Living Life Together: 14 Years
In the summer of 1993, while on a mission’s trip to Quebec, Canada, I met the woman I was to marry. I don’t think either of us realized then the unbreakable bond we were forming as we talked and got to know each other, but something told me this one was different, this time it was for real. Jen was a keeper.
A year later we started dating and in 1995 I proposed. We decided to set the wedding date for June 7, 1997, the summer after I graduated from college. And it would be an extra special occasion because I’d turn 25 on the very same day.
The day came and my life changed forever. I married the girl of my dreams, my soulmate, my best friend. We had big plans to wait to start a family and work the first five years, building a comfortable nest egg. But before we celebrated our one year anniversary, Jen announced she was pregnant. So much for plans.
Our family grew quickly with another daughter added 21 months later and a third 20 months after that. Our plans had been foibled but we didn’t care. We were happy. We had a new house, I had a steady job, the girls were cute as buttons. Finances were tight as we decided early on that Jen would stay home with the children, sacrifices were made. But we had each other.
Things went well for the next four years. Then in 2006 our youngest daughter was diagnosed with idiopathic thrombocytopenia (ITP), a rare blood clotting disorder. Her little legs were riddled with bruises and her platelet count dropped so sharply the doctor feared she would hemorrhage if they got any lower. Times got tense, fear lurked like an ominous shadow. But we had each other and our little baby girl pulled through just fine.
In 2008 the infamous phone call came, “Michael, I’m sorry but you have colon cancer.” The biggest and baddest of monsters had reared its tumorous head. Again, fear was there, uncertainty, stress and strain. But we had each other and we travelled that valley together, hand in hand.
Then in late 2009 that same youngest daughter was again diagnosed with a menacing disease, this time it was called juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA). Doctor appointments followed, tests, MRIs, more appointments. Uncertainty again, fear, worry, they were all there. But we had each other. Thankfully, a medication was found that has kept the symptoms at bay for months now.
Just a year ago, another suprise came. We found out Jen was pregnant with our fourth. A total surprise that caught us off-guard and had us scrambling to once again adjust our plans and lifestyle. But we had each other and together we praise God for our little surprise.
We’ve been married now for 14 years. There’s been many hills and valleys that have tested our bond, our commitment to each other. Many things that could have pulled us apart and destroyed our marriage. We’ve seen the best in each other and the worst. We’ve been there in sickness and in health, in the best of times and, man oh man, in the worst of times. Jen has gone way beyond the call of duty in caring for me, way beyond what anyone would expect of her in putting up with me. We’ve been angry with each other and thrilled with each other. We’ve laughed, we’ve cried, we’ve mourned, and we’ve rejoiced.
But through it all we’ve had each other. And I wouldn’t change a thing.