In the words of one of your favorite singers, Ed Sheeran
"Loving can hurt, loving can hurt sometimes"
In 12 years, we have said and done things that have hurt. Sometimes even hurt deeply. That first year of marriage that we thought we never would survive. We threw insults and jabs at each other as if they didn't matter, yet they did, they hurt deeply. The year we had our first baby and realized that if we were going to make it, we had to work as a team. I drove away from you once with our baby safely tucked into her carseat. I was determined that I just couldn't work at our marriage anymore, it hurt too much to love deeply and work so hard and not have it be perfect. That time I was a jerk and hurt you so much I truly wasn't sure our marriage was going to survive.
Yes, I would say Ed is correct that loving can hurt.
"When it gets hard, you know it can get hard sometimes"
Every time I hear that lyric, I tear up. When you are standing in the front of a church staring into each other's eyes with the most love you think you will ever have for each other, it is easy to think that life will never get hard.
Until it does.
No one tells you the struggles you will have. There have been times we truly were not sure how we were going to pay that next bill that was due, or even if we would have enough food to put on the table. No one sits down and explains to you what it means to own your own business, and the sacrifices it will take to make that business succeed. No one tells you about that lost baby that felt like every dream inside you was dying. No one would tell you that for 7 months straight you would sink down into a deep depression and cry everyday for your daughter's loss that is just too great.
"Loving can heal. Loving can mend your soul."
Yet there you were, and still are, with your arms wrapped tightly around me just letting me grieve. Through the tears, the depression, and the anger you have been here. Mending a bit of my broken soul each day. Your love for me has healed so much of my broken.
"I swear it will get easier."
We've seen life get hard and easier throughout our 12 years. It is like the ebb and flow of the ocean. I have no doubt the days ahead will be hard, but 12 years in, I know that the easier will follow the hard.
"And if you hurt me that's ok, baby, only words bleed"
How I have hurt you these past years, and I am sure your heart has bled, just as mine has when you have hurt me, but....
"And I won't ever let you go"
No matter what, neither of us is willing to let the other go. When I think of this lyric, I think of hanging on to a board in the ocean, refusing to let go even as you are pulled into the strong current, because when you let go of the other, you drown. Drowning isn't an option.
"Inside the necklace you got when you were 16, next to your heartbeat where I should be."
For my 18th birthday, you got me a Kmart special on a tanzanite and diamond heart necklace, because you knew how much I loved tanzanite. That cheap little necklace has sat next to my heart off and on since that day. I wore it on our wedding day because even though it isn't worth a thing to anyone else, it means something to me knowing that you bought it when you had not a dime to your name.
"We keep this love in this photograph. We made these memories for ourselves. Where our eyes are never closing, our hearts were never broken, times forever frozen still."
12 years Christer. 12 years of photographs that show the memories and love we have for each other. Time and love frozen still in hundreds of photographs taken throughout the years. Photographs don't show the hard times, the are we going to make it times, the heartbreak of loss, or the anger of yesterdays gone by.
But those photographs show love. The love of two broken people who joined together on a warm August day and became one. 12 years later, we have three beautiful daughters who are here because of our love for each other. We have a little home that is still filled with hopes and dreams, they just keep changing through years. We have each other.
Thank you for always loving me. For never leaving me 11 years ago like you maybe should have, or any of the other times since. For proving to me my life phrase of "What is done in love, is done well."
I love you, Christer! Happy 12th Anniversary!
*Words in italics are the words to Ed Sheeran's song Photograph, which you can listen to here.