He would be so embarrassed if he knew I was writing a post about him. He is good and humble, and hates a lot of attention. (I've specifically been instructed NOT to throw him a 30th birthday party next year under any circumstances.)
Bryan's family moved to Colorado from Texas a few months before mine did. We never went to school together, but met in youth group at church. Actually I take that back. I don't remember meeting him, but I do remember the first time I saw him, and I specifically remember thinking (in my 13-year-old very practical head), "If I had to marry any boy in this room, it would be him." Oh goodness. When my parents told me we were moving from Oklahoma to Colorado, my little world basically ended. I was not new to moving, but being in the 8th grade and really needing my friends made it a lot harder. I remember my Dad trying to make me feel better by saying something along the lines of "Maybe you will meet the boy you will grow up to marry." (It didn't work, I probably just started crying and stormed off mumbling something about how there were plenty of boys in Oklahoma to marry.)
So anyways. Bryan was the cute boy in youth group. SO cute. I believe the word we frequently used was "hot" but I digress. He was quiet but a good leader, and played baseball, which I liked. I had a crush on him on and off for the next few years (along with a few other boys) but never even halfway expected for him to like me back.
To make this long, fairly cheesy story short, Bryan did (for some strange reason) take an interest during my junior year of high school, we started dating (a little over 11 years ago), and the rest is history.
(I tried to find an old photo of us and this was the best I could do on short notice. Freshmen/Sophomore year. Also, the titles and captions of my early Facebook albums are 100% embarrassing.)
I remember teachers, friends, and other adults telling me that our relationship wouldn't last....you know, that we would both change too much and want to date other people. That maybe we should take a break from each other....experience life on our own. We ignored them for the most part, aside from a two week breakup in college (that made me feel like I was missing my arm), and eventually got married a few months after I turned 21 and Bryan had graduated from college.
I never, for a second, had cold feet, and didn't think a thing of it when we walked down the aisle.
BUT. Since then, in the last six years, I would be lying if I said that I haven't questioned if those people who warned us were right more than a few times. Marriage is....not hard, but it forces compromise, selflessness, and forgiveness. I could go all Christian on you and say it forces you to be like Jesus, which is true, but we've all heard that sermon. It forces you to look at the ugliest parts of yourself, and unfortunately tempts you to look at the ugliest parts of your spouse. You all know this, I'm sure.
The wonderful thing about marriage and all of its challenges is that you get to keep trying. And you get to try with this person that you picked. And if you picked a good one, you get to learn and grow and experience a beautiful, ordinary life that is full of huge ups and deep downs but that you weather together because you've learned to try together.
I am realizing more and more each day and each year that most of my qualms with Bryan and with our marriage are no fault of his but are faults of my heart and my perspective. That could sound really crappy for me, but really, when considering the importance of my marriage, it's the best thing I could know. (And I am constantly learning this, there is no end to my flaws.)
I picked a good person and have always known it. You guys. Bryan is a good, good man. He helps me without being asked to, he is the first out of bed and home after it's dark and bathes the kids and puts them to bed and does the dishes each and every night. He is calm and genuine and refuses to be jealous or petty. He is a better, more patient parent than I ever could be and is always content with what he has. He is so sensitive to me and to what I feel and to what I am struggling with. He gives me so much grace.
We have been through a series of highs and lows throughout our relationship (I'd like to think there have been much more of the first and much less of the latter), and I pray for many, many more. The highs are fun and the lows make us stronger, and teach us to love harder. We are in a nice little high right now, so things are easy and low-key and I am so thankful, but mostly, I am thankful for this man I married. He has taught me so much and loves me so well and I am so grateful to God for creating him and for him being born on this day, 29 years ago.
Happy Birthday, Bryan! Thank you for loving me. And for giving me some really cute kids.