Best friends.

28 years of life. 12 years together. 6 years of marriage. 1 child. 2 dogs. 4 moves.

So many numbers make up our time together. We met when we were in high school. The story of our initial meeting is…. Colorful, to say the least. To quickly sum it up– two silly kids on a bus, headed back from a JROTC drill meet sharing a seat (literally occupying the same spot, if you catch my drift). Girl meets boy. Boy ignores girl for a while after that day. Boy meets girl again and they become friends, then boyfriend/girlfriend, then more than they ever imagined they would be.

He’s my husband but I really think he’s so much more than that. We’re best friends. He doesn’t complete me– I am my own, separate person without him– but he does enhance me. He makes me want to do better, to be better. He pushes me to think outside the box and encourages me to go for my goals and dreams. He is always encouraging me when it comes to this blog.

As I reflect back on our years together, the word growth comes to mind. We’ve grown in so many ways over the last 12 years (and not just in the waistline). It hasn’t been easy, that’s for sure. Growth never is. Growth can be painful, messy, time consuming, and full of hard conversations. But the results of growth can be eye opening, amazing, fun, and inspiring.

We’ve grown as individuals. When I was 21 and telling people that I was about to get married, the response was negative from many people, outside of those who knew us (you know, people whose opinions didn’t matter anyways). It all came back to us being “so young” and we still needed to figure out who we were. The beauty of our relationship is that we’ve been able to do that together. And even better, I’ve had a cheerleader all along. I’ve been able to figure out who I am because he has pushed me to get there.

We’ve grown as a couple. We are definitely not the same couple as we were when we were 16. We went through this “dark time” where we fought every single Wednesday night when we were in high school. Like clockwork. But out of that came two people who learned how to actually communicate. The way we speak to and about each other has changed drastically over the last 12 years, thank goodness.

We’ve grown as followers of Christ. Michael didn’t go to church before we began dating. I went the missionary dating route with him. Watching him go from that confused teenage boy to the confident, Godly man he is now has been amazing. I know that our relationship wouldn’t be as great as it is without his strong faith in God and his leadership.

We’ve grown as parents. This is new growth and it’s still in the rough stages… as I’m sure it will be for a long time. Parenting isn’t easy on marriage. Parenting makes you grumpy, tired, and short tempered (because you’re grumpy and tired). But parenting also allows us to navigate this new stage as a team and work through the grumps and tempers (of all of us). I’m excited to see how this stage of life continues to influence and change our relationship.

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The best thing is that we’ve grown as friends. Without our strong friendship foundation, the rest of the growth wouldn’t even be possible. Growth in a relationship requires trust, honesty, and transparency, which are all crucial aspects of our friendship. There is no one else I would rather walk around Target with or dig deep into scripture with. There is no one else I would rather have deep, meaningful conversations with or tell crazy jokes to.

There is no one else for me. He is it. My spiritual leader, handsome husband, baby daddy, and best friend.

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