We’ve been married for 16 years. We’ve both gotten a bit rounder than we used to be, but what isn’t hotter has grown warmer. I have to admit I never really understood how growing older would be when I was younger. Let me see if I can explain what I mean.

When I see my wife now, it’s like looking at a person in a time warp. She has a certain smile that takes me back to a memory of our honeymoon. There is a mischievous grin that puts me inside a moment when we were still dating. She has these little hairs that curl right below her ear that make me think of the first morning I woke up with her next to me.

There are so many layers now; such a deep, wonderful complexity about how she makes me feel when I see her. She’s like a succulent dish that has been prepared by a master chef. Or a rich, velvety wine with that perfect blend of buttery smoothness and dry finish. She is my heart, my love, truly my better half. She helps me to be the kind of man and father I’ve always wanted to be.

Am I attracted to her? Oh, god, yes. No matter how we look now, I see her across all the years as a kind of gestalt vision of who she is and what she means to me. She is the most interesting and attractive person I’ve ever had in my life. No one else even comes a close second.

When I start to get stressed or overwhelmed, all I have to do is get back to the Savior and refocus on Him. So blown away by His goodness during such a demanding time. Blessed.

Today is the big day! And my heart is happy.

My heart stands in awe of You.

I don’t know where you are these days, what’s broken down and what’s beautiful in your life this season. I don’t know if this is a season of sweetness or one of sadness. But I’m learning that neither last forever. There will, I’m sure, be something that invades this current loveliness. That’s how life is. It won’t be sweet forever. But it won’t be bitter forever either. If everywhere you look these days, it’s wintery, desolate, lonely, practice believing in springtime. It always, always comes, even though on days like today it’s nearly impossible to imagine, ground frozen, trees bare and spiky. New life will spring from this same ground. This season will end, and something entirely new will follow it.

Shauna Niequist, Bittersweet (via each-beat)

(via starlit-glory)

(via starlit-glory)

Oh my goodness, just 3 more days! I am ecstatic but the feeling is bittersweet.

Something I’ve had to learn in life; you can always make time to stop and pray.

Love is the most beautiful, messy and raw concept I’ve ever had to learn in life. But, nonetheless, the feeling that comes with experiencing it cannot be put into words.

In grace, I stopped proving myself.

Six-Word Story #6 (via yesdarlingido)

(via yesdarlingido)

Advice From Older Women

  • Woman 1: Do you think he's "the one," Lauren?
  • Me: How would I to know that?
  • Woman 2: Well, do you want him to be "the one?"
  • Me: Of course I do. I'd be wasting our time if I didn't, right?
  • Woman 1: Just remember that if he's going to be the one, you have to consider more than how you currently feel.
  • Woman 2: Exactly. You have to consider what it will be like when marriage is less exciting after the initial newly-wed high has faded.
  • Me: Okay, like what?
  • Woman 1: Even when you find yourself less attracted to him, at the end of the day, do you still think he is overall a good man--because that matters.
  • Woman 2: It all comes down to the simple things that you would think are obvious. But they're not. They're important. In the long run, it's these little things that are even more important than feeling "in love." For instance, is he a man of integrity? What do his friends think about him? Does he take care of you? Is he going to be faithful? Is he reliable? You don't know everything--you can't, of course, but what do you see him making patterns of in his behavior?
  • Woman 1: She's right. It's the basics that carry you through hard times, lonely weeks, and stale months. It's trusting each other to be steadfast despite the fluctuation of your emotions. It's the basics that make you able to choose marriage on the days you wish you could walk away quietly.
  • Me: What made you stay during those times you wanted to leave or the times you wished you weren't married?
  • Woman 2: Realizing that marriage is not the pursuit of happiness. It is a covenant that daily chooses to love through self-denial. And some days are easier than other. But you have to make that choice. That is one decision that will always pay off--I've never regretted choosing to love or choosing to stay because making that choice is the very thing that makes my husband "The One."
  • Woman 1: You've both got to live covenant minded--not emotion driven, but God enabled.
  • Me: That's all good advice, but is there a way for me to really know?
  • Woman 2: Of course not. God is the only one who is constant and things could change tomorrow, but it matters to know whether you can move towards him being the one. You should at least know that it's probable.
  • Woman 1: If you can look at each other and say, "No matter how I feel today, I choose to love and I choose to stay," that is enough for you to be confident to say, "Yes, he's the one."

Thank you so much Irene!