I've been thinking a lot about those past twelve years in anticipation of today. Here are a few of my thoughts . . .
Laughter is the key to happiness.
John and I laughed and enjoyed being together so much while we dated. Our sense of humors - John's way funnier than I am - have remained one of my very favorite parts of our relationship. There have been plenty of nights when we've just laid in bed, quietly chatting about the highlights of the day, laughing about funny things the kids said, their quirky perspectives on life. Some nights, we talk about things that are stressful or upsetting, which generally results in me crying. Yes, I'm a cry baby. During those moments, my sweetie just holds me close, runs his fingers through my hair while I get the majority of the tears out of the way. And then, he'll say something to make me laugh. And as we laugh, the tense knots in my shoulders and neck relax a bit, we snuggle closer, laugh a bit more, then drift off to sleep. Laughter has held us together through so many tough times. When I look back through the years, our mingled laughter comes to mind first and plays a prominent role in our relationship.
Be steadfast and immovable.
Show me the love.
Something I tease John about is that while we were dating, he was very strict about morality - you know, no necking and certainly no fooling around before the wedding night. Very traditional. The closer we got to our wedding date, the pickier he became. We had to be out with a group of friends or out and about in public so that we wouldn't be too kissy-kissy - a challenge which brought out my frisky nature just to tempt him. (Yes, I know - I'm a brat!) But John ended up being the one who surprised me. After we were married, I very quickly discovered John loves to snuggle and is the kissiest person I've ever met! Quite honestly, I love it! Now, before you say Yuck! TMI! TMI! - let's veer off a tad. Some of my favorite things about my sweetie is that he always holds my hand wherever we go - even at night when we go to sleep. Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night, and he's shifted with me, still holding my hand. I love that. I absolutely adore it that my hubby tells me every day that he loves me. I love the little kisses on my neck he gives me while I'm cooking, and that no matter if I'm in sweats, clingy jeans or have gained twenty or so pounds - he still says he thinks I'm sexy. Then nibbles on my ear. Ooh! Sorry, TMI again, eh? =)
Turn off the TV and enjoy the snuggles.
My sweetie and I rarely watch TV. We have one small TV in our playroom for the munchkins, and another for the Wii - also in the playroom - but that's it. No TV's in our bedroom, the living room, or anywhere else in the house. When the kids are in their rooms for the night, John and I will often snuggle up on the couch, chat, then read some books until we're ready for bed. Often, I will get sucked into a book, while John falls asleep holding my hand. As my anniversary gift, my honey hired artist Natalie Hunsaker to create a portrait of us and the things that represent us and our marriage. The painting isn't quite finished, but Natalie sent me a picture of it. I was totally delighted with how it's turning out.
After a photo shoot, Natalie chose to paint John and I relaxing in our nightly snuggle tradition. I love how it depicts a small slice of our life. John and I were so relaxed and comfortable, which I think really shows. You can see John holding my hand behind the book I'm holding. Everything in the painting had meaning to us. The book I'm reading is The Ball's in Her Court by Heather Justesen. Heather is one of my best writing buddies and friends. She and I shared many brain storming sessions about this book and I helped her edit it (many times) as well. Of the all books in my freelance editing career, this is the one I am most proud of because I know just how much work Heather put into it, how much fun we had bouncing ideas of each other, and how excited we BOTH were when she received her contract - which involved a middle of the night IM session around 1 am my time. Such great memories and feelings to have included. John is holding our friend James Dashner's book The 13th Reality (which I helped edit). In the stack of books (which is very subtle), but the books there are: Josi Kilpack's English Trifle (I am in her test kitchen & my blurb was published in her book), Daron Fraley's The Thorn (which I edited), a Brandon Sanderson book (one of John's favorite authors), Mormon Mishaps and Mischief by C.L. Beck & D.N. Giles (which has six of my short stories in it), and a mock up of my own book - (dis)Abilities and the Gospel - with the original Valor cover (which is no longer coming out through them, but was at that moment of my life). John and I love how this painting shows so much about us, our own friendship, and the interests we've developed together (writing).
Look ahead to forever.
I am grateful to know about Heavenly Father's eternal plan and that marriages are forever. I can't imagine living in Heaven without sharing it with the one person who completely gets me, loves me, and who fills me with happiness. I'm sure we'll share lots of laughter as we one day explore all the greatness that comes after this life. Until then, I will cherish every moment I get here on Earth with my sweetheart - including all the bumps, snuggles, and yes, the kissy kisses.
Happy Anniversary, Sweetie!