I wanted him to ask. Knowing this was the man I wanted to walk the road with. Until the end.
It wasn't easy for him. His experience told him you couldn't always trust. He wasn't convinced that I wouldn't leave. Didn't know how to be sure I wouldn't let him down- to believe we would always walk together.
But he leapt. Asked anyway. Despite the fear. And mine was a resounding Yes.
Eight months later, it was I Do. We started taking tentative steps along that road, now wide enough for our 'two become one'. Following behind the one who saves.
And at first it wasn't what we thought. The absence of bliss was the most notable thing. Where was the honeymoon, we asked one another. The warm home, the garden of roses.
Yet we continued to walk. Wobbly steps. Unsure feet. Shoes that were all wrong - heels that you wanted to take off, thongs that weren't made to endure. Rocks, sticks, even logs on that path - making it difficult to walk. Unpleasant even.
The commitment we made though, meant faltering was not an option. So we pressed forward despite the fatigue. We became veritable loggers and excavators. Some days it was a rock of selfishness, others a log of pride, still another a branch of anger. But each day we were gathering, placing things to the side. Building something good from the debris.
There were times when we couldn't see the progress, but occasionally gained some clarity, and could see clearly the path set before us. Slowly, the kindling was enough for a fire, the rocks a garden, and the logs a home. Pride was replaced by humility, selfishness became service, and hardness, love.
Fifteen years have passed. We walk confidently now, sure of our footing. Just an occasional pebble or twig. But carefully watching, knowing strong winds, storms or floods can cause devastation in a moment. Protecting all we have built with determination.
I'm excited and intrigued about the road over the coming fifteen years. No idea what the map looks like, where it will lead. But excited to be forging ahead. And so very thankful for the man beside me.
- Him asking The Question, trusting me.
- Faith in a God who transforms.
- Determinedly sneaking moments, amongst our life with six, to build our life as one.
- Songs with memories of their own.
- Adjustments from us both, so we continue to move closer together rather than apart.
- Shared, dear friends, who have walked with us.
- The example of the ultimate servant.
- The gift of four boys, increasing our joy.
- Building memories together, through renovating, travel, friends, laughter, life.
- Moves so we depend most on our Lord and each other, rather than our community.
- The ability to laugh when our home is complete madness.
- Deciding very early that this was forever, no matter what.
- A sense of humour - essential - especially for Tony when I am hungry and tired.
- Learning how to say sorry (fast) and forgive (even when you don't feel like it).
- Being unsure of what the next season will bring - but knowing the one who leads.