Five years ago today, I married the Chris Graham.
Every once in a while, it crosses my mind how odd it is that we’re together. How perfectly odd. And how much God is in control and I’m not. Because He did it better than I ever could have dreamed.
I have known Chris since high school. We grew up in the same church, our paths crossing every now and then, but not ever being friends. He was a year behind me in school, a band geek, and beyond scrawny. The opposite of everything I found attractive. I have pictures from CIY trips or service projects we participated in together, but I don’t remember him being there, he wasn’t on my radar and I wasn’t on his.
Five years pass.
College and jobs, family struggles and my alcohol issues, boyfriends and girlfriends, completely different people from when we’d seen each other last, we meet again. Our mutual friends, three guys from our church, are all home from college and we all start hanging out together again. Bonfires, camping trips, and bonfires. Lots and lots of bonfires. Chris is playing for the youth group band with another mutual friend. We are around each other all the time. He’s still scrawny and a band geek. But this time, I am interested. He, he is not.
But because I am
pushy persausive, we start hanging out more without our other friends. Egg Roll #1 takeout and movies at his house. Long drives in the middle of nowhere, smoking Black and Milds, getting lost and listening to music.
We date for six months and then he breaks up with me. We spend a summer apart. I have never been more sad in my entire life. My family suggests counseling because I just can’t get over it. I’d had relationships end before, but this one I couldn’t recover from. I lost twenty pounds in a month. That was the only positive from that summer.
We started dating again in the fall, he proposed nine months later, and we got married five months after that. It was perfect. We were married in the church we both grew up in, by the minister who watched us grow up, surrounded by people that helped us do the growing. Our reception was held downtown in the historic Stutz building in the owner’s private car gallery. An old freight elevator carried guests up to the third floor. We dined on fried chicken and ate carmel apples from our favorite orchard. We talked and laughed with friends as we stood next to old cars worth more money than I’ll make in my lifetime. We danced and cried. It was an amazing night.
And it was five years ago. That seems so long ago. We were so naive. Marriage is hard. Hard, but worth it. And I wouldn’t change anything if I had to do it over again. Even the rough, painful stuff. I’d keep it all. Because out of that mess came some pretty amazing stuff.
Happy anniversary, Crispy. Thanks for being the most patient man I have ever met. For always listening and offering help only when I ask, because you know I’d rather do it on my own. Thank you for my beautiful babies and how well you take care of them. And for being the best daddy in the whole world. Thank you for making me laugh daily, even when you’re not meaning to. Thank you for being the manual labor for all my crazy ideas and for trying things you know won’t work because I’m too stubborn to believe you. Thank you for the millions of back and feet rubs when I was pregnant with our babies, for putting socks on me when I’m too cold to move, and for continuing to fight through your addictions. Thanks for mastering the perfect pancake, for folding clothes, and for loving me. Because I know that’s not an easy thing to do. Thanks for being at the end of the aisle waiting for me five years ago. And thanks for staying. I can’t wait to see what the next five years hold.