My husband and I are celebrating 20 years of married life today.

Here are 10 memorable moments, in order of occurrence, as much as I can remember:

  1. On the second night of our marriage, we went camping together for the first time, in the Daniel Boone National Forest. Weird noises and not-great-sleep and my husband decided we should pack up in the middle of the night and go to our car. Begrudgingly, I agreed. Within minutes of arriving at the car, a huge storm, one that would have surely resulted in a flooded tent, commenced. Lesson: I need to trust my smart husband’s instincts.
  2. In the fall of 1993, we moved to Wheaton, IL to attend graduate school. Although we both received admission to the program we wanted to attend, we weren’t sure how we would pay for it. The director encouraged us to both enroll, ensuring us that he would work with us on the financial side. We did. Lesson: God always provides.
  3. After we finished grad school, my husband started looking for ministry opportunities. Tacked on a bulletin board, I read about a position that seemed like a perfect fit. I “borrowed” the flyer and forgot to return it. We interviewed for and accepted the position. Lesson: Eliminate the competition when you really want a job. Finding the right opportunities is sometimes a joint venture.
  4. We adopted a dalmatian puppy around the time we bought our first home. We loved him. I was an awful dog-parent. Lesson: Being the parent of a dog may (or may not) prepare you for the responsibility of parenting children.
  5. In the fall of 1995, I met a young high schooler who needed a temporary home. I didn’t expect my husband to be open to the possibility of opening our home, but I mentioned it one night on a drive home from a date night. He instantly loved the idea. We invited “Mary” into our home. Lesson: We can make a difference, together.
  6. The night before the opening of the church my husband and I started, we bought new shirts to wear, in the excitement of the big opening day. I remember the shirts, but more important than the shirts was the opportunity to work together, with an amazing team, to make a big difference. Lesson: I love working on big projects with my partner. 
  7. Our first daughter arrived two weeks late. Around her due date, my husband started a bonfire in the backyard. Through the long days of waiting, he kept the fire going. Even when it rained, he kept the waiting fire going. Lesson: My wonderful husband always keeps our home fires burning.
  8. Our second daughter came home on a rainy afternoon. From the start, we saw differences in our two girls, and we celebrated their growing friendship. Lesson: We are each unique, and we enjoy being together.
  9. Our third daughter, born two days after Christmas, completed our beautiful trio. For months before she arrived, I hinted that we needed a minivan and my husband insisted that our Toyota Camry would be sufficient with three kids in the back seat. About a week after her birth, we had a minivan in the driveway. Six years later, I’m still driving it. Lesson:  Patience is rewarded. The best vehicle to drive is the one you already own.
  10. On a June morning about four years ago, we received a phone call about my mother in law’s passing, a very sad day that marked the ending of her struggle with significant illness. In the days since, we’ve worked to keep her memory alive in our daughters’ hearts. Lesson: Shared memories are stronger.

So many wonderful moments in the last twenty years. I’m grateful for our life together, and still saying yes.