Dear God, please help me to be a good person. And please, bring me someone to love who loves me just as much. I used to pray those words every night as a young woman in my 20s. I was waiting for a little frog to come along who would be my prince for happily ever after. I thought if those simple prayers were answered, life would be the perfect little fairy tale I’d always wanted.
You know the saying “make plans and God laughs?” He must have been giggling Himself silly when we said our vows. Or maybe He already knew and put us together with purpose. Because when I said, “For better or for worse,” I meant it.
I meant it when we struggled to conceive. I meant it through the miscarriages and the dozens of negative pregnancy tests. I meant it when we disagreed about fertility treatments versus adoption.
I meant it when we found out our 5-year-old son was terminally ill. I meant it when we argued about what the course of treatment should be. I meant it when I was spending time with our son and not you before his death. I meant it when I needed to be with him until his last breath.
I meant it because I knew we could make it through to the other side. Even though I was tortured and sad and felt alone with my feelings, you always embraced me and said just the thing I needed to hear. I meant it because I knew we would do what was best for each other.
When I said, “For richer or for poorer,” I meant it. I meant it when you said we were going to move across the country, away from our family and friends and the only home either of us had ever known for you to take a chance on your dream career.
I meant it every time I clipped coupons or bought something on sale and proudly told you how much I saved. I meant it because I knew you would appreciate how I could be frugal.
I meant it when once you could afford to, you gave me lavish gifts and I gushed over them. I meant it when I still didn’t overspend because I appreciated how you had a plan for everything. A plan for our future.
I meant it when you asked me to go back to work once you quit your job due to your disability. I meant it because I knew that after so many years of working hard for me, it was my turn to work hard for you.
I meant it because I knew that’s what a partnership looks like. Both people in the relationship being responsible for its success. Both people doing what needs to be done.
When I said, “In sickness and in health,” I meant it. You cared for me when I was on bed rest with our twins. You worked a full day—and sometimes night—but still cooked for me and shopped for me and cleaned our house and did our laundry. You cared for me when I couldn’t care for myself.
I still mean it every day when I help you out of bed and dress you. When I take you to doctor appointments and help you shower. When I cook for you and shop for you and clean up after you and do your laundry. I mean it, knowing you can’t do much to help anymore like you once did.
But I mean it because you care for my heart and our family. I mean it because I know if the situation were reversed, you would do all of those things for me. I mean it because I know that’s what you do when you really love someone, someone who has been a part of you since those vows were said. And possibly before.
I mean it all.
I mean it because I know those prayers I said long ago were answered. I said I wanted you, and I take you through it all.