I am writing this on the eve of my 15th wedding anniversary. This may just seem like an ordinary milestone but for me it is so much more. 15 years ago we were surrounded by so many people who thought we would never make it past the first year. Many of our family and friends were pretty outspoken on all the reasons we shouldn't get married and all of the ways our marriage would fail. We had haters before haters was even a word.
We had a lot of things going against us. We were starting off our married life with a baby boy on the way. We literally got married and became parents 22 days later. Shawn was in school and worked full time. I was in school and worked full time. We had very little money and already had stupid, frivolous debt. I had never lived on my own and knew nothing about paying bills or taking care of myself. Shawn had lived on his own for the year we were dating but I can safely say that he was a work in progress. We had nothing... except ferocious amounts of love, faith and courage.
15 years later I can still say that those 3 virtues continue to lead us. We love unconditionally. This has been tested through the years. We have had to work on loving each other, even when it seemed so hard. But, true love does not have an ending. You have to work selflessly on loving someone, at times, even more than you love yourself. You have to keep that promise to love each other... NO MATTER WHAT. And, guess what I have learned in 15 years... it is hard. It is soul aching, heart wrenching effort to do that on some days. But you commit to it and you keep that promise.
You have to challenge yourself daily to reflect on the person you are walking life with. How have they changed you? How do they make you a better person? By asking these questions, your love continues to grow. Shawn has loved me more than he should with no regard for anything else
He has never given up on me or our marriage. He is the hardest working man I know with no depths to his integrity and character. It makes me stronger in my own character. And most importantly, he is the best father that has ever walked this earth- he gives my children wings and confidence. He has created in them a drive to make every one of their dreams come true. He is their soft place to fall and motivates them to be better than they ever could have imagined being. I know God gave me shawn to make me stronger, kinder and lighter. He is the reason I get up and begin again every day. Those reasons help me daily to love unconditionally.
We have continued to have faith in each other. Again, this is a pretty tough thing. For me- a stubborn, independent Buckley girl- I never realized how difficult having faith in someone other than myself could be. I have learned that having faith in your partner, even in your toughest trials, will help you come out of the other end. The struggles are a little less difficult when you have faith in the person you share your life with. I know without a doubt that Shawn has my back. He is my protector, my confidante and my backbone.
Faith in each other is great but faith in God is even better. There have been times in the last 15 years where we didn't know what our future would hold. We had to put our faith in God that he would show us the way. Through job changes, personal struggles, multiple kiddos, moves and an adoption you have to keep your eye on the prize. The goal has always been for me, to get to heaven together. That has meant making tough decisions and calling on God when times were hard. I have reminded Shawn of that on his worst days and I know he has reminded me. Those tests are what creates the strong foundation for your marriage. It solidifies the rock in your relationship, and for me, it has been and always will be God.
Lastly, we have had to have courage. In todays wonderful age of self promotion and the "numero uno" mentality, we have been surrounded by people who are vastly different than us. We have had to walk together with courage that we are right and the rest of the world is wrong. This started when we were married and continues, even today. We have made some unpopular decisions that other families have judged us for. Just look at the size of our beautiful family. Don't think that we haven't had to have extraordinary amounts of courage to walk that path against the norm. That courage we had 15 years ago still continues to help us walk the path regardless of who is following.
I am a relatively big God person and don't find a lot of coincidences. I believe most of my life has been guided by His loving hand. Meeting Shawn was just another divine stop on my life adventure. Shawn was the boy who I was meant to walk this earth with. The one who was meant to be the father of my children. The one with whom I was destined to change the world. He is the exact balance to who I am. He is the calm to my storm. He is the safety belts to my roller coaster. I am the architect and he is the builder of my dreams.
After 15 years I know for sure that I could not have become the person I am with out him. He has made me a better person. It is my hope that after 15 years he can say the same.