Celebrating 21 Years as Mr. And Mrs. O
"I wasn't looking when I met you. But you turned out to be everything I was looking for." ~ Unknown
That's exactly how I feel about my hubby. I wasn't interested in a relationship, much less marriage when he came walking into my life wearing his boots, cowboy hat and wranglers. The night he pulled me out on to the dance floor, I was breathless. Johnny was everything I wanted and nothing I expected. He was a man's man, confident, and yet he was sweet and humble. That night some 23 years ago, my baby swept me off my feet and I have yet to land on them again. To think I was just 22 years old when I met Johnny. I was seriously a baby. When I think of today's standards, I was barely out of the cradle. To be honest I had no idea what I was doing whatsoever. All I knew was I loved the man standing in front of me and I wanted nothing more than to spend the rest of my life waking up beside him. I may have been naïve but I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt Johnny had my whole heart and he always would. When I met Johnny taking his name as my own was about the last thing on my mind. But as the days turned into weeks stealing his heart the way he had mine was set in motion by a hand greater than mine. It's unbelievable twenty-one years ago, when Johnny and I said 'I do' no one knew where our love would take us, with the exception of our mighty and loving Father. Now all these years later, looking back I can tell you, "we built this love from the ground up." I know our life together has been anything but perfect, still I can tell you this life of ours has been a wonderful adventure, and anything but dull. We've spent 21 years laughing and struggling I know, but we have done it all together. And all because we have come to understand this simple quote by curiano.com."Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength while loving someone deeply gives you courage."
It's hard for me to believe my hunny-bee and I were married exactly 21 years to the day. Seriously, that's over two decades ago. How crazy is that? Who could have envisioned we'd be just as excited about a new day together, gray hair and all, as the first night we danced cheek to cheek to a George Straight song. Nothing about us has ever been garden-variety though. I mean we met and married in 6 months time. Unheard of right? We just knew. no questions asked. From the moment we said hello, our stars were crossed, tied and our lives meant to walk the same line together. Have you ever just known, or seen two people meet for the first time and realize they were meant to be together? That's how it was for Johnny and I. We didn't need to wait years to cross the altar side by side, we knew and that's all we needed. At 'our thoughts' explains it perfectly for me. "Have you ever just looked at someone and thought, "I really love you." They're just talking or watching a movie or reading a book or laughing or something, and there's something about them in that moment that makes you think," I just really love you." This is the best explanation ever of how I felt the night I met my hubby at a country dance hall. I just knew, and so did he. Almost as quickly as we began dating we were talking about our future, together. It wasn't just that we wanted each other, we loved each other from the start. This is what I can tell you about our marriage in the most honest way possible...our love story isn't in any way typical. The pages of our story are as wild and free as our love is. I learned early on as a young woman not to accept a love that was typical, ordinary or anything resembling middle-of-the-road. You can say I was heavily influenced by my parents marriage and even though ours is a very different kind of love,Johnny and I share the same foundation of unconditional love, forgiveness and a genuine acceptance of each other's faults. See I saw how my parents cared and put each other first. I experienced on a daily basis how they accepted one another, flaws and all. I knew from the time I was a little girl I would fight for nothing less than an extraordinary love, much like my parents. Would it be easy, would it be painful at times, yes, absolutely but a love worth fighting for, is love worth bleeding for. I may not have had it all together when I met Johnny, and truthfully I still don't but I do know a love like ours is incomparable and irreplaceable. A true love is imperfect, and perfectly in tune with your heart. 'I heart intelligence' explains how I see the great adventure of love so beautifully. "Fall in love with the person who enjoys your madness. Not an idiot who forces you to be normal." And that's exactly what I've found in Johnny, a love fully embracing the madness that is us.
As a couple, we've faced some pretty fierce battles and heartaches together. We've wiped each other's tears away and even been the cause of some of them. Yet there has been more joy than pain, more laughter than tears and many more adventures than I can count. Johnny and I have come to understand, that while we are part of our story, entwined together, our story is not completely our own to write. Our lives are for God to pen to paper. Kristen Clark's words speak volumes, "Your love story will never be more beautiful than the one you allow God to write for you." After more than 20 years as husband and wife, this is a lesson we understand more than we could have ever possibly in the beginning. Life has thrown some pretty hard balls our way, hit us upside the head and knocked the breathe out of us. Yet, all life has done is challenged us to become stronger and better together. I know whatever comes our way, I will love Johnny and he will love me. Every night as we have from the start, we go to bed and wake in the morning side by side...TOGETHER. No, we don't always see eye to eye, and to be honest I like that we don't. We both bring individuality to the table and that's the way it should be. I'm a very different cup of tea and he's definitely a strong shot of whiskey, but together we fit. Having it any other way would be sad indeed. I'm not always right and neither is Johnny. We want to make the other happy but we also understand if we truly love one another, we have to be willing to confront each other. I think when it all comes down it what we have learned together over the last 21 years goes something like this," I will love you even through the pain for I have found myself in you, as you have in me, You as my King and I as your Queen. Together we are one."
Taking a step back in this very moment, looking forward and ahead to the next twenty years I have to say I'm excited to experience all life has to offer us, side by side, hand in hand together. When I think of each and every difficulty we've faced, we've done so together. Happiness has been ours, as much as sadness, but only because we haven't given up on each other. When I think of our life together joy comes to mind not regret. The truth is our marriage could have ended, we could have gone our separate ways and given up but we didn't. Instead we stayed the course, we dug our feet in and we let Jesus take the wheel as Carrie Underwood so beautifully bellows out. Johnny and I made the choice to stay, realizing "Love is an unconditional commitment to an imperfect person. To love somebody isn't just a strong feeling. It is a judgment and a promise." When I think of our marriage I'm reminded of the Song of Solomon, chapter 8:6-8, 'Put me over your heart and on your arm, never to be taken off. For love is as strong as death. Jealousy is as hard as the grave. Its bright light is like the light of fire, the very fire of the Lord. Many waters cannot put out love. Rivers cannot cover it. " And this is the kind of love Johnny and I share today. It's not perfect, but it's deep and it's strong. And so today, as Johnny and I celebrate our 21st anniversary I offer you Life Lesson #148 ~ Twenty Years From Now. See I have faith we'll still be the same people and in just as much love as we were the day we were married. And yes, I would still marry Johnny, the love of my life twenty years from now, just as I did 21 years ago. Yesterday, today and tomorrow what I know is this, our marriage and the love we share isn't about where we've been but instead it's about where we're going.
"I'll never finish falling in love with you." ~ Bliss