Today Jonathan and I celebrate 5 years together. Since our wedding anniversary is in June we no longer have a big celebration for our dating anniversary, but I thought that five years warranted some attention. Over the past few days I keep thinking back to those first few months of our togetherness. And I think that 19-year-old me had no idea that in five years I’d be more in love with this man than ever. That I’d be waking up beside him every morning, smiling just because he is there. That we’d be building a home and a life together in North Carolina, a place 19-year-old me had never even seen. 19-year-old me had no understanding of all the ways this man’s love would shape me, or all the ways that loving him would change me.
Jonathan strikes others as a quiet man, and in many ways he is. He chooses his words carefully and the things that he says have weight to them. He doesn’t need to be the center of attention or to have a hundred friends. His closest friends, he’s had since childhood, and even when they haven’t seen each other in months, they always pick up exactly where they left off. To have this man’s friendship is to have something simple and uncomplicated and rare. To have his friendship is to know that you are accepted as you are, without expectations, and that you always will be.
Jonathan is honest. He tells the truth, even when the question is difficult or when the answer brings him shame. He may not have the kind of openness that would prompt him to share his soul with everyone he meets, but to those he trusts with it, he gives with complete abandon. And being one of those few recipients I can tell you that to hold this man’s heart is a gift.
Jonathan is a writer. He finds ways to tell stories that are familiar and yet unlike anyone else’s. You can lose yourself inside the worlds he spins. And more than that, his words are powerful. Jonathan’s words have changed me.
When I look in the mirror and I say, “Too fat. Gross skin. Bad hair day,” he says, “No. Beautiful. Perfect. Everything I want.”
When I make a mistake and I say, “Stupid. Foolish. Worthless,” he says, “Forgiven. Human. Covered with grace.”
When I look at a situation and say, “Impossible,” he says, “To us. But God can.”
When I think of a dream that seems too far off to ever be real I say, “Never,” and he says, “Not yet. We have so much time.”
When I get scared and say, “Don’t leave me,” he says, “Never. I could never be without you.”
When I am ridiculous, he smiles at me. When I am stressed, he is calm. When I am irrational, he is patient. When I am moody, he makes me laugh. When I complain, he says, “I’m sorry.” When I cry, he says, “It’s ok to just be sad sometimes.”
Jonathan is my best friend. He takes walks with me and reads books with me and watches movies with me and plays games with me. He listens to me and he shares with me. He has coffee waiting for me every morning and a clean kitchen after dinner every night. When we half-wake-up rolling over in the middle of the night, he whispers, “I love you,” into my dreams and when we get home from work each day, he pulls me into his lap and covers my face with kisses and says, “I’m so glad I’m married to you.” How could I not be changed by that kind of unrelenting love?
In the last 5 years I have grown so much. I somehow stepped into adulthood, however reluctantly, and impossibly became a woman. I am not 19-year old me, and there are many ways in which I need to grow, but all of the best parts of me are because of him.
We’ve come so far together, we two. And the road ahead is wonderfully long.
PS-I had some other great photos, but they won’t show up properly, so you are all spared. : )