Half our lives…

This day is one that I’ve been looking forward to for a few years.

I’ve been trying to think of something that would be an appropriate gift to give you on this special day; the day we celebrate being together half our lives. I don’t make much. I’m not crafty. I’m not creative in the, ‘create something beautiful and meaningful out of nothing’ and I’m also not gifted in the ‘giving gifts’ department. (And, to be perfectly honest, I have no idea what to get you that is guitar-y or music-y without you knowing and picking it out.) A quick search of Pinterest gave me ZERO ideas of what I could make for you. Nothing related to the word “half” had anything to do with a half-our-lives anniversary. Go figure.

As I considered how lacking my gift to you was going to be today, our “half-our-lives” anniversary, I remembered what your love language is. Words of affirmation. I then remembered what my favorite past-time is. Writing. Those two things go hand-in-hand. Like they were made for each other. Like we were made for each other. With that said, I realized I could create something for you though it might not be the traditional gift one might expect. Then again, very little about us is traditional. Then again, again, I’m not sure there is a traditional gift that couples give on this kind of anniversary.

How do I love you? In more ways than I can count, and in many ways that I cannot share on this post.

  • I love that in 1995, when we first met, you walked me to the door of my house and surprised me with what a gentleman you are. I am amazed that, to this day, you hold car doors and carry the heavy stuff so I don’t have to. You didn’t do that to impress me on our first date but because that’s what is in your nature. (Props to your mom! I’m doing my best to imitate her.)
  • I love that in 1996, when you lived so far away, you spent hours and hours driving back and forth from GWU to Charlotte to see me, sometimes as a surprise! I’m very thankful you never wrecked on your way back to school.
  • I love that in 1997 you bought a beautiful ring for me and then couldn’t wait to pull off the surprise you had planned and, instead, met me in the rain and got down on one knee, asking me to marry you.
  • I love that in 1998 you took “Dance for the Elementary School Teacher” with me since you needed an elective and it let you spend time with me.
  • I love that in 1999 you waited for me at the altar, making me the most blessed woman in the world. You may not know that early on in our dating life I worried that things, that YOU, were too good to be true and that our relationship would surely not last. I remember sitting in my room, praying that if you were not who you seemed that you would break up with me soon. The amazing thing about you is that you were exactly what you seemed to be. You still are.
  • I love that in 2000 you cheered me on as I graduated from GWU and then began my own (short-lived) career as a full-time teacher. You have always made me feel like you believed that I am smart. I don’t know why this means so much to me but knowing you are interested in what I have to say or think matters more than you know. I also love that in this year when I came to you to say that I think it was time for us to start a family that you didn’t freak out and run for the hills. I know you were scared but you were brave and ready to become a dad.
  • I love that in 2001 you opened your heart and became the most amazing dad on the planet. You never complained about a single diaper change or a single missed hour of sleep. I love that you and Hayden had so many good, sweet naps on the couch while I rested. I’m sure there are other moms who can attest to the fact that seeing their husband holding their child really deepens the love for their husband. This truly happened. And for us, four times over.
  • I love that in 2002 I got to see you leading the youth of FCBC in such a transparent way. Your students loved you, and still do. You have impacted them in ways that time has truly shown were life changing.
  • I love that in 2003 you felt God’s prompting to be prepared for the next move in our lives and that got our hearts ready for whatever he had next. But, more importantly, I love that you held our second son, Carson, in your arms and once again, I fell in love with you. I also love that when we found out Bailey was on his way, you loved him immediately. He was definitely a surprise, but you loved him fully.
  • I love that in 2004 you welcomed that surprise into our home with such grace. People often balked at our family, asking some of the most interesting questions, but you were the perfect dad to three boys, ages 2, 1, and newborn. You really did carry that responsibility with strength and power. Once again I fell in love with you.
  • I love that in 2005 you took one of the biggest leaps of faith God could have asked you to take by applying to join the Army Chaplaincy. It was totally not something you thought you could do and yet, you are amazing at your job. I remember you running Ferry Road in preparation for basic and getting your mind and body prepared for the toughest job you’ve ever had. I remember the admiration I felt in you as you began training… that admiration hasn’t diminished a bit.
  • I love that in 2006 you put on a uniform knowing that our country was in a time of war; knowing that you would eventually leave the family to serve in that war. I remember the day those ACUs arrived in our home and the very first time you put them on. Surreal. Awe-inspiring. My heart swelled with pride.
  • I love that in 2007 you moved our family across the world to the most beautiful place on the planet. (As far as I can tell, Colorado is still the most beautiful place I’ve ever been.) Do you remember writing down our dream location when we were dating? We both wrote Colorado and many years later you managed to get us there! You make my dreams come true!
  • I love that in 2008 you endured a very long deployment (that started in 2007 and didn’t end until 2009) with strength and determination. You made an impact on many lives, including the translator you spent hours on end with. I am still excited about the fact that she came to know the Truth during your time there and that she and I will meet one day in heaven. If those 15 months had only been for her, I would have let you go just to impact her life, but I know there are others who know Jesus personally as a result of your time in the desert.
  • I love that in 2009 you took me off on a 10 day trip to reconnect after that crazy-long separation. But more than that, I love that during those 15 months our relationship was not damaged. Instead it was strengthened by all the many letters and notes (I counted over 400) that you sent our way. You kept our marriage strong and current by letting me know in so many ways that you were thinking of me all the time. I ALSO love that you moved our family to Germany at the end of that year. I love that we still look back on our early years and find amazement in where we are. We would have never imagined ourselves here. What an adventure!
  • I love that in 2010 you welcomed our fourth son into your arms and have loved him with all of your heart, as you love each of the rest of us. I love the joy I see in your eyes on the days you’re still home when he wakes up. I love that you are able to fully enjoy his baby-hood. I love that I fell in love with you all over again.
  • I love that in 2011 your hard work got us out of debt. I love the sacrifices you made to get us to that point, including selling that special guitar. I’ll never forget that. Because of your dedication to this goal that we shared, we were able to not only pay off our debt but also go to England, Paris, and Prague, all with cash. We were also able purchase the Silver Surfer with cash. In our early years, if someone had told us that we would be debt free and able to travel the world and buy cars with cash we would have thought they were nuts!
  • I love that in 2012 you took me to Ireland. Just me. No kids! (Not that I don’t love traveling with them, but you know…) I love that this trip was like our honeymoon but better since we knew what we were doing. (Wink-wink.) I love that practice makes perfect. And that you love to practice. And that you don’t see any of the faults that are so evident to me. And that you love me even though I see so many faults. I also love that this is the special year that only happens once. We have now been together half our lives. From now on, we will have spent more time together than we did apart.

