Last week Wednesday, on July 8, Darin and I celebrated our 15th wedding anniversary. We started dating when we were 15 and now we’ve been married for 15 years. I can’t believe it. Even though we’ve settled into life as an old married couple, he’s still my boyfriend that I dated all those years ago. I always try to remember that as routine sets in.
We will be the first to admit that we were very young (and maybe a little stupid) when we got married. We had really no idea what we were getting ourselves into. I had just turned 22 and was newly graduated from Bethel. I started my first nursing job in an intensive peds bone marrow transplant unit at the U. I was working full time day/night rotating 8 hour shifts (for those of you that are nurses you know how crazy that is). Darin was almost 22 (yes, I am a few months older than him and he reminds me every birthday) and still had a year left at Bethel and was working while finishing his senior year. We drove around a beat up Ford Thunderbird. We rented a tiny little apartment in Roseville and slept with a mattress on the floor. I honestly don’t remember much of that first year of marriage because it was such a blur. And now here we are, with a house and a dog and two kids that are growing way too fast and this little life that all started in that tiny one bedroom apartment 15 years ago. And I would do it all again in a heartbeat.
Being married has been the greatest adventure, one that has definitely had its peaks and its valleys. Marriage is wonderful, but marriage is also work. We have both made mistakes, and we’ve dealt with them. We’ve created memories, traditions, and have had a blast together. We’ve (so far) survived the challenges of parenthood, together. And I’ll be honest, dealing with my own parent’s divorce in our early married years was (and maybe still sometimes is) very difficult, but I’ve seen how God makes the broken things beautiful. We have basically grown up together and have learned a lot of lessons together and have been through a lot of stuff together. And all of that is what has made our marriage stronger and I couldn’t feel more grateful and blessed.
I’m also really proud of how we’ve made “us” a priority. We’ve learned that the best gift we can give our kids is a healthy marriage. So this means we leave the kids every once in awhile to spend time on us. It’s why we made the time and effort to go out to eat on our anniversary (thank you to the Bieringers to watching our kids and to my dad for the gift of paying for our wonderful meal at 112 Eatery). It’s why our anniversary gift to each other will be a belated 15 year celebration vacation to a warm destination in January. We are so thankful that over the years we’ve had family that has helped us make this happen by watching Evie and Eli and Leo. We know that not every couple is able to go on vacations so again, I couldn’t feel more grateful and blessed.
Before our date on our anniversary last week I asked Evie to take a quick photo of us. I actually adore this photo because even though it was meant to be a photo of just Darin and I, Leo insisted on jumping on the couch and Eli was right there petting him while Evie snapped the picture. All of us are involved in the photo. Evidence of love that multiplied over 15 years. Happy Anniversary to my Darin, looking forward to many more years of adventure with you. I love you.