in which i renew my vows, online

you’ve always saved me, in your own quiet Christ-like way.

“i don’t ever want our house to be without children,” i tell you. “even when we’re old, so long as we have beds, we have children,” and you nod and you smile.

but just hours earlier i’d been the one on the phone, calling our foster sons’ mom, leaving a message saying we couldn’t do it anymore. weeping into the receiver saying it was causing too much stress and i couldn’t see the light.

then you called her back, while i was in the shower, saying “don’t worry, emily didn’t mean that, she’s just feeling sad. i know she still wants to take care of your children. just give her time.”

and, after i got out of the shower, and you prayed for me, i called her back, and left another message, not knowing you already had, saying, “i’m sorry, i didn’t mean what i said. i was just stressed. please forgive me. we are more than happy to take care of your children.”

and the heat of this july the same as that one: when we stood under that trellis in my parent’s backyard and said “for better or for worse, till death…”

and you didn’t know that meant three years of anorexia. you didn’t know how close i’d come to death. you didn’t know i’d change my mind after getting married about wanting children. all you knew was forgiveness.

it’s not been perfect. you’re not perfect. i’m most certainly not, as my poor cooking attests to but our lives are being made perfect, with every kiss goodnight, with every child we make, with every child we help, with every prayer we utter together, it’s the hardest, and most holy, of offerings. and i do, i do, i do.


so with that, and all i’ve learned, i vow the following:

1. i will never forsake you, not just physically, but emotionally, spiritually and mentally. i will never “tune” you out or ignore you, or make fun of you, or gossip about you.

2. i will respect you in heart, and in my word, and in deed. i will not treat you like a child. instead, i will treat you like a man. i will say, “i appreciate you” instead of “good job” and “thank you for taking care of me,” instead of “i can do it by myself.”

3. i will let you enter your cave when you arrive home from work, i will give you space in which to dwell, i will not pester you until you return, emotionally and spiritually, to me, each day. allowing you to rest.

4. i will not demand of you what you cannot give. i will ask my friends, and my God, to fill the places that you cannot.

5. i will laugh at more of your jokes.

6. i will kiss you more, in public.

7. i will submit to you. this is so hard for me, but i will, because i know that on judgment day, God will ask me if i did this, and then he will ask you if you listened to God. my job is to listen to you, and yours, is to listen to God.

8. i will trust that you love me, even when we’re arguing, or you’ve hurt my feelings.

9. i will always be excited to see you, and not just because you help me with the kids. i will be the smitten girl you fell for in bible school.

10. i will nurse you back to health when you’re sick, even when it’s just a cold, and i will stop making fun of you for needing me, when in fact it’s this very needing each other that nurses this marriage. this one-ness.

for you save me, babe, in your own quiet way. and for that, i thank you.

(happy ninth anniversary, trenton nathan wierenga)

(to pre-order my book, chasing silhouettes: how to help a loved one battling an eating disorder, please click here)
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