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I was crazy about you before you ever spoke a word to me. I watched you from across the room in our college government class from the very first day of class until you finally noticed me a whole month later.

Asking me if I had transferred into the class was not the smoothest move, but in reality, you could have told me I had toilet paper stuck to my shoe, and I would have been thrilled that you were talking to me.

Looking back, I can see how broken and lost I was. I think I wanted someone to save me. You, on the other hand, were heartbroken and apparently not into brunettes. Sounds like a match made in heaven.

The fact that we got married at 20 and 22 is still crazy to me. We were like tiny little babies. How did we have any clue what we were doing?

Maybe that’s part of it. We really didn’t know what we were doing. We had to grow up together. We both had to deal with our mess together. And boy, was it messy.

We fought a lot. We were both stubborn and strong willed, and neither one of us wanted to back down. So we fought, and made up. Over and over and over again.

Later we would learn a few things about marriage and about each other. I would learn that you needed my respect and my trust. You would learn that I needed your love and adoration. And slowly, but surely we would get better at this thing called marriage.

I can’t picture my life without you in it anymore. I’ve almost spent half of my life with you by my side.

Thinking about the way you love me, is humbling. You have seen me at my worst, my lowest, my scariest. But you’ve also seen me at the top, at my most joyful and adventurous moments, and you have loved me and adored me through every single up and down.

Our marriage counselor drew that picture for us. A jagged line on a piece of paper. He told us that our marriage would have highs and lows and that some of the lows would be lower than we could imagine, but if we could endure them, if we could stand by each other through them, the highs, oh the highs, they would so much higher. 

I’ve never forgotten that. I don’t remember anything else about marriage counseling. Something about a compliment sandwich (start with a compliment, then complain or nag, then end with a compliment). Obviously that’s not it. In case you’re wondering, that has never worked for us. (see previous paragraph about the fighting).

I don’t expect that we’ve seen the last of the lows. I’m sure the waves will still come our way, but somehow, we’ve made it this far, and I can honestly say, as a married couple, I think this has been our best year yet.  

If I had to identify one big shift, I would say it’s that we decided to fight on the same team. We made a conscious decision to be team Dalke. And that shift, has made a huge difference.

We also recognized that the devil is out for us, and will continue to be out for us. He hates marriage. And he hates us, because we love marriage, and we fight for it and try to help other people fight for it too.

And to that, we say, “bring it on.” According to your research this morning on marriages, we haven’t quite beat the odds yet, but we’re well on our way.

In case you’re reading this and wondering what other significant changes we’ve made: We carve out time to intentionally communicate and we have shared dreams and goals for our lives and our family.

So what do you say after 14 years of marriage. I think it’s simply thank you. Thank you for dreaming with me, for fighting with me and for me, for seeing the world with me, for having those beautiful babies with me, for loving Jesus, for leading our family, and for adoring me the way you do.

I still don’t believe that God makes one specific person for all of us, but I’m pretty sure he thought the 2 of us would be pretty great together. And we are. We totally are. I can’t wait for the wild and crazy adventure of the next 14 years and more.