It’s the weekend of November 15, which means it’s been exactly 10 years since our very first kiss. Amy was seventeen and it was at the end of our second official date on her parents’ driveway. Our first date was four days earlier on Jordan’s 18th birthday. Amy bought him apple pie a la mode at… wait for it… Applebee’s. Romantic, right? But November 15 is the date we officially became “boyfriend and girlfriend,” during our senior year of high school, a time in life when people ask you things like that. It’s the date that kicked off this amazing ten-year adventure. It’s our starting line for forever. Yep, November 15th will always have a special place in our hearts.
So much has changed in the past 10 years, but at the same time, so much has stayed exactly the same. The one thing that has caught us by surprise, though, over the years, maybe that we never saw coming, maybe that we couldn’t have seen coming because when you’re young you can’t see these types of things coming (did that even make sense?), is what Brad Paisley wrote so famously in And I thought I loved you then… Those words have rang truer and truer for us every day for the last 3,650 days, but even more true and clearer in the past few years. As we’ve stepped out of our comfort zones together to do things we never imagined 10 years ago that we’d do, like quit our jobs and start a business, or go on a European excursion, or speaking to live audiences about the intersection and consequent balance of life, work, family, friends, faith, and of course: love.
Now, of course, these ten years haven’t been perfect. Our marriage is a gift and this partnership has been our greatest blessing, but that doesn’t mean it’s been a cake walk either. Especially in the past few years, as we worked tirelessly at our full-time day jobs, trying to turn this dream into a reality, during some of our hardest, toughest, make-or-break, heart-ache, gut-check moments where we were so tired and so exhausted from living double lives (teachers by day, photographers by night) that we didn’t know our right from our left, our up from our down, and couldn’t see more than a few feet in front of ourselves, we could still see each other. And in those moments, when the going got tough, we got going. And it surprised us, because we never knew what each other was truly made of, what we were made of, until we pushed ourselves to a breaking point where there was nothing left to do but hold onto each other as tight as we could. It was in those moments — the scary ones, the stressful ones, the crying-on-the-bathroom-floor moments — where we found ourselves more closely connected to God and each other than ever before, where our priorities were right where they should’ve been all along, and where we could honestly look at each other and say, I’ve got everything I need in the world right in front of me, and for as much as thought I loved you before, I’ve never loved you more.
So we propose a toast for this weekend! For November 15th. Here’s to ten more years, and decades beyond. Here’s to us. Here’s to love. Here’s to life not always being perfect — because we’re not — but always living with a fundamental belief that if we start with a premise of love, the right conclusion will always follow.
Photo Credit: Annamarie Akins