John 15:11-12 – (Jesus said,) “I’ve told you these things for a purpose: that my joy might be your joy, and your joy wholly mature. This is my command: Love one another the way I loved you. This is the very best way to love.”

Gratitude Day 771

The day began with a loud thunderstorm and lots of rain. The electricity went out in town and at the hockey arena that would later become our reception site. By 11 AM when I walked down the aisle and met my soon-to-be husband, the sun was shining, and the air was sticky. Just the way Hubby Rick likes it when we said “I do” to each other.

Twenty-two years ago yesterday, Hubby Rick and I said our “I do’s.” In those two-plus decades, at times, it feels like our wedding was just a few years ago. Other times, it feels like so much has happened. The moves. The job changes. All of our parents passing away. The experiences that put smiles on our faces along with the challenging days when we wondered if we would make it through.

Here we are. Making memories. Still holding hands. Still saying, “I do.”

“I do.” There is so much weight in those two little words. Two words that changed so much for me. Two words that encapsulate the love, commitment, and grace our relationship has required. “I do” is not for the faint of heart. When those words are taken seriously, they include patience, disappointment, heartbreak, and the necessary tolerance to keep a relationship going and going and going.

Is 22 years a long time? It depends. If you have been married 50+ years, no. If your relationship is an infant five years, yes. In all cases, another day or another year requires two people continuing to say “I do” each and every day.

Saying “I do” has come to mean lots of different things to me:

  • I do commit to love and respect Rick on every good day and every bad day.
  • I do expect to be disappointed in him, just as I know that I will let him down.
  • I do anticipate that we will not always agree. Always agreeing is not a requirement for a healthy marriage.  
  • I do believe that I will change over time, as has Hubby Rick.  
  • I do pray that our joint faith in God is what reminds us to keep saying “I do” over and over, day after day.

When one says, “I do,” we also say, “I won’t”:

  • I won’t only think of myself.
  • I won’t expect everything to be easy and smooth sailing.
  • I won’t demand more of my partner than I am willing to put in myself.
  • I won’t give just 50% of myself to this marriage but am committed to give 110% as often as I can.
  • I won’t give up, especially when the going gets tough. This is a long haul marriage.  

Did I understand all of this the day Hubby Rick and I were married? Maybe theoretically. Living an “I do” puts all of this into practice and perspective. Every day, I choose whether to continue living my vow of “I do.” The day either of us stops saying “I do” is the day we are in trouble.

Sometimes, people ask if I love Hubby Rick more today than I did on our wedding day. The love I have for him now is very different than what I experienced before marriage. My respect for him is much, much deeper. I appreciate his gifts and talents more with each passing day, as do so many others who benefit from his “mission projects.” Today, I am more aware of how he overlooks my shortcomings ever increasingly as the years click by. We continue to be very different people with often opposite ways of how we view life. Over time we have tried to appreciate our differences rather than letting them frustrate us. For me, love is all of this and so much more. My package of love grows and deepens as we experience more together as a couple. Shared experiences are irreplaceable when it comes to what holds us together.

While I valued the commitment that we made to each to other when we said, “I do,” only as time has passed has my appreciation for the breadth and depth of what those two words really mean has grown. Rick and I have literally said “I do” many, many times since our wedding day. On a day that feels exhausting and confusing, we remind each other that we have no option but to stay together. How reassuring it is to have a spouse that echoes this back to me especially when I need to hear it.

Everyone’s “I do” story is unique and different. Special and holy. One that each couple writes daily. The words at the beginning of this post were part of our wedding ceremony. We chose these words intentionally. We knew that we would not make it through one year of marriage without enlisting our Lord God to be part of our relationship. Our belief in this is even stronger today.

Our marriage is far from perfect. We struggle, we smile, and we pick up and keep going. Today, I will say, “I do” again to this husband of mine. This is us. This is our marriage. This is what we signed up for when we said, “I do.” Warts and all. Surprises and all. For as long as we are blessed with days together.

For the gift of marriage and the reminder of “I do,” I am very grateful.

Blessings –


Holy God – Thank you for being such an important part of our marriage. You show up every day whether we appreciate and acknowledge it or not. May we always turn to You for the wonderful example of how to love one another. Amen.

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