“All of these lines across my face
Tell you the story of who I am
So many stories of where I’ve been
And how I got to where I am
But these stories don’t mean anything
When you’ve got no one to tell them to
It’s true…I was made for you.”
(“The Story,” Brandi Carlile)
When I said, “I do,” to you seven years ago, you were not my best friend.
Oh, I would have said you were my best friend at the time, and it would have been an ignorant lie, uttered in the naivite of love’s first bloom. I thought we loved each other, believed our love would stand the test of time, but I could only have speculated about the depth to which your love for me would hold true under pressure.
A true friendship cannot be formed until hardship has tested its bonds, hacking at its weaknesses like a battlefield opponent. It is forged of two hearts choosing, despite the circumstances, to live for the other, to draw closer and turn to each other during difficulty, rather than choosing the easier road of running away from the pain. Many a passionate love has been bested by the foes of loss and hardship, and I should not have so flippantly assumed that our love would be immune. Yet, you have exceeded even my most idealistic expectations.
There have been days in the last seven years when I’ve felt as though a tidal wave had raised before me, crashed down on me, beaten me against the rocks, and nearly killed me. But at the end of it all, I’ve raised my head with a gasping breath to find your hand still clinging to mine, keeping me from drowning. You are my rock.
Seven years later, I do find myself older (I know those creases on my face weren’t there before) and wiser (even of things of which I’d rather remain ignorant), but we’re older and wiser together. I know that the same lines are beginning to form on your face, because my story is your story, too. And when I’d wish to blot out the wisdom I’ve gained from moments of sorrow, I remember that without the rainstorms, we never would have had to stand firm together, arms wrapped around each other to keep from being washed away.
I’ve known since we met that God made us for each other, since only He could have brought us together in such unlikely circumstances. Still, I’m in awe of how He has wrapped up in you all of the qualities I desperately need in life. At 22, I never could have known what I would need in a partner, but He did.
My love, you have been the most faithful friend I could ever have hoped for, and I now know that I did marry my best friend on December 31, 2005 . . . I just didn’t know it then.
I love you with all my heart. Life will undoubtedly hold more blessings and hardships for us, but as long as my hand is clasped in yours through it all, I know I can face whatever lies ahead of us. Here’s to 50 more years of life on earth together.