One of the main reasons I love the Christmas season is that it always kicks off with a celebration that is near and dear to my heart. No, not Thanksgiving. Or Black Friday. Or Cyber Monday.
I’m talking about December 1st. See, back in 1997, I proposed to my girlfriend on December 1st, and she said yes. Two years later on that same date, we got married.
Twelve years and 5 kids later, we’re still going strong. It’s been quite a journey. Like all couples, we’ve had some major highs and some major lows. But the true character of a relationship isn’t defined by the warm fuzzy feelings you get when you’re together, or by the way your heart races when you see that special someone. Those things are fine, and they have their place early on in a relationship (and in a mature relationship as well).
The true character of a relationship is defined through sacrifice. In my mind, love and sacrifice are synonymous. Love is about making your needs secondary and focusing on someone else. In a good relationship, the other person holds the same convictions and does the same for you. So it’s letting go of your own needs and relying on your partner to meet them, while at the same time, doing all you can to meet theirs.
That’s a scary prospect. It means being truly and completely vulnerable. But in that vulnerability is a freedom, a sweet release. There’s no need to be guarded, no need to put up a façade, because you know this person accepts you for who you are, mistakes and all.
It’s taken twelve years, but Mrs. Grimm and I are reaching that point. In the past few years (since I became “Miracle Boy” – read my earlier blogs for that cheerful tale…) we have truly learned to trust in each other implicitly and love each other sacrificially. It’s meant letting go of certain convictions. It’s meant leaving comfort zones. It’s meant truly trying to understand each other in the most intimate way possible. Not intimate in the romantic sense – that’s easy. This is true intimacy. The kind that weeps with you at your bedside as you’re heading into surgery, and holds you after the loss of a dear family member. The kind that holds your hair back when you’re ready to throw up, or squeezes your hand as your beloved pet is being euthanized. The kind that strives to understand what you’re going through, even though they don’t have a frame of reference.
There’s so much more to being in love, and in a relationship, than we ever see or hear about on television or at the cinema. So much more than is taught in any class room. And that lack of real, practical knowledge has led to many problems for many people.
I’m blessed and fortunate to have a wife that I truly want to spend the rest of my life with. There’s nobody else on this planet I would rather be with. Nobody else I could be with. She makes me a more full and complete a human being than I could ever be on my own. Her strength supports my weakness, and her faith inspires mine. On the surface, we may seem to be as mismatched a couple as ever there was one. But on those most precious things in life, we are in complete agreement. We stand together where it counts, and have seen each other through the darkest days we’ve ever known, and through some of the highest highs you can imagine.
My most precious gifts outside of my family, are the words I put to the page or the screen. I love my writing dearly and passionately. So what better way to express my love and gratitude to the most precious and amazing woman in my life than with an entry such as this? Fear not ladies, she’s getting more than a blog about her! But a gift of words born of the most sacred and cherished part of myself is, in my old-fashioned mind, a far more suiting declaration of love.
So to you, my beloved Mrs. Grimm, I wish the happiest of anniversaries. I count the past 12 years to be among the best in my life, and I am a better man for knowing you, and for the influence you’ve had on my misguided and sometimes unnervingly self-centered life. For that, and for the uncountable, unknowable number of times you’ve stolen my breath away, I love you. And I will endeavor to show you the same selfless, sacrificial love that you have always shown me.