10 years.

Ten years ago today my life changed and took on a course that I never could’ve imagined. I married Alissa Schmidt.

You think you know who you’re getting when you get married. You think “I can walk through life with this person.” Here’s the thing though: a good life isn’t a walk, a good life is an adventure. It has great days and bad days. There’s being a parent with no prior experience, bills, intense personal growth, cross-country moves, flared tempers without filters, being brought to tears together by something sweet your son says, and having all you stand for brought into question and finding that God and each other is all you really need.4987_114762400406_1410289_n

You can’t see all that in one afternoon where you’re young and dressed to the nines.

What I could see? I could see enduring integrity and character, inner beauty that radiated through outer beauty, honesty that whether it felt good or not, if you listened, it could make you better. And loyalty and love that were intertwined in a way that made me feel safer than I’d ever felt before. I’d say a pretty good base from which to jump off wouldn’t you?

What I couldn’t see? Where worry usually wins out, when push comes to shove she has a fearlessness that is inspiring. She will sacrifice her own needs for her family in a way I could never dream of doing. She mixes in just the right amount of common sense and heart into big decisions. She makes friends (like good friends with good people) because she knows it feeds for her soul. She can see the sacred in most anything. She is physically tough. I watched her recover from 3 births. She elevated the word “tough” to a whole other level. She loves to be right- wait, I actually did know that 10 years ago. She’s an amazing cook- took a gamble on this one. It wasn’t looking good there for a bit. These are just a few of the things that I’ve discovered about her.

My point is that 10 years brings so much out of a person and I’ve been happily bewildered and amazed how time consistently reveals that on March 22, 2003 I had only a faint clue of what Alissa Schmidt could do and be. Our life together has been marked by love, laughter, tears, forgiveness, honesty, kid-craziness, money-managing, negative people-navigating and faith-defining. You don’t go through these things as a static person, you grow and change and morph. And if a few of the basics are in place you bless the ones you love just by sheer virtue of living life with them. I am blessed. I am blessed to be married to Alissa Edwards for these past ten years. I am blessed to have fallen in love with someone that I keep falling in love with over and again.

Babe, happy 10 yr anniversary, I love you. I love that our “banter” has a ten year history and I’m excited to continue that conversation for the rest of my time on the globe. I’ve been thinking about it though… in Heaven- it’s me or the dog. 😉

Reflecting on the first 35: Marriage

What a way to get real with another human being. I mean, God HAD to be the designer of this thing, because otherwise, no one, I mean, no one would know me as well as Alissa does. Yet…she loves me.

If you’re not familiar with our story, I was a Resident Assistant at Arizona State University and in the Fall of 1999, she became a resident in the dorm where I was working. I didn’t mind assisting her one bit. Over the months of living in the same building we struck up a friendship. She was fun and outgoing and would, to my pleasure, stick around the front desk for a little conversation from time to time. Now that year, I and a couple of VERY mature buddies compiled a Top10 list of the babes in our dorm. Alissa, through unanimous vote, won the election of #1 due to looks AND personality. The next couple of years found us occasionally hiking together, her coming to see me sing in a blues band, and us going to my church together.
One Spring day one of my top10 list co-creator buddies Eric, Alissa, and I were tossing the frisbee around. As I watched her throw the disc terribly, not give me an ounce of credit for being amazingly athletic, laugh easily, and those eyes… Given how much I knew her and what I was seeing, I felt so strongly that her and I would be perfect together. The Fall of 2001 we began dating, we we were married March 22, 2003 and now, here we are with two kids and talking occasionally about what 3 kids would look like.

The capacity of the human heart/soul is immeasurable. I think there are two distinct ways in which this is true. The first being our capacity to stretch in order to love. Alissa has watched me both succeed and flounder as a man, as a husband, and as a father for these short 7 plus years. Under her gaze I have striven to overcome my demons and overthrow my baggage. Her just scrutiny, cheering praise and near-daily grace, feels unreal but so right. I believe that she’s thrown caution to the wind with her forgivenesses. We’ve taken hopeful and careful notes during the offences. With two boys, we look at those kids, and depending on the moment, we are moved to love one another even more. Each new discovery about each other is welcome fuel for a fire that smolders just under our conversations.

The second being our capacity to be loved. Our hearts and souls are fluid and deep. They are never static. Let me say it like this. Our hearts are the canvas, who we are at the core is the paint, and our environment (life) is the brush. Since life is constantly being breathed into it, the painting of “us” is an unending, unpredictable, utterly unique artwork in progress. To gaze at each other for a length of time means we can watch the colors in strokes-past dry and mature, while discover in wonder the new swirls and shapes that appear on the painting. I would say that this completely eliminates boredom with another person so long as one is actually paying attention.

I believe in eternity. I believe that in the next age I will be swimming in the infinite sea of the heart of God and that my soul will be constantly responding in exhilaration to new revelations and findings. I believe that marriage is a gentle reflection of that. Of course it’s not always a peaceful, blissful manifestation of angelic splendor, but then again we aren’t angels. We’re human. We’re beautiful. We’re ugly. We’re together. And there’s no place I’d rather be. I love you Alissa.