Day 34: Seventeen Years / by Jeff Tacklind

Today is our anniversary, babe!  Can you believe it?  We’re seventeen, which means our marriage is almost old enough to vote.

I look at that picture from our wedding day and can’t believe how young we were!  We were just kids!  Our whole lives were before us.  Everything was just beginning.  We were only just getting started.

I remember, in those days, we were both discovering so many new things about ourselves.  So much of my life was centered around leadership and ministry.  So much of yours around spirituality and new identity.  In many ways, we fell in love with each other’s potential.  How could we not?  We were changing and growing every day.  And together we just continued in that stream, redefining who we were, and shaping where we wanted to go.

Laguna Beach instead of L.A.  Small church over large.  The decision to have a family.  You deciding to stay home and figuring out how to be a mom.  Me juggling work and family and learning how to be a dad.  So many changes have happened between now and then.  And yet, somehow, things are still very much the same.

At middle age, we are both still discovering new things about ourselves.  But one of the main ones is the discovery that we haven’t really changed as much as we thought.  The minister’s wife/stay at home mom is still actually the cheerleader/athlete who loves to dance and perform, and is a phenomenal coach!  And me, well, I’m still that nerdy kid that loved books and D&D.  All the surfing, guitar playing, and good music in my life never seem to alter the fact that I’m still a geek at heart.

Which means our life is very much like a John Hugh’s movie, and I’m the awkward Michael Anthony Hall character who somehow, someway, ends up with the gorgeous Molly Ringwald.  How in the world did I get so lucky?

When you first choose your spouse, it is for all the reasons they are the perfect fit.  At least that is what we think.  But that is just the small part of ourselves we’re consciously aware of.  The things we find immediately attractive, as opposed to the deeper questions of what we really need.  When you get to midlife, that top ten list is no longer front and center.  In fact, it is probably buried away somewhere in a drawer.

What we have instead is so much reality.  Who we truly are.  All the ways we fit, yes, but also all the ways we don’t.  But both of those lists have become practically irrelevant.  Because what we have is seventeen years.  Seventeen years of intimacy, vulnerability, struggles, frustrations, dreams, defeats, victories, losses, embarrassments, and moments of glory.  And we have three little ones that aren’t so little anymore, who have added all their complexities to the mix. 

Who I am and who you are has become inseparable.  We really are one.  And as you continue to grow, and flourish, and become more of who you are, then so do I.  And I love who you are becoming and therefore, who we are becoming.  It is so familiar, and yet so brand new.  It includes more of who we were, and yet continues to expand into new territory. 

I love you, not because you somehow complete me.  I love you because you and I no longer come apart.  I love us.  As both of us step into new areas filled with new fears and insecurities, you are the one I want to go there with.  I love you so much!  Can’t wait for the next seventeen.