Seven years ago: September 12, 2009.

We stood before a congregation of our dearest family and friends and made some really important promises to each other. We promised to to love each other, and cherish one another, and to do life together through all of the ups and downs that may come our way.

For better or worse.

I look back on the pictures from that day and I see pure joy. Innocence. Love. Happiness. It was one of the happiest days of our entire lives, and you can see it in our faces. In our smiles. In our eyes.

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I look at the pictures from that day, and I see nothing but joy. Pure. Unadulterated. Joy.

And in that joy, on the best day of our lives, we made a promise: for better or worse.

We were so happy and young and in love. We had been through some “stuff” in our relationship: a breakup, deaths of grandparents and close family friends, long distance, and all the other ups and downs that come with making the transition from high school sweethearts to a real life grown up relationship. We had been through arguments and losses, and we had shared so much joy and laughter. Maybe we even thought we knew the meaning of those words: for better or worse.

But, oh, how little we knew about marriage on that day–about the height and depth of that covenant. About the true meaning of those four little words: for better or worse.

This past year, our seventh year of marriage, has brought with it the best and the worst. This year, 2016, has taught us more about marriage than any other.

We began this year with so much joy and anticipation. We were (finally) starting a family. We had so much fun announcing our pregnancy and sharing all that joy with family and friends as we anticipated Alexander’s arrival. We spent hours coming up with the perfect way to announce Alexander’s pending arrival with our friends and family on social media.We spent so many afternoons and evenings putting the perfect touches on Alexander’s nursery. Laughing together. Painting together. Dreaming about how different our life was going to be once we were parents. Talking about how much we were looking forward to the adventures of parenthood. Scott went along to every single doctor’s appointment. He laid in bed at night with his hands on my belly so he could feel Alexander squirm and kick. We went on extra date nights and took our last “childless” vacation to the Great Smoky Mountains in May.

This year was full of so many of the best days of our lives. So much joy and anticipation. For better.

But now we know that this story doesn’t have a “happily ever after” at it’s end. Because in the blink of an eye, we lost that happy ending. In a moment, we went from for better to  for much much worse.

In a moment we went from the happiest days of our lives to the darkest and most difficult days of our lives.

What should have been two months filled with for betters, have instead been some of the for worst of our lives. Our dream of becoming parents has turned into a very different kind of parenthood than we could have ever imagined.

And yet we have walked this road more together than ever before. Alexander has taught us more about the covenant of marriage in two months than we knew from the past seven years. He has taught us how to truly lean on and trust each other. He has taught us how to care for each other, be patient with each other, and how to grieve together. We can no longer take love or each other for granted. And, we have a much deeper understanding of those words–for better or worse–than we ever have in our entire lives. 

Alexander’s footprints are all over our marriage.

For better or worse.

And so, today, on our seventh wedding anniversary (and every day of my life), I don’t have the words I wish I could say or write. And all the words in the world would never be enough to express the depth of my love for this man: my best friend, my husband, and Alexander’s dad.

Scott, you are the most kind, compassionate, and selfless human being I know. I don’t tell you enough, but I love being your wife. I am proud to be your wife. You make me better, but more than that you make the world better. Oh, and on top of all that, you are the most amazing dad to Alexander. I love you more each day. This year has been the best and the worst of all, and there is nobody I would rather walk through this life with. You are my favorite human.You are my best friend, and the best dad to our son. I love you with every fiber of my being. And then some. Happy anniversary, my love.

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