I love that you call me “Beauty” even though I don’t always feel I deserve the name. I love that you and I share 17 years of history together and that you love this special day as much as I do. I love that you work so hard around our house, always taking out the trash and doing the dishes and washing more than your share of laundry. I love that you don’t mind that I beat you at cards 90% of the time and that you don’t mind if I talk trash. I love that you teach the boys to respect me so that one day they will respect their own wives. I love that you play the guitar so well. I love that on Sundays I look up to the front of the church and fall in love all over again. I love that I still think you’re handsome and that you are getting more handsome as we age. I love that you have a natural ability to speak in public and find it interesting that you enjoy it considering that you are quite the introvert. I love that you are great at your job and pray you find fulfillment in it, for as long as you’re supposed to be doing this job. I love that you are willing to stick with a job as long as you’re supposed to even if there are days you’d like to hang the uniform up and become a wandering guitarist looking for gigs. I love how you’re always listening for what God has next for you so that you keep our family in the center of His will, which is always the BEST place for your family. I love how you hold Parker and watch, “Ca-chow,” no matter how many times you’ve already seen it. I love how you take each of our sons on special dates, letting them know that, while it’s pretty neat to be a part of a group of brothers, each one is uniquely loved by you. I love that you appreciate my efforts around the house, even if I fail to keep the house as neat as you might like. I love how you have never made me feel like I need to lose weight even when I know that I do. I love how you use post-it notes to show your love to your family. I love how you are still running and staying in shape. I love how you can finish my sentences. I love how we have so many inside jokes and stories that make us unique. I love how you love to dust. I love how you say, “Like a glove,” whenI do the perfect parallel-parking job. I love how you are getting better with age. I love how you love my family… you know… my mom and dad, and grandparents. Those people. I love how you have won their hearts. I love how you support me as the teacher to our sons.

