Four years ago, I made a promise. It went something like this.
In the name of God, I, Julie, take you, James, to be my husband, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, until we are parted by death. This is my solemn vow.
The last sentence here really strikes me. THIS IS MY SOLEMN VOW. Sometimes I wonder if people really think about what they're doing when they commit to spending the rest of their lives with someone. The idea that about half of all couples married in the U.S., at some point, decide to call it quits is, in fact, solemn.
Someone I know (who shall remain nameless) finalized her divorce yesterday. She was married for 13 years in a loveless, abusive, unhappy marriage, and finally decided to give him that divorce he wanted. Two other friends (who will also remain nameless), who sadly have young children, are facing the possibility of divorce - one largely due to financial disputes, the other due largely to bad decision-making. I know marriage is tough, but isn't it worth fighting for? Sometimes, as in the first case I mention here, divorce seems like the only option. Often, I think people just give up because it gets too hard.
Out of curiousity, I went looking for some divorce statistics. Here is what I found - Number, Timing, and Duration of Marriages and Divorces: 1996 . Just read the first page.
Considering the sad state of marriage in our country, I decided that we're doing our part. I think one of the greatest gifts we can give our children is provide them with a stable, loving home where they have parents who, not only love them, but love each other. Well, we're not perfect, but we're doing our best to bring out the best in one another.
Today, James and I celebrate our 4th wedding anniversary, and I continue to be thankful and feel truly blessed that I get to spend my life with such an amazing person. We have our good days and our bad ones, but the good days make it easy to forget the bad. Parenthood really adds a new dynamic to marriage, and I love to be reminded of all the reasons I chose James - like when I watch him playing with our children.
Brace yourself, James, because I'm about to do something you say (when you're mad) I never do: give you a lot of credit. You are a wonderful, and extremely capable father and husband. I don't know many dads that take all 3 of their kids under the age of 3 out shopping by themselves or volunteer to watch them so their wives can get some time away from the house. I love that Jameson told you that "You took good care of me and babies, Dad." because he's absolutely right. In many ways, you are far more capable than I am as a parent.
I cannot think of a better way to spend my life and raise a family than with such a capable partner. Somehow you always know when I need you to jump in and rescue me from myself. I think our kids know it too. Last night was a perfect example. After a late-night, making my much-delayed iPhoto calendar, I was in no state of mind to stay up all night with Jameson. You sent me to bed and somehow still managed to comfort him all night. Even better, you stayed home with him so I could get some work done. Your children are as lucky to have you as I am.
No matter what the statistics say, I plan to keep my promise. This is my solemn vow.
Happy Anniversary!(btw - don't tell me I never give you any credit.)