I met my husband, Marty, when I was just nineteen years old. Back then, life was noisy and uncertain. Though I had been a cautious teenager, and had made careful plans for the future, nothing had turned out the way I had expected. At the time, it seemed my whole life was broken and I felt powerless to put the pieces back together.
I was a college sophomore, lived on a huge university campus and I was surrounded by thousands of people. And yet, I felt completely alone. I dutifully attended classes and was told I had a bright future, but my eyes only saw the uncertainties before me. Important relationships, which I had built my hopes upon, had broken apart. Dear friendships had been lost. Life was on a track I had not anticipated. In many ways, I felt like a total failure at the tender age of nineteen.
Then I met Marty. We were introduced over lunch. I was eating. He was working. I still remember the first time my eyes locked with his. It was surreal to feel so connected to someone whom I had never spoken. As I looked into his gentle blue eyes, I saw someone who made the world a bit less scary. I wanted to know him better, but was sure he would not be interested in a girl like me.
Our first picture together as a couple...our story was just beginning.
He told me once that what he remembers most about that first encounter was that he saw a pretty girl with a broken smile. It made me grin knowingly when he shared his perception. Even then, he knew me better than I knew myself. When he looked at me, I felt as though he could see me...the real me. The me I tried to hide from everyone out of fear of discovery. I never worried about that with Marty. With him, my heart was safe. I knew that right away. As we spent more time together, I began to shed my layers of guarded suspicion, and let him into my world and my heart.
In the weeks after we met, Marty and I spent so many special moments together during our ordinary days. Laughing. Dancing. Strolling. Talking. With Marty at my side, I felt my fears of life begin to subside as I started to believe in myself again. He lavished me in a love so innocent and sweet, and I found him irrestistible. My guard was down as I slowly fell in love with the sweet boy taking up so much of my time. Never before had anyone made such attempts to win my heart. Day by day, the storm that had raged in my life for so long, seemed to quiet as Marty earned my trust with his faithful and constant ways.
Truly, God placed these two hearts together for all eternity. Marty and I said "I Do" nineteen years ago today. Now, his wife and the mother to our three children, I hardly recognize the girl who once looked at life with such trepidation. With Marty's love, I have become a woman far more confident than the young girl he met in the cafeteria that crisp, fall afternoon so long ago.
Today, our life is still noisy, as the sounds of three children fill the rooms of our home each day. We have had ups and downs as the years have quickly passed. I have known him for half of my life and I thank God everyday that he is mine. Sometimes, life still feels a bit scary. But, when I look into Marty's eyes, I find the courage to stand firm and smile in the face of uncertainty. What a difference nineteen years, and this man, has made in my life.
Happy Anniversary, Marty. My heart will always be yours.