photo16 years ago she said “yes.” For 16 years I have continued to be amazed that she did. As I reflected today on what “yes” really meant, I’m not sure we had any idea what those vows would stand for. After the hair is gone and the tux probably doesn’t fit anymore, the vows remain. They are the charge forward into the unknown by the Pastor that officiates your memorable day. Since that entire day is a blur, I googled “standard wedding vows” and this is what I found:

Will you have this woman/man as your lawful wedded partner, to live together in the estate of matrimony? Will you love him/her, honor him/her, comfort him/her, and keep him/her in sickness and in health; forsaking all others, be true to him/her as long as you both shall live?

For 16 years, I have witnessed my bride hold true to every “I do.” She has honored me even when she may not have agreed. She has comforted me when the storms of life knocked me around. She has been our family physician, psychologist and counselor in sickness and in health. Through it all she continues to forsake all others and be true.

For some reason the one vow I remember most from that day was “for richer or poorer”. Google didn’t list it, but I know we “I do’d” it. Over the course of 16 years, I can confess that we’ve been a little of both financially. We’ve lived through some lean years and the blessing of some great ones. No matter our financial standing, she has been the rock. She’s kept the home running during years of travel and maintained the balance for a husband that has a home office. She’s been willing to go wherever jobs would take me and God would call us. Every. Single. Time.

The truth is, and I mean this sincerely, if we lost it all and had nothing left but the two of us and the three children God has blessed us with, we will never be poor. I will never be in want or need. God made a never ending deposit into my account the day she said “I do.” As if that wasn’t enough, he made three other deposits over the past 16 years.

While our vows are a clouded memory, one thing I remember clearly is pre-recording myself singing a song by Alabama to surprise her right after we said our vows. 16 years later, I still mean every word that I sang that day.

I will give you my heart, faithful and true

And all the love it can hold, that’s all I can do

I’ve thought about how long I’ll love you

And it’s only fair that you know

Forever’s as far as I’ll go…..

Happy Anniversary to my lovely bride, my rock, my calm in the storm. Thank you for believing in me like no other the last 16 years. Thank you for seeing past the worst and believing in the better. For richer, for poorer. In sickness and in health. Forever IS as far as I will go.