This week has been a rough one for me. These "firsts" hurt the most!
March 26, 1993 I made the best decision of my life by becoming Douglas' wife.
This anniversary will be the most difficult. As my heart is so broken, I remember the love that held it together for so many years. I'm sure the day will be filled with tears, but I will cherish the years I had him by my side. The one that no matter what had my back, believed in me, challenged me, supported me, and loved me on a level NO ONE will ever understand! I had decided early in the week I would spend the day home, with my box of Kleenex, even though all three of my girls were playing softball. I just felt it would not do me any good to be around people, I just needed to be by myself. So today as I was waiting for Demi's game to start, this sweet soul came up beside me. She says, umm do I know you? I said hello dear how are you, as I gave her a hug. She said I am good, but how are you holding up. I told her I am putting one foot in front of the other most days. We visited for a moment and she said it is looking like the Eagle girls could be playing in the Championship game tomorrow, JV vs. Varsity. I quickly said, I won't make tomorrow's games. Her look at me was like why not, so I followed up with, it is Doug and I's anniversary I just need to stay home. She grab my arm and said, I know sweetie it is going to be a hard day. Then she asked, did you get your bedroom done?
Yep, it is beautiful!
Is it nice to be in there? She knew by my facial expression, you are not back in there.
I shook my head No!
As she caressed my arm, and told me it's ok sweetie, but sometimes the places you shared with him are the places you will feel him the most. Tears began to well in my sunglass covered eyes. She continued, maybe you need to try to get back to your bed, and the softball fields that is where you two shared a lot of time, I spoke up and stated if he was here we would be at the fields tomorrow. Her soft touch on my arm along with her words pierced my soul, as she said maybe you need to be at the fields tomorrow. Tears began to slowly drip as she said, I'll talk to you later dear. So tomorrow (today) I will be at the softball fields with my Kleenex in hand watching our three girls play the game their dad help them fall in love with. Sharla, thank you for your wise words, I truly believe the Lord sent you to speak to me!
It would be 23 years. I had the most amazing 22 1/2 years with the best life partner ever.
So my gift this anniversary is to speak on our love story and share my advice; I am not a marriage counselor, nor do I want to be. But I can tell you how we wrote our 22 year love story. Numerous people have commented on Doug and I's relationship. A couple of my favorite comments that truly mean the most, that I will forever hold onto. " You both always looked at each other as if you were giddy teenagers falling in love." "You were one, it was always Doug and Jacki, rarely just Doug or just Jacki." Questioned, how we did it. How were you married 20+ years and seem to still be in the "newlywed" stage. I will be the first to say, it takes work!
Young people just falling in love, or newlyweds, it is going to get hard! I mean really hard, there is going to be trials. Simple as toothpaste in the lid to extreme as why were you out so late. If your belief is a fairytale ending, I will burst your bubble! It only comes with both of you dedicated to work really hard to the end! You have to build a foundation. See houses are built on a foundation, made of concrete, which is numerous ingredients that mixed together form a hard base. Your marriage foundation has to be mixed with numerous ingredients, it cannot hold up on just love! It has to have love, trust, compromise, giving, receiving, faith, passion, willingness and desire. If you don't start with a firm foundation as the years go by it will become weak to the point of crumbling out from underneath you. From the beginning of Doug and I's marriage the "D" word was off limits! Never, no matter how big the argument, would we ever say the "D" word! (for those confused, "D"word =DIVORCE)! This is where you have to work your butt off. When times get rough you need to turn to each other; not parents or friends. You need to rely on one another. The biggest word in our relationship was COMMUNICATION! You have to communicate with each other, and I mean to the extent of telling each other what you need, not what they are doing to drive you crazy! Oh there will be things that drive you crazy! It is little things like when I told him I needed him to hold my hand more after a couple years of marriage. It became one of the most important things we always did. As a team you have to give to each other even when you might not want to! This includes doing things you might not like, but we do it because our spouse enjoys it and wants to share it with us. An example I can remember I did that I really didn't enjoy that much but did it for Doug was, he had a "crotch-rocket" (that's what he called it) motorcycle. He loved going fast on it, and he loved having me ride on the back with him. I hated going fast, and I hated leaning towards the ground, but I would go with him every once in awhile; and I always could feel his joy when I went. He hated "chick flicks", but would every once in awhile go with me. Be willing to give to your partner, but also be open to receiving from your partner. Little surprises always feed the relationship. A favorite meal cooked, a single rose, a coffee just because. Do little things for each other! Fight, argue, disagree FAIRLY! Which means speak your battle, but more importantly listen to your spouses battle. When we shut off our ears and only use our mouth we are in that moment being selfish. Selfishness in a marriage is one ingredient to an unhealthy marriage. Love each other all the time! In the most difficult situations is when you need to love each other the most. When you completely disagree with your spouse, remember to love them. Agree to disagree on things. And by doing that makes neither one right! When times get trying, and I promise they will, you never give up without fighting like hell. Laugh a lot! Laugh together, laugh at each other, laughter is so good for your soul. Intimacy is a must, I am a firm believer, if you are not being intimate with your spouse they will find it in other places! As the years start to go by, do not get stuck in your ways. Do not become a mom and no longer a wife! Do not become dad and no longer a husband! Remember before the kids, were two people that fell in love, that relationship is the MOST important! One day the kids will all move out and will you have fed your marital relationship so it will thrive without kids, or will you be looking at each other, once the last child leaves, asking who are you! Date each other! Always, always, always remember falling in love, what made you fall in love, and why you chose to spend the rest of your life with this person!
1 Corinthians 13:4-7
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Fairy tales can happen, you just have to believe in them, work for them, build on them, and allow yourself to experience them. Do not ever compare your fairytale to anyone else's fairytale. Write your own love story! As you are experiencing it, enjoy it, be in the moment, and fully cherish it. Because in a blink of an eye it can be gone!
Now that I spoke to the young people and newlyweds; old people and those that have been married for 10+ years, listen up. Re read what I just wrote, you all need to hear it twice! Life is getting comfortable, maybe getting set in your ways, allow yourself to fall in love all over again with your spouse. Or at least pull that burn, that giddy love to the surface of your relationship!
I will now step off the soapbox!
Doug and I loved on a very deep level, we chose everyday to work to be the best partner we could be for each other. We, let's say scratched each other's back. We gave to each other and we gave up for each other. We listened more than we spoke. We chose to let go instead of digging our feet in. We knew each other inside and out. We enjoyed spending time together, hence why we were one! Where there was Doug, there was Jacki! Cancer just intensified all aspects of our love story! For that I am grateful! I may weep all day, my love not physically next to me, but because of what we built, my heart is FOREVER filled with a never ending love!
Douglas I LOVE YOUR GUTS. . . . PROMISE!
Love and Blessings to all