eleven years ago today

happy-brideI walked down that aisle with no hesitation, no quivering of soul or lips.

When the pastor presented us as Mr. and Mrs., I was overwhelmed with a deep-seated enduring joy. Not superficial happiness, mind you, but a serious sort of happiness in knowing that I was right where I should be. Tim Sheaffer was – is – everything I ever wanted.

People warned us that our first year of marriage would be hard. We moved into a 300sqft apartment in married housing on a university campus. We had just enough stuff to fit in our jeep – a love seat, white dishes, and a plaid comforter. Every day, I woke up and looked over as if in a dream. To say that we were over the moon would be a grievous understatement.

We still hear people refer to marriage as being “hard.”

Indeed, that language is such an ingrained part of our culture that I’m not sure I’m even allowed to say this.

Being married isn’t hard. Certainly, life itself is hard – replete with grief and pain, stress as we stretch ourselves to become more selfless. But marriage? Marriage is the buffer for those hard places, the shelter against the wind, the umbrella in the downpour, the hot soup for sore throats.

Marriage is a wonder, a miracle, a mystery. In marvelous synchrony, we live and move. He and I together. This is how it should be.

Without him, I wouldn’t be me. As Pablo Neruda put it,

I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where.
I love you straightforwardly, without complexities or pride;
so I love you because I know no other way

than this: where I does not exist, nor you,
so close that your hand on my chest is my hand,
so close that your eyes close as I fall asleep.

Eleven years today and I wouldn’t ever rewind.

I love you, Tim Sheaffer. More today than yesterday. More tomorrow than today. More, more, evermore.


  1. Sarah says

    Happy Anniversary! Totally agree with your statement: “Being married isn’t hard. Certainly life itself is hard. … Marriage is the buffer for those hard places.” Thanks for sharing!

  2. Darcie says

    Such a lovely picture you painted with your story of that first apartment. I can totally see it…

    Also, I second what Cathi said. Happy Anniversary to you and Tim!

  3. A mountain bride says

    Simply could not agree more!! That poem was read during our beautiful mountaintop ceremony – such pure and true words they make me cry everytime!l

  4. Alissa says

    Happy Anniversary! On Anniversaries I always think “Wow, I wonder what our 20th Anniversary will be like. Or 40th!” And think about how old our kids will be then and where we might be living… do you do that too?

    Also, My husband and I have our 7 year anniversary coming up and I haven’t felt like marriage has been hard at all! It’s just like you said. We’ve been through some hard things, but we’ve been through them TOGETHER! (:

    We eloped and so we got a lot more unsolicited advice than usual (because people thought we were crazy), and a lot of it was “The first year is going to be really hard.” Never materialized for us though.

  5. lindseyfoj says

    Oh my friend…you write how you love, with beauty and abandon, ever giving and giving and giving. I feel like knowing someone LIKE YOU is a rare gift to my life. I feel challenged by WHO you are every time I “hear” you speak. Thank you for sharing your YOU-ness with the world! And happy anniversary!

  6. JulieK says

    Happy eleven years! What a lovely photo and lovelier tribute to marraige! I agree, marraige is not hard. When you are so perfectly matched!!!

  7. says

    I agree so much with your sentiment! I wrote about the same thought for our last anniversary (#8). Happy anniversary to you and Tim!
    This is all beautiful, Stephanie. This here – “Marriage is the buffer for those hard places, the shelter against the wind, the umbrella in the downpour, the hot soup for sore throats.”
    I love that. YES!

  8. says

    our 11 yr. anniversary was 1 day after yours! :) this is all beautiful. marriage has definitely been a buffer for a lot of hard, but i will definitely say marriage has been hard, too. i wish so much we had that over the moon first year, but we didn’t and we were so ashamed of that because we felt like everyone thought it should be the happiest/easiest/most fun time ever. i’m so glad to know that it’s not like that for everyone, but have tried to really reach out to newly marrieds and encourage them that sometimes it is really hard, but so worth it and redemption is possible and beautiful. thankful that we each have our own journeys that He can undoubtably use to bless someone else’s. happy anniversary!

  9. says

    I love this! You could have been writing about my husband and myself. I would never describe marriage as hard. Getting through the hard things of life is made so much easier because of my marriage. Of course, I recognize that marriage is incredibly hard for many people, and I am grateful it isn’t one of my challenges. But I often wonder if our society were to shift our language and approach when talking about marriage, if people would find more success.

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