I nervously gathered my dress together, and climbed up into the carriage. The driver made clicking noises at the horse with her teeth, and the beribboned animal started forward into traffic. The two young women riding with me were watching the journey over their shoulders, faces alight with anticipation.
As the carriage lurched to a halt, I looked first for you, standing in the shadow of the gazebo. You were so handsome in your back tails, and you scanned the crowds, looking for me. Your eyes found me, and your face seemed to brighten.
I walked slowly up the bricked path to your side, and we began our journey. We married 5,475 days ago. Fifteen years. It seems both so long ago and just like yesterday.
I love you more now than I did then, in so many ways. We've grown, started a family, been blessed, and managed to hang on to all that makes us what we are. I do not know who I would be today if you had not stepped into the breach all those many days ago and showed me that love and care were possible for me. That I was still worthy of them.
When that carriage lurched into the hurrying stream of cars, I was glad to be riding towards you, happy to be starting a new part of our lives together. I could not have hoped for better than what we've had together. I dreamed, of course, but the reality has been so much better than dreams.
We argue, we sometimes get so mad at each other, and sometimes we say things to deliberately wound each other; ours is not a perfect marriage. But, I told you long ago that I am not a perfect woman, and not to confuse or mistake me for one. Our flaws are what make us human. In the end, we forgive each other and we move past what is troubling us; move on to the next phase, the next challenge. It's never boring, and there is always love to get us through.
You joke that every man who has been married for 15 years or more no longer has opinions of his own. I say you do. (And by your own joke, you now HAVE to agree with me!) I think you feel very strongly about things. I know that I can see the passion in you -- 15 years of marriage to me haven't totally crushed your spirit. And, I don't want a colorless, sycophantic yes-man as a husband. I want you, with your loving heart, your quirky sense of humor, and your deep, abiding love for our daughter and me. I could not ask for better.
I love you, honey. Happy Fifteenth Anniversary.