A decade of living, loving, laughing, crying, parenting, and adulting has taught me a few things.
The memory of meeting David is as alive and vivid as yesterday, making the almost 20 years between then and now seem like a blink. I don’t recall much else about that day, but I’m certain when I woke up, got dressed, and went to school, the thought of meeting my future husband never crossed my mind. My friend invited me to a special event at her church, and as we waited for everything to start, I happened to glance toward the door just in time. Across a room full of strangers, our eyes met for a moment. When I saw him, butterflies tickled my insides and somehow I just knew. It sounds ridiculous, I know. We were practically babies - all caught up in the drama of high school and with so much life and possibility in front of us. But I knew somehow, someday, that man would become my husband. Please don’t let me mislead you, it wasn’t love at first sight, and we didn't run to an altar as soon as I turned 18. There were 9 years of togetherness (and some intense seasons of not-togetherness) between the day David first held my hand in my parents’ living room and the day we vowed to spend our lives together. But in the mess of those 9 years, we found a true friendship and appreciation for each other.
David and the journey of figuring out how to be married, have taught me so much about myself, about God, and about togetherness.
Here are my Top 10 Take-Aways from the last decade:
- I’m way more selfish than I ever thought. As an only (and slightly strong-willed) child, I came into all of this togetherness, compromise, and shared bathrooms with a whole lot of independence and preferences. Marriage (shortly followed by parenting) is one big opportunity to sacrifice, defer, and find middle ground. Iron doesn’t sharpen iron without making some sparks, but there’s plenty of joy to be found in the process if we pay attention.
- A working budget is pure gold. Dave Ramsey’s voice plays a very active role in our financial decisions, and because we found him in our second year of marriage, we haven’t ever fought about money. Like most newlyweds, we were broke, but those pennies sure stretched further with a plan! Some months we stick to the straight and narrow, while other months we go entirely off-road, but I’m thankful we have a solid set of budgeting tools to go back to.
- Commitment isn’t always comfortable. 3 months into wedded bliss, our world fell apart. Tragedy after tragedy shook us and almost broke us. None of it was our doing, but life is like that sometimes. Grief, anger, and deep sorrow settled in like a 3rd roommate. I remember crying in the bathroom one day for an hour (because when you are married, there’s suddenly nowhere to run other than to the bathroom) - out of desperation, calling out to God with very loud cries, “This is not what I signed up for! If this is how our life is going to be, I can't do this!!” So lovingly and patiently God whispered, “What ever gave you the impression commitment was going to be comfortable? This is not about you. You will do this and I will be with you.” Message received. And day by day, one foot in front of the other, by God’s strength and grace, we eventually crawled out of the darkness…together.
- Romance isn’t dead. Even if the butterflies disappear (which they absolutely do sometimes), you can always conjure some up with a little thought and intention. Intentionally sit beside each other on the couch. Hold hands in the car. Plan a date night. Call to just say “I love you.” The key is to always - and I do mean always - move toward each other, no matter how easy it would be to drift apart.
- Be best friends. David is my favorite person to spend time with, hands down. When great things happen, he is the first person I want to tell. When sad things happen, he is the first person I want to tell. We belly laugh and sing 90’s country at the top of our lungs. We drink pots of coffee and try new food. We hang out and go places. We make time to just be friends.
- Kids change things. Becoming parents felt like a far greater challenge than getting married. I can sum it up in 3 words: loss of freedom. So-long weekly date nights and the easy life of planning weekend get-aways. The sleeplessness and crying (sometimes the baby, sometimes me) left us grumpy for about 18 months. I mean, we adored Abigail and she brought plenty of joy, but it was a tough adjustment for two independent souls. We fell into bed exhausted at the end of the day, and our awake hours centered around this new little person. We finally found some balance and got happy about our new routine somewhere around her second birthday.
- Words matter. Whether you say them to each other, or to other people, you can’t take them back. In the beginning, we agreed to guard each other’s reputation with others by not venting about the other, and we promised to not say hurtful, mean words to each other. As husband and wife, our words hold so much power: to lift up, or to deliver devastating blows. I feel secure and protected knowing my name is safe in David’s mouth.
- I’m the founder and most active member of the David King Fan Club. I’m 100% his biggest fan. David is an amazing father, an incredible worship pastor, a faithful and loyal friend to many, and a solid leader who operates with the utmost integrity. I want every dream he has to become reality, and I’m so happy to cheer him on.
- Conflict is healthy. We have endured a few really intense disagreements through the years, a handful of sleepless nights (just me - David can sleep through anything), and countless silly tiffs. But we fight fair - no yelling, no inappropriate language, and no losing our tempers. We learn things about each other because we disagree. We grow because we disagree. On the other side of disagreement, when done well, is better communication. Somewhere around year three, we got much better at apologizing quickly when we were in the wrong. A genuine “I’m sorry” is so important.
- Close the drawers and roll the toothpaste. Two adults living in the same house is a recipe for petty annoyances. The whole toothpaste thing is legit. I squeeze, David rolls. It’s been 10 years people, and I’m just now realizing how much it actually irritates him that I squeeze it. So, I have one of two options: buy two tubes of toothpaste or learn to roll. I also have this terrible habit of not closing my drawers all the way. I have no idea why. There’s probably some deep psychological explanation. Regardless, David is forever going behind me closing all the drawers. God bless that man. Yielding to some preferences to save the other from irritating annoyances is worth the extra effort. So yes, I’ve started rolling the toothpaste…when I remember.
The last 10 years have produced a rich love that is deep and secure and full of wonder. It’s been tested by complete devastation and marked by pure joy, and through all of the mountains and valleys, it remains. We remain.