small earthquake.I remember eating strawberries and waffles with my sister and spending some peaceful time with my bridesmaids in the morning. I remember getting my hair and makeup done while my bridesmaids got ready and hearing them talk and laugh and thinking that things were just as they were meant to be.
I am happiest when I’m sitting quietly in a corner… still a part of things, but mostly observing the life and love of those around me.
I remember heading to the venue with my mom while we listened to a wedding playlist that she carefully curated for the drive. When we got to our venue, I was quickly led away into the bridal suite and the photographer and videographer were standing there waiting for us.
I remember pacing in the bridal suite, alone, while everyone I loved walked down the aisle first. It was just me, my bouquet and God. And boy, was I nervous. When the wedding coordinator came to get me it all seemed to fly by so quickly. The door to the ceremony was not where I thought it was and before I could take a breath it was opened. I was ushered out and my dad was standing there and he looked at me and mouthed “wow.”
Everyone was staring at me and I found the only two eyes that could center me in that moment. James was standing at the end of the aisle looking as handsome as ever with his jet black tuxedo, his hair slicked to the right and his head tilted to one side. I was not prepared for the amount of emotion that flooded me. I had this feeling that every piece of my life until now led me to that moment. That walking down the aisle toward this man was exactly where I was supposed to be.
The amount of joy I had when his eyes met mine threatened to break me with uncontrollable sobs. But, I couldn’t ruin my makeup – so I held it in as much as I could until I broke out into a wide uncontrollable smile.
When we reached the end of the aisle, James took my hand, and I was home.
The amount of times that James and I talk about how we first met is kind of ridiculous. We recount the story like detectives. With each new telling, more details are revealed about how we felt, what we were thinking and what exactly led us to meet at Dripp Coffee on a spring day.
Still looking back, the whole thing was surreal. I recently read one of my journal entries after our third date and I said that it felt like James and I had always known each other. We just got each other. It was easy. And, it was the first time both of us had felt that way about someone.
There isn’t a doubt in our minds that God brought us together that day, but the true miracle was that we didn’t let fear write our story after that serendipitous meeting. There are so many different directions that encounter could have led us to. There are so many different paths we could have chosen.
When James’ eyes met mine and he said “You look familiar,” I could have very easily made a quick reply and ended the conversation. That would have been in line with my usual M.O. at coffee shops, but there was something about James that made me engage. I welcomed the conversation, and he did, too.
Before leaving, I asked James where I could see the video he was working on. He could have shared his YouTube channel with me, and that would have been the end. Instead, he gave me his number and asked me to text him.
At every crossroad, we kept saying yes.
When we just started dating, James gave me a book by Stephen Covey called the “7 Habits of Highly Effective People.” The premise of most of Stephen Covey’s work is that life doesn’t just happen to us. We have choices and our lives are the sum of those choices.
According to Covey’s research, there is a space that exists between stimulus and response that our power to choose exists within. The strength of our power to choose depends on whether we acknowledge that the space exists and our commitment to expanding it, so that the choices we make are more thoughtful, focussed and truly reflective of the kind of people we desire to be.
This is a powerful concept, and one that I’ve been continuing to grow in.
I can’t help but think that my relationship with James was built within this space. When things were hard or scary, we both, often separately, acknowledged this space and decided to choose one another.
When I was single, I used to think it was a miracle that two imperfect people in this world were able to work through their issues enough to be together. There were so many opportunities for things to go wrong. So many paths the relationship could take. We often talk about love and marriage as if it’s an accepted outcome or a given, and I wasn’t so sure that was the case.
Having finally experienced it for myself, I still think it is a miracle.
I think that’s part of the mystery of love. The inexplicable reality of our power to choose and that we are two imperfect people that have decided to choose each other.
Hurt and pain within relationships is inevitable, and it will come at us from every quarter in life. It’s what we do with that hurt that defines our future. The commitment to choose one another and get back up again is all together human and unworldly.
A friend recently asked James and I if what they say is true – if the first year is the hardest. We replied honestly that we hope it is. It’s not that it’s been overly difficult… it’s just that it’s only the beginning and we hope our marriage keeps getting better.
We have no idea how this year will compare to our future ones. All we know is that it would be incredibly dreary to peak at year one, and we don’t have any intention to.
As believers, both James and I feel that this is something that we do not have to do alone. We believe in a God who saves and walks through the fire with us and equips us with the kind of grace that we alone would never be able to generate.
We believe in a God who gave us the space between stimulus and response – and within that space is where the miracle happens. It’s within that space that my relationship with James began and continues to grow.
Over a lifetime together, we get to decide how much of the miracle we experience – and it begins with our willingness to acknowledge that we have the power to choose.