12 Years Ago

On New Year’s eve, I introduced you to high school sophomore Bethany, on the night I met my husband.  Today I’m going to introduce you to 22-year-old Bethany.

cups

We later purged those.

I was still neither a minimalist nor a sailor.  I was a full-time student at a small commuter college and a substitute teacher.  Physically, I was starting to become the roundy person you know today, and my hair was long, brown, and permed.  Rob and I had been dating for six years, and we both figured that we had all of the answers to the Big Questions.  We were ready to go out and start our adventure.

We purged that too.

We purged that too.

On July 7, at a Garrison Keillor-style Lutheran church, I became the only Bethany Rosselit that the world has ever known.

All wedding photos were taken by Clint Burhans of Midland, Michigan.

All wedding photos were taken by Clint Burhans of Midland, Michigan.

Our ceremony was lavish.  I enjoyed occupying my mind with the planning.  We had a soloist, a violinist, a trumpet player, 6 bridesmaids, and two adorable twin boys holding the train of my dress.  I was a poor college student, so I purchased everything on e-bay, which was relatively new at the time.  I wanted our wedding to be a huge celebration.

reception

We memorized our vows, which were the oldest pre-written vows I could find, since I wanted an Edwardian theme.  At the end of the ceremony, Pastor made Rob kiss me again, when he gave me only a shy peck.  We smashed chocolate cake over each other’s faces, and my hair was full of fake rice when we got to our hotel room.

head table

And so began the adventure.

car

The next 12 years would see us through the beautiful multitude of experiences that life has to offer.  We began living in a tight-knit community on the water, where we were known simply as “the newlyweds.”  We later bought a house in the suburbs and started a family.  We camped in the summer, until we began sailing instead.

trailerkitchen

Mixed in with the obviously beautiful experiences were those difficult times that everyone experiences.  We saw financial hardships, the unexpected death of his mother, work-related stresses, a child with special needs, and other stresses that were the result of poor decisions made on both sides.  Life is about making mistakes, and learning.

boat

It is about the journey.

And two people, two imperfect beings, will have quite the journey, going through life together.  Nobody is taught HOW to do this, and the community that used to support young families no longer exists. We are not always aware that every couple, every family, has the same story, with slightly different details.

On our own, therefore, we have to do a lot of problem solving.  Seemingly alone against the world, we try to figure it out.  Love is not something we can fall in or out of, it is something we choose to do.  Love is by nature unconditional, but it doesn’t mean that one person is subservient to another, or that we remain in a situation that makes us both unhappy.  Love means that we both work at it, trying to find understanding when there seems to be none in sight, and understanding that we are both imperfect.  Love means that we work together to figure out this sometimes confusing thing called life, and that we help each other to grow and find our way.

We don’t choose to do this because we fear divine retribution if we don’t.  We don’t choose to do this because we feel like we have to.  We choose to do this because we WANT to. 

Love is a choice.  It is always a choice.  And it is not always the easiest choice to continue making.  But the challenges themselves are beautiful in the end.  The learning, the growth that is OUR story, is beautiful.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

In about 10 minutes, I will bring a cup of coffee up to my best friend, who will just be waking up.  Don’t expect to see my online much this weekend, as we will be busy celebrating.

Here’s to the better
To the worse, with its own beauty
To life
To love.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZzfZc8lEIdk

20 thoughts on “12 Years Ago

  1. Congratulations on 12 years of marriage.

    “Love means that we both work at it, trying to find understanding when there seems to be none in sight, and understanding that we are both imperfect. Love means that we work together to figure out this sometimes confusing thing called life, and that we help each other to grow and find our way.”

    Absolutely. Your writing has been speaking to me on a deep level these last few days. Thanks for the reminders and your insight 🙂

  2. “The learning, the growth that is OUR story, is beautiful.”

    Life has all of the meaning that you bring to it and life is beautiful.

    Dan

  3. Congratulations! I can’t believe it has been that long! What you said about love not being something you fall in or out of is very true. It takes work and sometimes it is hard. We do all have the same struggles and I appreciate how open you are about it. I hope you have a great anniversary!

  4. “Love is a choice. It is always a choice.” Beautiful, Bethany. Very, very happy anniversary to you and Rob. Thank you for sharing the photos and the love.

  5. Happy 12th Anniversary Bethany & Rob! What a great story…and please know you have SO MUCH to look forward to in your lives and in your relationship. My DH and I too met when we were fairly young and we grew up together and our relationship just grew and deepened through the years. When your beloved is your best friend–and with the intention to always choose love–it will just get better and better. 🙂 Have an AMAZING weekend….~Kathy

  6. Happy belated anniversary to one of my favorite couples, ever! I know I’ve said it before, but there was no mistaking that you two were absolutely perfect for each other when I first saw you together. Thinking of your early days, I’m remembering cold Spaghetti-O lunches!

    Thank you for sharing your wedding photos, you and Rob looked radiant. 🙂

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