I’ll never forget walking toward you that day.
I remember making my way through the double doors of that church; the sheer, white vale brushing my face; my dad walking slowly by my side. I looked up and locked eyes with you, the man I would soon marry, waiting for me at the other end of that seemingly endless aisle. My stomach fell to my knees with anticipation. We were actually doing this!
There were so many faces in the crowd, but the only one I remember seeing – was yours.
You had that huge “John-grin” on your face, that one that I’ve grown to know so well and love so deeply. I could see tears trickling down your damp cheek- and I could no longer hold back my own.
Tears of joy, of excitement, but most of all, tears of gratitude. I was walking toward safety. You were my safe place, and I knew I could trust you with my whole heart. And in a few short moments, I would choose to trust you for life.
June 9th: I became yours, and you became mine.
All I knew that day was that I was walking down the aisle toward my Beloved. The man who held my heart in his hands. The one I longed to be with every day. The man who made me feel cherished, loved, and honored.
But there were so many things I couldn’t even begin to realize about the man you were, the husband you would be. Things I didn’t even know I wanted or needed. Things that only God knew. He was 10 steps ahead.
Today on our anniversary, I reflect with tears of gratitude over these years God has given us. Each year has been the revealing of a new layer, a new role you’ve played in my life. Wrapped up in you were so many things I didn’t even know. God gave me a husband that day- but in you, He gave me so much more:
My closest Friend: I can’t even begin to thank you for your friendship. Words don’t express the intimacy of a true friend. I can be me. REAL me. You’re the only friend that truly knows my heart, inside and out, and loves me anyway. You bring fun to the plainest parts of my life and can somehow manage to bring out my genuine, awkward, un-edited, out-of-control “belly laugh.” You make me laugh when I need to laugh, but you hold me when I need to cry. Even deeper than my lover- you’re my buddy, my pal, and my BFF. There’s something priceless about this, something I didn’t even grasp the day I married you. “This is my lover, this is my friend….” (Song of Solomon 5:16).
My greatest Advocate: I never even thought about your role as my advocate. But you are. You’re the first person I call to share in my joy and my struggle. You take delight in the things I delight in, and your heart breaks when mine is broken. You defend me, protect me, and speak up for me. You want the best for me, even when I didn’t always want it for myself- and I can’t tell you what that’s meant for me over the years. It’s been the primary reason that I am where I am today. God used your role in my life to push me, challenge me, and refine me. Thank you for standing by my side.
My biggest Helper: Let’s be honest, I wasn’t thinking about the cooking, the cleaning, the chores, the laundry, the diapers, and the middle-of-the-night-baby-feedings when I chose to say “I do.” Who thinks about that kind of stuff when you’re head-over-heels in love? But the truth is, you’ve been my coworker, my partner, and my ally – joining me in the grind and monotony of the hard work of life. The way you take care of our home, our children, and our world…is a reflection of the way you take care of my heart. Every detail is an act of love- and I’m so thankful for every dish you’ve cleaned, every bathroom you’ve scrubbed, every diaper you’ve changed, and all that you continue to do for our family. I can rely on you with my most vulnerable, uninhibited needs- and you’ve proven to be the best helper.
My strongest Encourager: Your words of encouragement have soothed my aching heart in so many ways. You’ve lifted me up, offered me words of hope, and prayed for me when I couldn’t find the words or strength to pray myself. You’ve been my biggest fan, affirming my moments in the spotlight as a writer and speaker- but even more meaningful, affirming the moments that go unnoticed by the rest of the world: the endless PB&J sandwiches, the kissing of boo-boos, and the 100th daily reading of Chugga-Chugga-Choo-Choo. Thank you for noticing and reminding me that you do.
I love you. Beyond words. Thank you for being everything I hoped for, but more so, for being so much more than that.
Here’s to many, many, many more years with you by my side, the man I have the pleasure of getting to know with each and every passing day. Happy Anniversary, my Love.
And here’s to a God who reaches far beyond what we want- and gives us exactly what we need.
Tell me: What role has your spouse played that has been most meaningful for you?
Debra is a Licensed Professional Counselor specializing in dating, marriage, and relationship issues, along with a spectrum of mental health disorders and issues. She’s the author of True Love Dates, Choosing Marriage, Love in Every Season, Are You Really Ok?, and Married Sex. She’s also the host of the Love + Relationships Podcast, a hotline-style show where people call in to get their relationship questions answered!
Have you ever wanted to hear an answer to your question from a Christian male’s perspective? Singles Night Out: Men’s Panel is for you! Join us for a night of fun, fellowship, giveaways, and encouragement for ALL singles featuring a Q&A with the True Love Dates Men’s Panel, including special guests Chad Johnson, Christopher Cook, Trenten Merrill, and more, hosted by Debra Fileta. This is a co-ed event!
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