Hi Babe,

Happy Birthday! Are you feeling old?

I know you are because you keep telling me so.

And, on the off chance either of us forgets you are aging, your new, every-morning-aches-and-pains are always there to remind you of such, and Lord knows you are always there to complain about them to me.

So no, I’ll never forget you’re getting older because you won’t let me. And speaking of not remembering, we should be glad you aren’t doing any of that just yet.

Nope, you are still pretty “with it” and because of that, I’m pretty much still head over heels in love with you.

So, how old are you today, hun?

From how we talk about you, you would think you’re entering your 80s. But no, lucky for you, you are just turning 40.

“FORTY!” the crowd loudly gasps.

Yes, you are merely turning 40, but that’s surely not how it feels for you, right? To you, there is nothing “mere” about it.

Oddly, but I guess understandably, there is something about turning 40 that is scary for most people—both women and men—but I think about more for men.

Now maybe I’m talking out of my rear, but I’m picking up on this birthday being quite an important one and kind of a big deal to you.

For you, I feel like there is a bit of melancholy around it; maybe even a bit of “holy you-know-what”.

But, the way I look at hunny, the only reason you turning 40 is a big deal is because you are a big deal, my friend.

A big deal to me and the biggest deal to our children.

Last year I wrote an article that detailed 39 reasons why I love you, and since you are getting even older now (and your memory is likely dropping), I will remind you of what those were:

  1. You are honest and genuine.
  2. You are funny.
  3. You are so good-looking.
  4. You look me in my eyes when you talk to me.
  5. You are an amazing listener when I am talking about something that matters.
  6. You are encouraging of me.
  7. You are hard-working.
  8. You could not be a more present and involved father.
  9. You are a strong presence.
  10. You make me feel safe.
  11. You are fun to be around.
  12. You are kind-hearted.
  13. You have a strong sense of self.
  14. You have an optimistic outlook on life.
  15. You say “I love you” to me every night.
  16. You kiss me goodbye whenever you leave.
  17. You share your family with me.
  18. You helped me make the three most beautiful and amazing human beings this world has ever seen.
  19. You are intelligent.
  20. You love adventure.
  21. You love music.
  22. You have a yearning to travel with your family.
  23. You honor our marriage vows.
  24. You are faithful.
  25. You encourage us both to be healthier versions of ourselves.
  26. You maintain your humor amidst challenges.
  27. You give of yourself to your children, even when you are exhausted.
  28. You treat me well.
  29. You show me respect.
  30. You tell me I am a good mother.
  31. You help me when I need help.
  32. You still hold my hand.
  33. You are a good person.
  34. You give great advice.
  35. You are open-minded.
  36. You like to try new things.
  37. You love our children more than anything in this world.
  38. You make our family your first priority.
  39. You work tirelessly so that I can stay home with the kids.

Now how lame would it be for me just to add one more reason to tally the list up to good ‘ol #40 and call it a day?

I could do that, and maybe you would expect that, just like you recycled your Facebook birthday wish to me from a year ago this year, but no—I’ll be a bit more creative and try to outshine you like I always do.

On your 40th birthday, I am going to share with you 40 promises I make to you, and with these 40 promises, I am optimistic we will stay married for your next 40 years.

Here we go:

  1. I promise to remain faithful to you.
  2. I promise to make you laugh at least once a day.
  3. I promise I will always find you attractive.
  4. I promise always to look you in your eye when you are speaking and give you my full attention.
  5. I promise to always listen to you and not to succumb to distractions.
  6. I promise to be your encourager, motivator and will always aim to inspire you.
  7. I promise to work hard on myself and how I can improve so that we can improve as a couple.
  8. I promise to be more present when you and I are alone and more present with our children, as I know you (and I) want that for them.
  9. I promise to be strong when you feel weak.
  10. I promise to make you feel safe, both physically and emotionally.
  11. I promise to be more fun; I need to be, and I want to be.
  12. I promise to be kinder and have more empathy for you.
  13. I promise to be more supportive and compassionate even when I feel drained.
  14. I promise to remain optimistic even if you stay a pessimist.
  15. I promise to tell you “I love you” at least once a day.
  16. I promise to kiss you at least once a day.
  17. I promise to continue to love your family who is now very much my family, as well.
  18. I promise to be your ally in parenting.
  19. I promise to keep learning—about life, you and myself.
  20. I promise to be more adventurous.
  21. I promise to push us to keep dancing even when there is no music and no obvious reason to dance.
  22. I promise we will travel and that one day I will take you to Europe.
  23. I promise always to be proud of you.
  24. I promise always to be honest with you.
  25. I promise to work toward being a healthier version of myself.
  26. I promise to allow humor, yours or mine, to get us through any challenges we may face.
  27. I promise never to stop putting in effort to improve our relationship.
  28. I promise always to aim to treat you better today than I did yesterday.
  29. I promise always to show you respect.
  30. I promise to tell you that you are an amazing father.
  31. I promise to help you when you need help, even if you don’t ask for it.
  32. I promise to hold your hand tight whenever you reach out for mine.
  33. I promise always to give you my best and genuine advice.
  34. I promise to be more open-minded.
  35. I promise to get out of my comfort zone and join you in yours.
  36. I promise to have appreciation and gratitude for this blessed life we have.
  37. I promise to love our children with every ounce of my being.
  38. I promise that you and the kids will always be my first priority.
  39. I promise to thank God each night that you chose me to be by your side in this life.
  40. I promise to keep making promises to you for the rest of our lives.

Turning 40 doesn’t suck. It doesn’t mean that your life is almost over or that everything is downhill from here. Forty is flippin’ hot, and it looks as good on you as any previous age has. In fact, I would say that all your life experience, it makes you look sexy.

Happy 40th birthday to my husband who is the most handsome, hard-working, giving, selfless, and the freakin’ funniest man I know. I love you!

Your wife

Nicole Merritt

Nicole Merritt is a mother of three and the Owner and Founder of jthreeNMe, an imperfectly authentic peek at real-life marriage, parenting, and self-improvement. jthreeNMe is raw, honest, empowering, inspiring, and entertaining; it’s like chicken soup for those that are exhausted, over-stressed and under-inebriated, yet still utterly happy. Nicole's work has been featured by Scary Mommy, The Good Men Project, BLUNTmoms, Thought Catalog, Everyday Family, Motherly & many others. You can follow Nicole at jthreeNMe and on FacebookPinterestInstagram & Twitter!