I simply can’t write all the ways I love you.

I just love you.

________________________________________________

When we were 17:

Us in Dublin:

About Jennifer

"Yes, they're all mine." The answer to the question I hear most often.
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24 Responses to Half our lives…

  1. Bug's Mama says:

    Simply Beautiful.

    And you look the same as you did when you were 17! Beautiful!

    Congrats today!

  2. I just stumbled across your blog, and I’m so glad I did. This is so beautiful I actually teared up a bit. I’m so looking forward to my “half our lives” anniversary. I’m sure this blog post – you telling the world about your love – means more to your man then any gift would šŸ™‚

    • Jennifer says:

      Matt did enjoy the letter. And I let him read it before I posted it to make sure he was even willing to let me post it! šŸ™‚ Thanks for stopping by the site today!

  3. Rebecca says:

    How exciting! Such an inspiration for us to aspire too. Half our lives together, that would be awesome!

  4. Judy Wilkerson says:

    this is from Debbie’s Mom This is an amazing story & you and your family are very BLESSED with an amazing LOVE that can only come from ABOVE KEEP OUR LORD AND HIS LOVE IN YOUR MARRIAGE

  5. Tori Jenkins says:

    Gods continued Blessings on your wonderful family and congrats on the anniversary~Ya’ll ROCK!!

  6. Judy "Ommie" Gloy says:

    You “kids” remind me of PaPa and me. We love each other more and more – it never seemed possible that anyone could love someone as much as we love each other. Matt is exactly the way Ralph is. So – reading your blog I felt like I had written it to Pop! (Except the part about you being in Germany and all)… LOL. Anyway, congratulations. Just think! We just celebrated our 51st anniversary – we’re WAAAAAY past our half our lives together! And it’s all good! It’s so GREAT to LOVE AND BE LOVED BACK – no regrets, no fears, no questions… simply LOVED! Thank-You, God, for Matt and Jenn. Thank-You God for Ralph and me. Thank-You God for YOU and Your love for us.

    Love,

    Judy

    • Jennifer says:

      My prayer is that our story continues to be as beautiful as yours is. I’m honored to follow in your footsteps! We love you and appreciate your prayers for us. I know that you, specifically, have prayed us through the many exciting transitions of the past 5 years and for that, I am grateful!

  7. Pam M. says:

    Well, I cannot hardly type for tears. What a sweet sweet gift to Matt! I am so happy the Lord brought you guys together and has worked in your lives to bless other people and that you both allow Him to do that! Have a wonderful anniversary!

    • Jennifer says:

      Pammy, thank you so much. I am VERY thankful He brought Matt into my life. I often think back to the night we met (which was in Jan 1995). I “just happened” to go to dinner with friends and recognized someone across the room. I went to speak to him and he introduced me to Matt. A few weeks later Matt and I, along with that friend and his wife, and another couple, went on a triple date. It was the beginning our relationship and I am SO glad he loves me the way he does!

  8. Christy says:

    I am seriously tearing up! How beautiful! I hope you have many many more years, so that someday you can say you’ve spent 4/5ths of your lives together. šŸ™‚

  9. What a wonderful way to commemorate the years of your life together! Happy Anniversary!

  10. Beth says:

    Jen,
    That was beautiful! Words don’t express how beautiful!
    I have tears in my eyes from reading it.
    Ken and I are almost to our half life anniversary- and I feel the same way about him.
    Beth

    • Jennifer says:

      Beth, I have a few ideas of fun things you can do for your half-your-lives anniversary. I’m going to make a cake today but only decorate half of it. I’m going to fill all our drinks half-full tonight. Silly stuff. I might give everyone half of a napkin. I’m making pancakes for the boys’ dinner so I might cut them all in half. We didn’t eat a dinner together last night or I would have done that yesterday… It’s a special anniversary, for sure!

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