Today is our one-year anniversary.
ONE YEAR. I can hardly believe it! It feels like we have so much more to learn and yet we’ve hit such a milestone at the same time. I know we are still babies in our sacrament, but I still feel like this is a big accomplishment. As blissful those years of dating Brad were, being married has taken it to a whole other level. This year has honestly been the best, most peace-filled year of my life. And it’s extra special because we are expecting our little one in a few weeks time!
In honor of today, I want to share with you my favorite moment of our wedding day. About a month before the ceremony our friend Fr. Josh called me up to ask me about a crazy idea he had... He wanted Bradley and I to write love letters to each other so that he could include them in the homily. Of course, I was all for it because I’m a sentimental sap and just LIVE for stuff like this.
Here's my letter:
As we enter into this holy sacrament, there is a sense of overwhelming joy and peace when I reflect about our relationship. Looking back, I realize that our love story must have come straight from the heart of God Himself. I know with an utmost certainty that you are my path to heaven, and I recognize that both our earthly and eternal happiness depends on how we uphold the sacred vocation we enter into today.
Bradley, you are the most tangible evidence of God’s grace in my life, and I am humbled every day by your love for me. Your smile alone gives me the strength I need to overcome any struggle, and you genuinely show me the Lord’s pure love for me every day. With you by my side, I know we can stand against any darkness that distracts us from our path. I am confident the Lord will guide our decisions so that we may reflect his love, light, and joy to all we encounter in our marriage. You have taught me what it means to live for greater things than myself, and I thank you for allowing me to love you amidst my own brokenness.
As I say these vows today, I am promising to give you all of me so that we may no longer be “two but one flesh”. I promise to fight everyday to become worthy of your love. I promise to never forget how I felt on our first date. I promise to pray for you always… for your relationship with Christ, for the grace to be the best husband and father, and for your role as the spiritual leader of our family. I promise that our children will know every day how much I love their father. I promise to wake up each morning and say, “yes” to you and our marriage. I promise to love you for who God has in mind for you to become and to spend my life challenging you to get there.
I can’t promise I will be perfect at this, but I can promise that I will try. Your selflessness, patience, and merciful heart challenge me to be Christ for you. I want to serve you everyday and show you what a good person is. You remind me that just as Christ laid down His life for us, we must too die to our own desires for the sake of the other. I love you, Bradley, and I can’t wait to be your wife!
In Christ’s love,
My dearest bride Emily,
The most astounding, beautiful thing has happened today -- bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh -- I give myself to you this first day only to bring you to Joy on the last day. I feel I've been preparing my whole life to begin this moment with you. I can vividly remember sitting in class in fifth grade thinking of where my future wife was at that instant, and now the Lord has finally blessed me with the answer.
I have found my other half, my best friend, the seal upon my heart. It is inconceivable how essential you have become to me, but today that mystery deepens as you become the most inseparable part of my path to heaven. I've been rereading Evangeline over the last few days, and I came across this passage which could speak directly to that journey we set out on today:
"As a traveler follows a streamlet's course through the valley;
Far from its margin at times, and seeing the gleam of its water
here and there, in some open space, and at intervals only
Then drawing nearer its banks, through sylvan glooms that conceal it,
though he behold it not, he can hear its continuous murmur;
Happy, at length, if he find the spot where it reaches an outlet"
As we set out along the stream to find the one Outlet, may we be blessed to see the gleam of the True Water in our times of consolation. But even more, I pray we might always hear the good Lord's beautiful continuous Murmur when the stream is concealed and difficult to follow. Emily, this is a most unworldly paradox - we are to take sufferings and turn them into gladness. To perfect this talent, I commit this day, only by the example of Christ, to lead you as the head and priest of our family, but I will always fall short without you as the heart of our family, pouring out love into every corner. May we intimately know our God - Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and may our love perfectly image that Trinity.
What a joy it is to know the most beautiful girl in the world will be the first person I see every morning, the highlight of my every day, the mother of my children, the sharer of my name, and the saint under my own roof. I love you. I love you. I love you. I hold your hand as we, like Peter, step out of the boat onto the rough sea. Now we embrace, and our eyes turn to Him.
With unshakable love, your husband,
The first thing we did this morning is read our letters while sipping our coffee. I still mean every word of that letter and the vows we said. Having Bradley by my side reminds me every day of my Father’s love for me. I am in awe at how effortlessly he leads me to Christ – always patient, always joyful, always kind. He is truly my St. Joseph.
Now off to our anniversary adventure… Brad promised a day full of fun and surprises!
all photos by Katherine Holly Photography