My first trip to North Dakota

I didn’t even flinch when I said “I do” to Joel on our wedding day. I mean good grief. He’s gorgeous. He’s so sweet-it’s almost annoying. And most of all, that man KNOWS how to love me. There was that one time he had a mullet, but let the past stay in the past.

I’ll be honest. The weeks leading up to the proposal were another story. I was so anxious of what that “yes” would mean, should Joel propose. It was scary to think about, and yet when the day came, through a cracked voice and teary eyes I said, “Yes!”

At the time, I was saying yes to: Waking up with him (I had dreamed and dreamed about that!), having him with me on holidays, listening to him playing saxophone and laughing at his funny dance moves. Those all sound like safe and happy things!

I was saying yes to all the things I knew would happen, all the happy moments. But I had to say yes to the things I didn’t know would happen. Losing our jobs together right after we bought our first home. And then having to buy a new car weeks later. I was saying yes to screaming (on my part, not his) fights before family gatherings that led to me backing into a neighbor’s car. Yes to the trail of his clothes on the floor when he gets home from work. Yes to holding each other when a loved one passes away. Yes to acorns, pine cones, paintbrushes and random scraps of paper littered around the house because Joel is always in the process of creating something. Yes to his flaws.

I knew it meant I would have to be less hot-tempered and he’d have to be less stubborn. I’d have to spend a little less money and he’d have to be less frugal. He would have an opinion on my hair and I’d have opinions on what clothes he wore. And in this dance of give and take, we’d make a marriage work. In the biggest of ways and the smallest of ways.

I didn’t feel ready for all of that.  I don’t know of many people who feel totally ready for the self sacrificing it takes to make a marriage work. We feel attracted to the person. We feel happy. We feel like it’s right. But many times in marriage, things don’t feel awesome.So all of that is unreliable in the end!

Commitment, loyalty and unconditional love towards a person are choices, not feelings. And they should make us feel safe and solid, not scared to death because we won’t get to do whatever we want anymore. We weren’t created to live haphazardly. We’re told not to fear or worry, but we aren’t told to fumble our way through life. The very thing I needed most scared me.

I was saying yes to committing the rest of my liiiiife (ah!) to Joel. And when we finally made it to the altar on a perfectly sunny, cloudless, breezy October afternoon, I stared my fear in the face with determination and said, “I do.”

Neither of us were ready, but we were both willing, for better or for worse, to take part in the dance.