Four years ago today I got hitched. I know four years isn’t that long, but it still surprises me how fast time has flown. In thinking about what to write on this day, my head and heart kept going back to the memories/thoughts I had before it all began. (See here for Two and Three)
I hadn’t dated much before Ben. Sure, there had been a few little flings, but nothing worth writing about. I remember always wondering how it would work, me being in a serious relationship. I mean, up until that point, whenever I’d been around guys that I’d liked, I never really felt like I could be 100% myself. The majority of the time, I could be mostly me, but there were always pieces of me, thoughts in my head, portions of my soul that I just held onto.
I think that’s normal – part of it was due to my level of maturity, part of it was just a natural guarding of my heart, but I think there was a part of it that stemmed from insecurity. Insecurity in thinking that to be truly myself would be putting too much out there, asking too much of one person to receive. Insecurity in knowing that there were ugly parts of me (everything from how I looked when I woke up in the morning, to the character flaws I knew I had), and that could be rejected, leaving me vulnerable and alone.
So, I always wondered – when I seriously started dating someone, how would it look? Would I ever be able to be completely 100% honest? Could I show up in pyjamas with no make up on? Would I constantly have to chew gum so I always had fresh breath? Could I cry about stupid things and not have to make up an excuse? (I realize at this point several of you are thinking that I’m kind of neurotic…but yes, these were the thoughts in my head)
But then I met Ben. We didn’t really have a smooth start. In fact, I shot him down three times before we actually ended up together, (that is definitely another story I should tell sometime soon) and I wasn’t sure we would ever actually date.
And then when we did start dating, I was riddled with doubts. Doubts that he was right for me, and doubts that I was right for him. But slowly, something started to happen. Amidst those doubts, I started to see that being with Ben was more comfortable than I’d ever pictured in the “what will it look like” scenarios that I used to play over in my head. We laughed together a lot. I found myself wanting to be completely 100% honest, even when it meant admitting stupid reasons why I was crying, or why I was in a bad mood. Even when he saw me at my worst, his eyes showed me the beauty he saw in me. And you know what? When I did have bad breath, he would just tell me to go brush my teeth and the world never ended! Never before had I met someone who affirmed me so completely, loved me so wholeheartedly and I knew that marrying this man was what I should do.
I’ll admit, I also had thoughts about what it would be like to be married. Again, I couldn’t quite picture how it would work. I had fears that we’d fight too much. I had fears that we’d feel “stuck”, and I had fears that it would be too hard.
But on our wedding day, one of the most inexplicable moments happened. It was during our ceremony. We began with worship, and it was in that moment that I knew that all of those fears and thoughts I had didn’t matter. Even if they were right, (which they have turned out NOT to be), it wouldn’t matter. Because our marriage on that day was founded on Christ, and when it was too hard, or we did fight too much, or we did feel stuck, we would have to turn back to Jesus and refocus.
There was another moment that I don’t think anyone can understand until they’ve done it themselves, but for those of you that are married, perhaps you share this sentiment. When we said our vows to each other, it wasn’t just me speaking into a microphone in front of Ben and 200 other people. It was truly a holy moment and I knew I was making a vow in front of the God who was going to hold us together. And there was such a peace that came from that moment.
So, to Benjy,
Happy 4 years! Honestly, I feel like I’ve said so much in these letters in the past 3 years that I don’t have much else new to say, but I will say this:
Thank you for being the person who taught me that it is ok to be me. For loving me back then in a way that taught me more about who I was. And today, you do that exact same thing. Who I am around you is such a free, full version of me, and that is because you allow me to be that person.
Our marriage has grown, just like we have grown, and I truly love where we are at. There is a steadiness that has come from years of figuring things out together, and although I’m not naïve enough to think we’ll never have issues, (because my goodness, you’re still married to me, and let’s be honest, sometimes, I can get GA-RUMPY) I’m thankful that we are growing through them together.
There isn’t much more to tell you, so let me post this. The thing that made it all make sense to me 4 years ago. I hope reading our vows is as special for you as it always has been for me.
I love you,
I, Karmyn Kimberlee Giesbrecht stand before you, our family and friends, and our God today and take you Benjamin Winston Bokma as my husband.
You are my best friend and I commit to always love you, and show you respect through my words, actions and thoughts. This is a way I choose to honour you. As your wife, I promise to challenge you in your faith and encourage you to become the man of character God has planned for you to be. I will always try to grow in my relationship with God, so that I may be the godly wife you deserve. I will do my best to keep God at the centre of our relationship, recognizing that it is He that carries and unites us. I promise to be faithful to you and will seek to put you first, fulfilling your needs – spiritually, emotionally and physically. I want to place a high priority on seeing joy and laughter in our relationship. As we journey together, there will be times when you lead and times when I lead, times of joy and sorrow. When you fall, I will support you, when you leap, I will celebrate with you. Ben, I can make these vows to you today because of the grace given to me by our God, and it is only through his strength that I will succeed at these promises.
I love you.