10 years with this man.
I remember when I was getting married at the ripe old age of 19, I was asked by a lot of my friends - "How do you know that he's the one you will want forever? What if you both change?" It was a good question, since I was obviously so young and he was, too (he was 23). The question made me think, but it didn't scare me. I knew in my gut Stevie was the right one for me, and always would be.
I am wrong about a lot of things (don't tell my kids), but I was right about him.
After having spent the past decade together, I can honestly say it's been the best season of my life. Our marriage is far from perfect - we've experienced highs and lows in our connection with each other - but I am more convinced than ever that he is the one I want to work through issues with, celebrate victories with, and share my life with. He's absolutely amazing.
I've been thinking a lot about that question, though. How can you choose to be with someone forever when you don't know how you (and they) will change through the years? I think this is one of the big reasons why people don't get married - they want to be so sure about the choice.
But you can't be so sure.
Because you will absolutely change. And so will they.
I don't know how other people do marriage, and I don't claim to be any kind of expert, but I have definitely learned my fair share of love lessons over the past ten years. Choosing to marry someone isn't about remaining the same together. It's about choosing to grow together. Choosing to allow each other to grow, and choosing to let your spouse have the freedom and independence to continue to evolve. You have to trust that they will evolve in a way that continues to put your marriage first - that's the kicker. And the only way to ensure that they will put you first is when you model it by putting them first. It's counter-culture in so many ways. Our society tells us to put ourselves first, especially in this age of women coming into their own power. I love female empowerment and I am so grateful to be living in this time when I can dream and achieve anything in my heart, but the thing is - that's not the way it works in marriage. The best thing I can do in my marriage is sacrifice, and put Stevie first. Trusting that he's doing the exact same thing for me. When we are both sacrificing for each other, both of our dreams have the freedom and support to flourish. It's like this spectacularly fragile and balanced dance of giving.
An example: When Stevie and I got engaged, he was dreaming of going to get his MBA at a top school. I knew that it was something in his heart, and that if we got married, at some point he was going to want to pursue that path. I loved that about him - his drive and brains and heart to actually want to take tests. I thought he was a dork, but a good-looking one. His journey of applying and getting into Harvard was one of the most exciting experiences for us - and those two years we spent in Boston were phenomenal. They were hard, fantastic, sometimes awful, almost always freezing cold, and completely wonderfully bonding. And I am so proud of him, that he really went for it. I did everything in my power, changing around my college schedule, taking classes in Boston, adjusting my job at Chick-fil-A, finding a new job downtown, everything I could, to make his dream possible. And it was totally, totally worth it. Not only was it an amazing experience for us as a couple, but we made some of the best friends of our life. We are forever changed by that path.
He's done the same for me. When we were living in Atlanta and I was in college, I was spending my weekends and week night margins acting. I was taking late-night classes, practicing scenes with my partners, making short films and commercials, performing at showcases and conventions - wherever I could get experience and resume-builders. Stevie was always supportive, making me dinner so that I could eat at midnight when I got home. He was front row with flowers when I was performing. He was the one giving me constructive criticism when I asked for it (even though I didn't really want to hear it). We moved to New York City after he graduated with his MBA so that I could pursue my dream of acting as a profession. I spent so much time on the subway, going to and from auditions, classes, networking events, more auditions. Stevie was my biggest fan, running lines with me, whole-heartedly investing in gear and headshots and classes and whatever else I needed to go for it. He has put me first throughout our 10 years together, and I am so thankful that he put my dreams first, too. I would always regret it if I hadn't really given it my all in that season of life, when I had those opportunities before me.
Now that we have kids, we are living another dream. I am so grateful to be raising my two little boys with this man that I so respect and love. I know we have a lot more dreams that have yet to come into fruition, a lot of seasons ahead of us and so much more to learn in our journey together. I am so excited to pursue those things with him, because I trust his heart for me is good. He's safe and yet wildly adventurous. I am a lucky, lucky girl.
Marriage is a choice of faith - having faith in that person. Faith that they will make the best choices for themselves and for you. I am so grateful to share this life with him. It's not easy (marriage counseling, y'all - everyone should get some!), but it's one of the things I am most proud of. Thank you for loving me so well, Stevie! You're a keeper! There is no one else I would rather travel with, cook for, make babies with, laugh at or dream with! I loooooooove you.
P.S. Tonight we are going OUT. #parentsgonewild