One year ago today, I walked down the aisle to marry Caleb Owenby and begin a sweet, exciting, and crazy life with him! To celebrate, I thought I’d share some favorite memories from our wedding, some moments from our first year of marriage that stood out, and a few of the things I’ve learned after 365 days of being married to Caleb Owenby.
On July 14, 2018, at approximately 11:30am, the doors to the church I have attend almost every Sunday from birth until I left for college opened, and I experienced one of the most overwhelming moments of my life. I had prepared myself to walk down the aisle to Caleb in his dress blues, but nothing could prepare me for seeing all of the people I love most filling a sanctuary in which both my faith and my physical body had grown so much over all 18 years of my childhood. I saw your smiling faces and tried to capture that moment permanently in my memory. I saw face of teachers, church members, pastors, professors, friends, and family. As I walked down the aisle, I remembered how you had taken time to listen to and encourage a little girl. I remembered how you had welcomed me into your homes when I was away from home or just needed someone to visit with. I remembered how you had loved me when I seemed very unlovable. I remembered how you had congratulated me on even the smallest achievements, because you knew they were big to me. I remembered how you had listened to me cry and told me that you wanted to hurt with me in the most difficult times of life. I remembered how you had made time for me when I knew you had so little time and a million things on your to do list. And most of all, I remembered how you pointed me to Jesus with your words and actions. I will never forget those precious moments!
Our first year of marriage has been one for the books! I imagine that when we face even more difficult and heartbreaking moments in our marriage, we will look back on year one and remember God’s faithfulness during this year and trust that he will provide for us in whatever hardships we face in the years to come. Our marriage started out with an AMAZING honeymoon in Alaska and the trek back to my (and then our!) townhome in Swansboro, NC. We got busy setting up our home and took time in the midst of that craziness to take a bucket-list trip to visit the remaining of the seven North Carolina lighthouses. The first month of marriage was dreamy! Caleb traveled with the Marine band to play for the 9/11 memorial services in New York City when we got the word that Hurricane Florence was headed our way. Having evacuated for hurricanes as kids, we didn’t think too much of it and packed up to head to Caleb’s sisters house in western NC. We soon found out that our second-floor ceiling had collapsed and that we would need to salvage what we could and move. We moved to Newport, NC, and after six weeks of being out of school, I restarted my school year! October was filled with moving and resettling. November brought some major life decisions regarding what our life held in our second year of marriage. December provided time for a quick trip home for Christmas. January and February were filled preparations for grad school auditions for Caleb and the beginning of the job search for me. March and April brought grad school decisions and Marine Band trips to Mardi Gras in New Orleans, St. Patrick’s Day in Boston, and a spring tour for Caleb. In March, we purchased a truck for Caleb and prayed we wouldn’t have to go through the car buying process again for many years. April and May brought job applications, interviews, and the acceptance of a job for me! May involved a wreck in which I was hit from behind and my car was totaled. So May brought the car buying process again and more dealings with insurance. We took a quick trip to DC in May and enjoyed more time near the beach in warmer weather. June brought the close of a crazy school year for me and the beginning of the packing process. In July, we enjoyed Caleb’s last performance with the band on July 4th(no more patriotic way to transition out of life in the Marine Corps!) and many bittersweet goodbyes. And here we find ourselves, traveling towards the next season of life on our anniversary!
I’ve learned a lot during our first year of marriage, but as I was finishing watching the Netflix series “Anne with an E” I heard something that seemed to sum up much of what I have learned. Anne, in her wisdom that is shared so frequently throughout the show, says that in marriage, “Neither one should have to abandon their own desire.” I thought her idea sounded great and idealistic until I realized that our marriage didn’t look like that at all. I find myself having to sacrifice my own desires out of love for Caleb and commitment to our marriage, and I am overwhelmed at the number of times Caleb sacrifices his desires out of love for me and his commitment to our marriage. Marriage doesn’t look like never having to abandon your own desires. Rather, it looks like daily sacrifice of our own desires and dreams. But don’t worry, Anne, marriage is so much sweeter than never having to abandon your own desires. Instead, it looks like recognizing the love of your spouse as they sacrifice their own desires out of love for you. It’s sweeter than not giving up your dreams, rather, it’s creating a combined dream together…a dream that we can call “our” dream and not just “my” dream.
And so, with that, I have a prayer to begin our second year of marriage: God, thank you for your gift of marriage. I pray that you would remind me each day that marriage takes sacrifice. Give me the courage to listen to your voice and sacrifice my own dreams for the sake of “our dream” that you have given us the opportunity to create together. Help me to recognize Caleb’s love for me and for you as he sacrifices for the sake of our dream. Remind us that the purpose of marriage is not to make us happy, but to make us more holy. Guide us as we create our dream together, and help us to work towards holiness as we live life together.