*While I was on hiatus, I received an anonymous comment asking where the annual anniversary post was. I need no further invitation to take an opportunity to gush about my incredible husband :) So here it is, a couple of weeks belated.*
I was, I'm sure, not unique among new brides when I stood at the altar unable to fathom how I could love that man more than I did that day. But here we are three years later--and I do indeed love him more today.
When people talk of childbirth, they often describe falling in love with a new person. That was my experience...though not like you might expect. I fell in love with a new father. I never imagined that having Steve's child would make me love him so much more deeply. Of course I've always had confidence that he would make a great dad (isn't that usually part of what attracts us to the men we love?). But picturing it is one thing; seeing it surpass your expectations is quite another.
I've often felt that parenting has brought out the worst in me. But it has certainly brought out the best in my husband. (And I've only had one baby to take care of--he had two.) From the first moments in the hospital, when he changed every one of the tar-poop diapers and gave his hormonal, hysterical wife a backrub, Steve rose to the occasion of fatherhood. I lost count of the number of times in those early weeks that I was stunned to tears by the way he took care of not only his infant son, but also his fragile wife. Of course, I cried at a lot of things back then...but still. If I could describe that early postpartum period in one word, it would be "overwhelming"--but part of what overwhelmed me was my husband's tenderness and strength and my growing love for him.
This third year of our marriage has been a trying one. Elijah is a precious gift, to be sure, but the adjustment to motherhood has been very rough for me--and, as a result, very rough on Steve. Yet his patient love has not wavered. Over the last twelve months, he has lived out Paul's exhortation to husbands: "Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her..." His love has been selfless and sacrificial; he has loved me when I have been completely unlovable. He has shouldered my burdens and steadfastly held on to hope when I have felt hopeless.
And so it is that thanks mostly to him, our relationship is stronger and deeper today than it was on that beautiful July day in 2005. I can only pray that sometime down the road, when he is low and struggling, I will be able to uphold and encourage him as he has done so faithfully for me this year.
Happy anniversary, Steve. Here's to many, many more.
(And...a huge THANK YOU to his parents, who watched Elijah while we went out for dinner, and my parents, who then cared for the little guy so Steve and I could get away overnight by ourselves for the first time! What a wonderful anniversary celebration.)