I met my husband when I was sixteen.
He was twenty-three.
Stop the world, drama everywhere, y'all.
We secretly liked each other for two years. Why secretly? Because he was my high school youth group leader, and that's just messed up.
But we had to wait until the summer after my senior year to even think about dating, so for two years, I just silently pined and cried and hoped Kaz wouldn't change his mind.
He didn't. But that's not the point.
When I was sixteen, I thought I loved Kaz. Maybe I did. I wrote him letters saying as much, letters that I saved in an attempt to be sentimental. I read some of those letters the other day.
Hyperbole and doodled hearts on paper wrinkled by my tears, y'all. I'm not joking. I wrote the letters to my future husband like any good Christian teenager would do ::eye roll::, but because I believed so strongly that Kaz was that person, I addressed the letters to him by name. Bold move, High School Kendra. Bold move.
I wrote how much I loved him, how I couldn't imagine life with anyone else, how I wanted to be his wife so badly it hurt my bones.
The truth is I got lucky. My first love was my only love, but that doesn't mean that High School Kendra knew what was coming. I'm grateful things ended up the way they did, but I didn't know that Kaz was supposed to be my husband when I was sixteen. I thought I knew, but what the hell does a sixteen year-old girl know about anything except All the Feelings.
Love is hard. Marriage is no joke. We're not each other soul mates, and we don't believe that we're the only ones in the world that can make each other happy. Sorry, High School Kendra.
We've chosen to live together. To have kids. To have the unspoken arrangement where he washes the cloth diapers and I stuff them. We talk about budgets and dreams and preschool and in-laws and why grass won't grow on that one random patch of yard. I get excited when I can surprise him with a bag of potato chips I originally thought wouldn't fit in our budget. He likes to clean my wedding ring. We hold hands while we watch Shark Tank. We fight in silence over things unsaid.
We're messy people who fell in love and took the risk to live life together forever. Yes, he's the only person I want to do life with, but that doesn't mean he's the only one who could.
And you know what? That might not make our love overly sentimental, but it makes it deep. We know that we're not each other's "one true love," so we fight for our true love. And we love it that way. Our guard can't be down around others, and it can't be up with each other. We don't depend on fate to keep us together; we hold fast to our covenant.
The week of Valentine's Day feels like the appropriate time to be a little sentimental as much as I'm capable (which isn't that much). So in this time when people celebrate their one and only love, I celebrate the man I chose. The man who chose me. And because we made the choice, we get to be each other's one and only.