If ever there were a man to put me on the path of my dreams, it’s Stephen.
If ever there were a man to make my joys his joys, to desire to soften my sorrows and to see me be truly happy, it’s Stephen.
A wise man once said, “the greatest joys and the greatest sorrows we experience are in family relationships. The joys come from putting the welfare of others above our own. That is what love is. And the sorrow comes primarily from selfishness, which is the absence of love.” (Henry B. Eyring).
You know I like to be real. I like to tell the big, the beautiful, and the “perfect”, but I also like to tell the ugly, dark, and difficult, because that’s what real life is.
Our story has been riddled with joy, laughter, pain, and growth, but most of all–love. As with any great amount of time spent with any one person, surprises happen. Some of those surprises are exquisite and beautiful, subtle and sweet. Some of this surprises are massive and painful, unexpected and hard. Some of the time we are ready to meet the battle head on, and sometimes we are scrambling, but we stay together because of our fierce commitment to each other and to God.
When we met we first became good friends. I had flown to Seattle to photograph a wedding, and we met for four hours at a Dairy Queen, one week before I left for China for five months! Our friendship persisted while I traveled and taught English to some adorable 4-year-olds in Shanghai. Through many late night/early morning talks, we became quite fond of each other, and somehow we just knew–we were made for each other. A year later from the very day we met, we were joined together forever.
We played hard, and we fought hard (remember? I like to be real with you). It took us a while to realize that conflict in marriage is normal, and inevitable, but mostly normal. We learned that the way we fight is what makes the difference between a couple that’s falling apart, and a couple that’s growing ever closer to a lasting relationship (among a ton of other things).
We had difficult curve balls thrown our way. Throws that brought sorrow, fear, and in some quiet moments, despair. We learned and continue to learn that selfishness is the root of all of those ugly feelings. That as we get outside of ourselves, stop comparing, stop the self-pity and
think about someone else
then we begin to feel love, hope, and joy again.
As we increased our commitment to each other, our service for the other, and our patience with one another, we began to learn more and more about our relationship and our purpose and roles within. Our feelings can be expressed in the writings of a 19th-century church goer, “I had loved before, but I knew not why. But now I loved–with a purenes–an intensity of elevated, exalted feeling, which would lift my soul from the transitory things of this groveling sphere and expand it as the ocean.” (Parley P. Pratt).
Our love is not perfect, and at times selfishness has a tendency to seep in. But if ever we feel stuck, frustrated, or as if fairness has been eradicated, we know that the solution is always
to love better
to love is to serve.
to love is to put your husband or your wife above yourself
to seek for the good in them.
to love them so their weaknesses seem small
so that their joy is our joy
Because to love and be loved is about loving the other.