For one of us: excitement. For the other: ummmm, a firm grasp of reality?
For one of us: excitement. For the other: ummmm, a firm grasp of reality?

On Easter Sunday, Craig and I will celebrate our 12th anniversary.

The other night, we pulled out the wedding album and looked through photos with the kids. Oh, the memories that came rushing back.

And, oh, the comments we heard. “Ewwww! You have to KISS when you get married!? I’m never doing THAT!”

But the main thing I noticed? That look of anticipation and excitement in the eyes of that bride and groom. Everything was new. Anything was possible. And, goodness. That young couple had no idea what was in store.

Here’s what I would say to that young bride from the, ahem, wiser (and a bit older) wife.

Oh, sweet newlywed,

You are embarking upon one of the most incredible, wonderful, uncertain, scary adventures of your life. I know you’re excited about playing house and using that new KitchenAide® mixer. (By the way. You’ll use that mixer once for a pie that your husband will pretend to like. But he won’t like it. And you’ll put that contraption in storage, never to find it again.)

And although living with that wonderful man is such a blessing, hold on tight. Because your life is going to twist and turn in ways you’ll never imagine.

You know those things he does that drive you insane? Like, leaving his shoes in the middle of the laundry room hallway every. single. night? Well, don’t count on him ever changing. Because he won’t.

(But don’t get all high and mighty, missy. He’ll still have to remind you to get the oil changed in your vehicles every single time, for goodness’ sake.)

Your big decisions when you are first married will revolve around new flooring for the kitchen and where you’ll eat dinner on your weekly Friday night dates. Those decisions will grow into how to best raise three (yes, three!) children to become productive, compassionate, God-fearing adults. About caring for aging family members. About juggling the schedules of two careers with cattle shows, chores, ball practices, band concerts and parent-teacher conferences.

At the end of many days, you’ll just want to collapse on the couch. You’ll just want a moment of quiet. A moment without the “whys” and “but I don’t wannas” and the “because I’m the mom, that’s whys.”

You’ll feel as if you and that man you married are just roommates running a day care for crazy-busy little people. But you’re not. You’re absolutely in this together.

Speaking of those newlywed dates, enjoy them. Because date nights 12 years later will take major planning and scheduling to accomplish. But those moments are oh-so important. So plan and schedule them. Really. Do it.

Life is going to throw you some major curve balls – and you’ll never see them coming.

That daddy-daughter dance at your wedding? Savor. every. step. That dance will be the last you share with your dad. He will soon be diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, and his health will decline to the point that simple walking is a challenge.

You both will say good-bye to many grandparents in the coming years. You’ll lose your first baby before you ever have the chance to meet him or her. Life won’t all be pretty. But that man will be by your side through it all – even when you’re at your worst. And that truly is beautiful.

Oh, you may think you love that guy now. But just you wait. Wait until you see him reading with your kids. Holding his newborn daughter for the first time. Coaching your boys’ t-ball teams. And with his arm around your son’s shoulder before he enters the ring at the county fair or the junior nationals.

I promise, you’ll love him more.

So cut him some slack on the back-hallway shoes, okay? And maybe he’ll return the favor by not being too upset when you go to the salon for a “trim” and come back with a pixie cut.

Because he’s still going to want you to have long, flowing hair, even 12 years later.

Yes, some things will never, ever change.