Here is our engagement picture in 1996.
I loved this photo because we were so snugly and let's be honest...I chose it because it was the one where I thought I looked the best. Dan has always rolled his eyes at this picture, calling it the "crooked neck" picture. Mock me if you must, buddy, you're the one who was wearing lipstick.
This picture was taken in Fall 2007 and don't say anything about Dan's hair (or lack thereof.) You might hurt his fragile ego.
All kidding aside, I have been married for 12 years and I am still amazed at how much I love my husband. I was pretty young and immature when I got married and really had no concept of what deep and abiding love could be.
Here are some things I have learned in the last 12 years:
- I made a very wise choice when I married a man who knows how to fix cars.
- Commitment and loyalty are some of the finest qualities in a spouse.
- Love isn't about always feeling good or feeling like you're getting your needs met. It's about genuinely caring about the happiness of your spouse, above your sense of fairness or equal effort. My very favorite quote about marriage is from President Gordon B. Hinckley: “I have long felt that happiness in marriage is not so much a matter of romance as it is an anxious concern for the comfort and well-being of one’s companion.”
- Whether you want to admit it or not, your sex life is a pretty accurate indicator of the overall quality of your marriage. Not that you need to have the same libido, but you need to have a clear understanding and a healthy respect for what sex means to your spouse.
- Having children increases your love for your spouse exponentially.
- Having children molds your character and brings out your true nature. Sometimes that's good, and sometimes that's scary.
- A sense of humor is essential to making it through life's daily grind.
- Laughter can melt bitterness and resentment.
- You have to respect that your spouse thinks differently than you do; that their mind operates differently. And it's not just the difference between men and women. It's that we are all individual children of God, with distinct personalities and gifts. This is one of the hardest things to embrace. It took me a long time to learn that there was nothing wrong with the way Dan dealt with religion or spiritual things. In my immaturity, I assumed that my way was the "correct" way and since he wasn't like me, he must not have a strong testimony of the gospel. I couldn't have been more wrong.
- Men bear a tremendous burden, especially if you believe in the traditional family setup of father as the main breadwinner. Men deserve a HUGE amount of respect for the fact that their whole lives they will bear the burden of supporting their family. Now that Dan is done with graduate school, working full-time, and starting to bring in a salary to meet our needs, I can't tell you how much less pressure I feel. I still work and I still need to contribute a significant amount, but I feel so much relief and love in sharing the burden. And I feel so much pride in my man. Because Dan is filling this role, I find myself actually liking keeping the house clean, willingly ironing his shirts, feeling like cooking so Dan can have leftovers for his lunch the next day. It's a service I can render to him, the very least I can do to show how much I appreciate his efforts.
- Running a household is a lot of freakin' work and is worthy of society's respect.
- Being on the same page about finances is essential to peace at home. I was reading in the Bible today and came across a verse I loved in Amos 3:3 Can two walk together, except they be agreed? It totally made me think, "now that's some scripture that Dave Ramsey would quote." It is so comforting and gives me a great sense of security to be unified in our financial goals.
- Living on a tight budget isn't as hard as people make it out to be. Going without for a little while is totally worth the blessing of being able sleep at night, of falling asleep without worrying about overdraft fees, and of knowing that if we are persistent we will live a life of financial freedom in the future.
- It's awesome being married to a really intelligent guy. You wanna know something, ask Dan and he's probably read about it extensively. His science background and analytical thinking make many subjects, like religion, very interesting to discuss. And he's teaching Lily that if she's curious about something, just read, read, read. You can educate yourself about anything. Just ask Lily about the taxidermy video.
- A man who worries about being a good father is priceless.
- It's nice being married to a man who is secure enough to be OK with his wife spouting her opinions on the internet.
- Dr. Laura is right. Men are pretty simple. Meet their basic needs for respect and affection and you're pretty much set. One of my favorite quotes from her book The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands is from a man who said, "Men are simple. If I'm not horny, make me a sandwich."
- A good fart joke can rescue an otherwise lousy day.
Love you, Bin!
2007 photos by Camilynne Photography. 1996 photo by Smokey the Bear (the tripod and self-timer.)