Eighteen years ago, Wendy and I made the conscious decision to share our lives together. We were both in our late 20's and had a whole lot of life experience under our belts. We were both enlisted in the US Army. We had both had previous relationships. We both had graduated from college, each working our way through.
When we made the decision, we knew that it would require an ongoing commitment to work together. Love is not a state into which, or out of which, you fall. It is a state of commitment to working with the other person, and having them equally committed to working with you. There is a lot of give and take.
We have had our ups and downs. We fight from time to time. Early on, we each considered giving up ... I was even told several times that Wendy wanted a divorce. We agreed to a few rules of engagement ... for instance, no walking out on each other during a fight. I have learned to try and watch what I say during a fight ... it has a way of coming back up even years later ... and try to keep in mind the commitment we have each made to the other. And, we remain committed.
Being married, in our culture, seems as disposable as paper towels. When the towel is used up, we throw it in the trash. When the car breaks down, we buy a new one. What we fail to realize is that any car (relationship) will need a tune up now and then, regardless of how new and shiny it is. Giving up and moving on to another relationship may feel really good in the beginning, but eventually you will need to make the decision to work through the hard stuff, or move on. Wendy and I have chosen to work together.
We have grown into the family that we are. We started out like the average american couple ... we watched television, we ate fast food, we wanted all of the new toys and gadgets. Over time we have grown, together, to where we are now ... homesteading, working toward self sufficiency, foraging, watching our incredible children grow into wonderful people. We won't be the same people in a few short years, because we are continuing to evolve. More and more, we find that we relish the simple things in life, the simple gifts of a touch, the sharing of a story or song, the thrill of meeting a new plant or learning a new skill, or the tears of joy from witnessing something beautiful.
We have worked together from the beginning ... planning our visits with our older kids, detailing timelines for having another child before leaving the military, laying out garden bed plans, raising livestock, delivering our own baby together at home, learning survival skills, and writing a book together. We have woven a beautiful life together.
Wendy, thank you for the past 18 years. I am eager to see what the future holds. I love you ... yesterday, today, and tomorrow.