Today, January 13th, marks 13 years since Drake and I got married. I’ve heard this is called the “Golden Anniversary” when the number of years we’ve been married corresponds to the day of the month we tied the knot.
So in honor of our “Golden Anniversary” I am posting my personal letter that I read to Drake at our wedding ceremony (we exchanged traditional vows but then read personal letters to each other):
“Wow!” That’s the expression I wrote in my journal the day you caught my eye. Three years ago you were running for president at Biola and during the AS debates you exuded integrity, sincerity, and leadership. Not to mention, you were handsome. My interest was definitely sparked.
“Wow!” That’s the expression I exclaimed over and over again on our first date in May 1993 when we walked to the fountains at city hall and you had set up a blanket with candles, Martinelli’s, and little delicacies. I was wooed by the romance.
“Wow!” That summer after writing letters back and forth you came to visit me in Ventura. Your passion for the Lord was clearly evident in our conversation and I was smitten by your sense of humor and intelligence. I was thrilled when you said you wanted to date me exclusively.
When we broke up in January it was very difficult but I knew God was in control. He had our best in mind.
“Wow!” You asked me to Spring Banquet after we spent a few months without much interaction. You gave me three roses which meant, “No Turning Back”. We knew that decision would change our lives.
Wow!” It was a year later on my birthday. You treated me like a princess. It was over a Scrabble board that you told me you loved me for the first time and then got down on one knee with a proposal.
“Wow!” Here I stand today, nine months later, at the marriage altar. I count it a privilege to be marrying you-a man who loves the Lord deeply, is committed to truth, and always gives his best. You have a sensitivity I have seen in very few men, yet it is coupled with a competitive edge and strength which demands respect. I believe God has incredible plans for your life, and I am humbled that he has allowed me to be a part.
I love you deeply Drake. As I give myself wholly to the Lord I pray I will learn to love you even more. I know there are challenges which lie ahead, yet by God’s grace we can grow stronger through those times. May our Father guide and lead us as we venture forth.
I remember when writing this letter while sprawled on my parents’ dated green couch, I was filled with all the awe, wonder, excitement, nervous energy, and optimism of a young bride. However, I recall a sobering moment when I strongly felt the reality of hardship, knowing we were certain to face challenges. But by no means could I have imagined the suffering, heartache, and brokenness that lay before us.
Amazingly, by God’s grace, I believe we have, in fact, grown stronger through the pain.
I have beautifully seen my husband’s fortitude, resilience, passion, fierceness, patience, persistence, tenderness, determination, humility, faithfulness and grace through unimaginable circumstances and am convinced I married one of the most honorable men to walk the face of this earth; I continue to be humbled that God has allowed me to be part of his life. Of course, Drake is deeply wounded, but he allows me to engage his excruciating pain, meanwhile holding and caring for me in my own devastation. He sacrifices daily, is committed appropriately, and gives of Himself generously to our family. Drake is an even more amazing man than I ever imagined that warm January afternoon when he stood across from me as my groom.
I am now acutely aware that “for better or for worse” can mean “for better or dreadfully awful”. But… the refining that occurs when you walk through the fire together can lead to a relationship valued like a precious alloy. So some may call it our “Golden Anniversary” because we’re celebrating 13 years on the 13th, but I’d like to think it’s because we’ve been refined and purified by the fire, giving us a union of gold.
I believe in you and love you SO much Drakey!