As the final installment in my "Story of Us" series, it's only fitting to return to our wedding day. You know how it goes: first came Love, then came the proposal, then came marriage:)
Next week is our one year anniversary--what better time to revisit our vows, to relive those promises, and to reflect on why we decided to make our love 'legal.' I have our vows typed up and framed to keep a visual reminder of our words....you know, just for physical evidence. I was hoping Nate would vow to rub my feet every night until we are 80 but he forgot to add that line. Wouldn't it be nice if I could just walk over and tap the glass encasing our vows and say, "Honey? Remember that you promised to rub my feet?" Eh, a girl can dream.
We decided to write our own personal wedding vows and we didn't share them with each other until the ceremony. In true Julia style I finished mine MONTHS before the wedding and perfected them over time while Nate waited until two days before the wedding to begin writing them. I find it quite amusing that we both mentioned many of the same promises without sharing our thoughts before hand. And yes, it was extremely nerve wracking but worth the minor anxiety attack prior to walking down the aisle.
It goes without saying that I don't want anyone to use these vows as their own. I'm pretty sure the marriage gods would strike you down and curse you with bad karma for at least seven years. Nevertheless I feel like sharing as a part of our story, so here it goes:
"I look forward to spending the rest of my life with you, Julia. From the day I met you I knew that we had a unique connection, a special attraction that has helped mold our relationship over the past five years and will help mold and develop our relationship for the rest of our lives.
I am here to give you my word, to promise you that I will be the best man that I know how to be. I promise to be faithful. You are the one for me, and as a team we will push on and meet the obstacles of life as they arise. Our strength together far exceeds our strength as individuals.
I promise to protect you, to keep you safe and to provide you with the best life possible. We may not always have everything, but as long as we can find happiness within ourselves we will live a rich life.
When the time comes I promise to be a great dad. I have two wonderful role models to follow, and just as our dads did, I promise to be there for our children, to love them unconditionally and to teach them the lessons of life.
As the years pass, I promise to keep my love strong, to let the butterflies from our first meeting linger, and to keep our love fresh and new from today until forever.
Our marriage will see its ups and downs--times of prosperity and times of loss, but through it all I promise to stand by your side, to support you, to comfort and encourage you, to love you, and to honor you--I promise to be your soul mate, your best friend, and the man of your dreams."
Julia's vows to Nate:
"Nate, I stand here before you promising to love you forever.
I am not marrying you out of mere convenience--because we've dated for 5 years. I am marrying you because I am up for this challenge, this journey--in a world that says the odds are stacked against us.
I have 7 promises for you today:
CHOICE: I choose you to be my husband, my life partner, my best friend, the father of my children, and the one who will grow old with me.
FAITHFULNESS: I promise to respect you and our marriage by remaining faithful, when we are together and when we are apart, because our marriage is a lifelong commitment based on trust.
HUMILITY: I promise to swallow my pride and admit when I'm wrong in an argument, and to say that I'm sorry when I've hurt you.
SUPPORT: I promise to support you and your dreams--no matter which career path you choose. I will encourage you to be the man that I know you can be in every aspect of life.
CHILDREN: I will raise our children with you, knowing that you and I will be a team that leads by example--just as our parents have done for us--and we'll teach our kids what true love really is.
UNCONDITIONAL LOVE: I will give our marriage 100% of me, striving to makee our relationship stronger each day, even when it's difficult. No matter how hard it is to make our marriage work, and not matter what life brings, I promise that I will never give up on us.
FOREVER: When we are old and gray--when our bodies are aging and our health is fading--I promise to take care of you and stand by your side through it all. I can't wait to be that cute old couple, helping each other down the street, and proving to the world that marriage can last forever.
These are my promises to you on our wedding day."
So yeah, there were lots of sniffles during our vows. Just typing them makes me smile.
It's been quite the year and at times, quite challenging. In our first year of marriage we've had a ridiculous amount of life changes to endure: moving to Milwaukee two days after the wedding, saying goodbye to friends and my family, sharing a household for the first time, deciding on a career path for Nate, having him rejected from dental school but accepted into PT school, me leaving the first Wisconsin job and accepting a second, surviving off one salary while paying for tuition, deciding to move in above the in-laws, making that move and adjusting to our new situation, working together in the same hospital, and supporting each other as a loved one was diagnosed with cancer [love ya, Ker!]. So yeah, lots of ups and downs in our first year of marriage, which is true for many newlyweds.
But I wouldn't change a thing and somehow find myself loving my husband more and more each day. As sickening as it sounds, I can't wait for the next 60 years together because I know we'll only grow closer with time--despite the difficult times.
So here's to our first year and many more to come. And with that I'm off to San Diego!