May 23, 2021
Dear Darkened Rose,
I wanted to make sure to take the time to share some wedding photos with you, and I guess in doing so I’ll also explain how proud of and contented I am with the marriage that Caleb and I have.
Admittedly, the early years of our relationship were hard work. It took me a few years of bouncing off the walls in my own head to recognize how much I truly appreciated having the stability of a partner who is as respectful, stoic, and intelligent as he is. I struggled to recognize the simple ways that he expresses love, and often fought too hard to try to have him show it in ways that he was not naturally inclined (texting every hour of the day really isn’t a reasonable request, and I see that now).
Having learned to recognize the way that he does express love, I now believe I have never experienced a love as deep and unwavering as his is. It is one that is worth continual development, one worth growing old with.
A few years into our relationship, something distinctly changed in my mindset when reflecting on one of our earliest conversations. When reflecting, I am forced to look at a question that I had neglected for many years. What type of life will I live in my older age? Caleb often spouts many different ideas about what his life will look like when he grows old. In this one memorable conversation, I remember asking Caleb something along the lines of—”What makes you so motivated to grow old?” To which he responded with something like—”It’s rare to get to exist and experience life. Why would I not fully appreciate that if I can and for as long as I can?”
Or, even more simply put—I’m going to live my life, because I have one.
I spent so much of my 20s questioning whether or not I liked my life, that I neglected to just recognize that I am continuously living one, regardless. As ridiculous as it sounds, I think before meeting Caleb I had stopped envisioning growing old. Part of my mind was convinced I would probably die around the age that you did. Which, I don’t think this is as odd of a mindset as it may read to the average person. However, on more than one occasion, I have read it and heard it shared from other people who have lost a parent at a relatively early age. My life’s timeline appeared shorter than it ever did before after you died.
Rising above this and envisioning a more concrete future took the work of creating a life that I was proud of living. Caleb has always done well with setting the example for me there, and that has guided us into the fruitful situation we now find ourselves in. Looking forward to experiencing life together with ideas and support in place for our future.
I wanted to share with you our vows, as I felt that they concisely summed up where we both stand today.
Whew … we made it!
Today, I take your hand delighted in the opportunity to discover what more the future holds with you by my side. We have already experienced and accomplished considerable pursuits together, and I am grateful to continue on our path as husband and wife. May trials and tribulations of the past and future only continue to build this loving relationship that is humble, malleable, and enduring. You are truly, and quite perfectly, my “better half.” As we take this step forward, I vow the following.
- To raise a child with you as a shining example of great parents.
- To expose our family to as much nature, culture, and firsthand experience as the universe allows for.
- To maintain a practice of good physical and mental health for our family.
- To love & appreciate all of your noble traits that I don’t have and need you for.
- To be mindful and proud of whatever legacy our marriage allows us to leave behind.
In the past seven years, I have learned to recognize the person that you most enjoy being—a man I am ceaselessly proud to have as my life partner. I know that you carry a clear understanding of how to effectively balance a sense of justice, esteem, goofiness, and a refreshing and endearing energy for storytelling. I’m convinced everyone needs a figure like you in their life. You nourish my intelligence and challenge me to think critically, and therefore I trust that you will always guide me towards being a wiser version of myself. You have created space for me to hone my self-pride, and I hope to show my gratitude by providing the same for you in our future together. Today, I vow the following:
- To always search for ways to explore beyond any personal frustrations in order to always find peace in our relationship.
- To try (operative word here) to scratch your back at least three nights a week forever.
- To strive to recognize your most honest intentions in each moment to be respectful of the greatest version of yourself.
- To be an honorable caregiver of the family we establish (all animals included).
- To assure you, through my love, that belonging to our family is my highest priority.
I am now at a loss for words here at the end of this, but my main reason for writing was to be able to share these picture with you. So without much more to say—
I love you. I miss you.
Enclosed are cool things.
The Song: Die Young by Sylvan Esso