This past week, my husband, Walter, and I celebrated our 8th wedding anniversary. After being together for a total of 11 years together, I forget what life was like before we met. Today, I’m reflecting on all the lessons I’ve learned in our 8th year of marriage. Each year, our marriage evolves and I love to celebrate those all on our anniversary.
I remember on our wedding day, just feeling overwhelming love for my new husband. But year over year, I see our love grow in new or exciting ways. One of my biggest joys is watching my husband as a father. He loves on our daughters endless, and gushes about them whenever he can, even to me! I can see how he can be a strong father to our girls and raising them to value strong character. He may question all the pink that they wear, but I know that he will always empower our girls to be whoever they want to do.
At the same time, life gets harder. In the years since we’ve been married, we’ve bought a house, I started my photography business, Walter has started new demanding jobs, and we’ve welcomed two baby girls to our family. Our life looks totally different from those early carefree newlywed days and we each juggle so much every day. I’m sure we both long for those simple, quieter days of our early relationship, but there’s no denying the amount of joy that we have in the beautiful home we’ve built with our family.
Because of all that we do, we have to intentionally spend time to nurture our love. Our schedules conflict sometimes. We have limited “free” time that we aren’t spending with our girls. But we still commit to connecting each day. Whether it’s time sitting together on the sofa to recap our day after the kids go to bed, scheduling in a monthly date night or planning fun family adventures together, we have to put in the time and energy to focus on us.
And just as we spend time together, we also spend time apart. As parents, it’s hard to “me” time. Sometime last year, we discovered a parenting hack. On Fridays, after the girl’s bedtime, it would be a solo night for either of us, while the other stays home with the girls. We would alternate each week. And we could spend it doing whatever we wanted – meeting up with friends for drinks, a solo movie (my personal favorite) or late night shopping. It allowed us to fit in some self-care as individuals and makes me better people.
He cheers me on, so hard. He celebrates my successes with me and supports all the time that I am away from the family so I can do what I love – documenting beautiful wedding love stories for incredible people. After I got the news that one of my weddings would be featured in Seattle Bride Magazine, my first print publication, I found out that he was bragging on me when I would see one of his friends and they would immediately congratulate me. It found it super sweet and very endearing. And I love him for it.
Photos by my dear friend, Sarah Harris.