I’m feeling super nostalgic today, I must confess.
Exactly one year ago today Daniel and I were enjoying our very last date night out as an engaged couple. We sat at our favorite restaurant, overlooking the ocean, and talked about everything you can possibly imagine.
We talked about our upcoming wedding and all the things we were excited about, from seeing each other for the first time at the end of the aisle, to communion, to our first kiss, to dancing, to toasts, and to the amazing dinner. We talked about the wedding night and laughed a lot, and we talked about all of the people that we were excited to see at our wedding, including two very special family members coming into town from Alabama.
One of the most important things we discussed was our vows. Daniel and I had both chosen long before this day that we wanted to write our own vows rather than using someone else’s prewritten wedding vows.
For the most part, we had both finished our vows by the time we were talking about them on this date. Even still, we wanted to discuss some key elements of our vows together, but without sharing our exact vows with one another just yet.
One of the things that we discussed in depth was the classic “for richer or for poorer” concept. Although we would never use this exact wording, (do you know us?!) it was important to us, in our own ways, to express that we would stand together no matter what life could throw at us financially.
A week later I got to share my heart on the matter, and hear Daniel’s in return.
One of my favorite lines from his vows was, and still is:
Without question, I have found my pearl of great price, and I would sell all I have to be united to you.
Another one that still brings me to tears is:
I will always be willing to risk a little faith if it means I might know you just a little bit more.
Y’all, these vows (obviously surrounded by other promises that wreck my heart) would move me tears at any wedding and on any given day..
But what I can tell you is that these were not just “wedding day vows” from my husband.
They were marriage vows. Vows to be honored for a lifetime.
I’ve seen it. I’ve experienced my husband honoring his word on this- more times than you might imagine a newlywed couple would in the span of one year.
Because here’s the super real and raw truth- Daniel and I have been to hell and back this last year with our finances.
I could tell you literally dozens of stories of financial hardship that we have faced over the last year.
I know, I know, everyone likes to say, “well, that’s just part of the package. All newlyweds struggle financially.”
I am sure that is true.
But I am also sure that the trials we have faced are not part of the standard “newlywed package.”
Whether it be buying a home with the belief and understanding that we would finally be “on top” financially, to soon after discovering a week before a payday that we wouldn’t be receiving three months worth of anticipated income, or living each month with a negative buffer in our budget, or using every not-so-spare penny paying off eight thousand dollars of expenses from my brain surgery, or discovering in one moment that we had twenty eight thousand dollars of debt that was long overdue and in collections (that we never knew about), or simply owing more medical bills for this pregnancy than we imagined while also trying to somehow come up with everything we need when the baby arrives, we have been through it.
And not just in your typical “we are on our own for the first time and learning how to budget” sort of way.
Daniel and I are actually really good at budgeting, and both love it. We are super disciplined and never go over. But sometimes, the money just isn’t there- and we find ourselves shocked and stressed.
These have seriously been some of the hardest times for us.
But they have also been the most beautiful.
Because it is in these times that I have seen what I already know to be true about my husband- that he is loyal, faithful, honorable, and has integrity like no one I have ever met before.
Daniel and I together have had to make very difficult decisions in these times, but it has only made us stronger. We made a choice to downsize and sell as many things as possible in order to come up with what we need financially.
At first I found this to be embarrassing, if I am honest, but the more I have processed it, I just feel like it has been wisdom. And I feel proud of us. And for the record- I don’t just mean random stuff that we don’t need. We have made hard choices, and big sacrifices to provide for ourselves.
We sold our beloved dog, Roscoe, for instance. That wasn’t easy, but it had to happen.
We’ve also made choices to sell other items in our home that are actually precious to us, like guitars, a piano, cameras, and even our own bed- which wasn’t easy for a pregnant girl.
And now we have decided to make the transition to being a one car family, and even to sell our home.
And that’s just to name a few of those hard choices..
It’s crazy- but it’s so good.
Daniel said that he’d “sell all he had to be united with me.”
And he meant it.
And he said he’d “always risk a little faith if it meant knowing me more.”
I don’t think it would be possible for us to see more fulfillment of those vows over the last year if we tried.
I vowed to Daniel on our wedding day that I would always submit to his leadership, as he submits to Christ.
And y’all, I cannot even tell you how much of a difference it has made for me, in all of the challenges of this first year, to be a woman of my word, and truly submit to his leadership.
There have been countless times that I have gone to the Lord, choosing to seek Him first, and also to not be a nagging wife, and just asked God to guide Daniel in his decisions for us as a family.
There has not been a single time that Daniel hasn’t come to me within a matter of days, sharing the most profound wisdom, and initiating a wise plan of action to get us through.
My point in all of this is that Daniel and I vowed to stand firm in our love for one another no matter what we might face. Obviously we had no clue what we might face when we made those vows- but it doesn’t matter.
They were not conditional vows. They were entirely unconditional, and made in the presence of God as well as all of our closest friends.
We don’t know what the next year holds for us other than this- it holds more love, more intimacy, and one new family member that we simply cannot wait to meet.
And we know that whether we are richer than we are today, or somehow poorer, we will still choose each other and give each other our very best yes.
Because no matter what, we still do.