My love. At first it was the music in your laugh and teasing of your eyes, then it was the way you captivated me with qualities that were at once manly and boyish. When you took my hand for the first time and kissed it, you had my face flushing and my heart crushing on you like a school girl.

Now five years your wife, I realize it was the true depth of soul beneath your crush-worthy charms that had me saying “I do”—two tiny words holding the promise of forever and sealed with a kiss.

Photo credit for all wedding images used in this article: Johanna B Photography

Now, when weathering hard seasons with you, I comprehend the weight of that vow: the assurance of action implied by words spoken in present tense. I understand the totality of taking all of you to be united with all of me, and I do. I do take you still.

Even when you’re at your worst, when you’re frustrated or stressed, saying things you don’t mean, I do. I do get you.

Even when you’re sick or drained, anxious or broken, I do. I do have strength to spare.

Even when your smile seems lost, I do. I do have smiles to share.

Even when your poor body aches from long hours on the job and the bank account doesn’t respect the price of your pain, I do. I do hold on to the hope of health.

Not because I knew you’d see my better when I bared my worst.

Not because I knew you’d work hard each day, invest in our future, and create a wealth of love.

Not because I knew you’d hold my hair back when morning sickness erupted in unsavory spewing, or that you’d embrace my postpartum flabbiness as I ugly-cried.

Not because I knew you’d make me soup and make me laugh.

Not because I knew you’d pray for calm when we lost our cool.

Not because I could foresee all these things that you would do, but because I promised—and I refuse to let strife, sickness, or money make a liar out of me. I promised to take, have, hold, love, cherish, and I do.

We both do, knowing it takes breathing life into promises and moving with intention to truly tango.

And at the end, when we have cherished each other to death and find ourselves dancing in a heavenly place, perhaps we can rekindle love’s flames and say with God as our witness, “We did. We did this once before.”

“I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand.”

– Chinese Proverb


Leann Clarke

Leann Clarke is an outdoor-loving mama who enjoys riding horses, dancing, soaking in a good book, and hunting with her husband. She’s also mom to two active kiddos who excel at keeping her humble. She believes strongly in prayer, laughter, and eating chocolate for breakfast. Leann shares snippets of her life in Montana and more on her blog, The Hunting Mom.