Richard had asked me on our Arizona trip to renew our vows. At the time it wasn’t something that I had wanted to, mainly because I was pregnant with Kyrene and the thought of having to wear a dress while fat and bloated wasn’t appealing in the slightest way. So I told him yes, but asked if we could wait until I was no longer pregnant and preferably not nursing a baby either…yes, I took the romance out of the gesture with my ridiculous rules…
He honestly didn’t bring it up after that trip, I believe that I had crushed his spirit and had in some ways let him down. I wasn’t going to be the mature one either and bring it up, leave it to me to be the stubborn one. Since him asking me to renew our vows infront of our missed friends in AZ, two anniversaries have passed. I figured that our current anniversary was going to be the same as it has been in the past, dinner out, minus children thanks to Nana.
While on his recent trip to Anchorage…yes, that man seems to travel alot there, and its never a quick trip. He came home and asked if I was willing to renew our vows NOW, now as in less then 2 weeks away, actually 9 days to be exact. My immediate reaction was to say NO, I have absolutely no idea why either. But when I saw his sincere eyes and he gave me his reasoning why it was so important to do them this year I couldn’t say no, and my list of reason “why not to” soon dwindled into nothing.
Richard told me that all I had to do was say yes, wear a dress, and show up at 6pm. He had all the details worked out and was fine tuning the vision he had in mind.
This is the part that I had to struggle with my annoying self, the person that likes to have everything organized “just right” and likes to have a say. The days leading up to the renewal, Richard’s cell phone would ring and he would disappear out to the chicken coup or would be texting alot in the evenings (something he doesn’t do, since men, well men I am around, don’t text with their friends, like us women who have to be in constant communication).
The day came and I was tense, I at the time just thought it was in large part due to my CRANKY children who hadn’t napped in 2 days thanks to the amazing weather that caused their overly planned mom to throw out nap time. He had taken a 1/2 at work and told me not to expect to see him till his normal time off.
I had the difficult problem every woman has…the battle we face everytime we have an event to go to…I had NOTHING to wear. Even my sweet friend Kelsey let me rummage her summer dresses. I had tried on a few, but none of them worked. I had conceded to the fact I was just going to go in jeans and a nice shirt. I didn’t have time or money to go buy a dress last minute in this town, where a “nice” dress would be a price those of you in the lower 48 would die to pay.
I calmly got ready and saw the shirt he had picked and then remembered a dress I had scored while shopping in AZ on our recent trip. I put it on, grabbed my precious pearls Richard gave me and immediately felt I had won the battle!
I nervously played with my purse and chomped on my gum while driving to the location he deemed appropriate. When I arrived I was taken aback by the most beautiful sign…
Leave it to my friend/boss, Kristy, to pull off such thoughtful and rustic/romantic decor. The time and effort she puts into things makes you feel like the things you are passionate about are really just things that you kind of like. I have watched her time and time again at events we do, pull out beautiful handmade decor and realize she really did her homework, got to know her client, and strived to put their personality into the event.
Her beautiful handmade chandelier, it was gorgeous!
The beautiful center pieces, using the standard mason jars…every detail provided this feelings of intimacy
The precious detail that I am SO SAD I didn’t get a picture of, was the rows of logs my husband had drug around the beach to make seats for our support system to sit on during the ceremony. It looked the pews you would have seen in a small chapel and made my heart stir, not just because of the time and effort it took for him to do it, but because as I looked around at all the planning he had done, I realized that he really does know me, and more importantly knows my heart.
Cayden walked me down the isle, admitting to me he was really nervous, and I was handed off to my calm husband.
I hadn’t expected for him to give a sermon, but shouldn’t have been surprised because if you know Richard, you know he loves to talk. The words that came out of his mouth were sincere, thoughtful, humble, and most of all resembled a man that strives to be what God has called him to be. He explained to our friends/family why he felt it was so important for us to renew our vows now. How the man that made the vows 7 years ago said/did them out of a formality, but know understands the need to say them, concentrated under God, now that his soul truly understands what those vows mean.
My grandpa White, who was officiating the ceremony even stated that Richard had taken his scripture that he had planned to read over us, Ephesians 5. As he had us recite our vows to one another, I looked into the eyes of the man I have grown up with these last 13 years and realized that the man I had said “I do” to 7 years ago is no longer present. As we promised to love, honor, cherish, in sickness and health, for richer or poorer” I couldn’t hold back the calm that I tend to have when in stressful situations. I felt my warm tears run down my cheeks because as we said them together I was flooded with memories of times it hasn’t been easy to uphold them. There were times I wondered if we were going to become that statistic.
I came from a broken family and always expected him to leave me and built walls to protect me. It wasn’t until one of our fights shortly after having Kyre, that he grabbed me by the arms, while I struggled to get away from him and told me (well, possibly yelled at me to make sure my thick skull could hear him), “I am NOT ever going to leave you, I am not your dad, so stop treating me like I am”…ouch.
The last 7 years of marriage have had their ups and downs, I mean really, graduation college, starting our careers, pregnancies, moving to alaska, CF diagnosis, financial struggles, and most of all just trying to remain devoted to one another in a broken world that tells you when the going gets tough to get out.
I am not saying that we have found the “secret” to a happy marriage, cause honestly I don’t think there is one. But we have found the answer, found the reason to stay committed especially in the moments we want to say hurtful things or run away. We have found that by making God the center of our marriage, by turning to HIM and HIS word that we can clearly see hope.
7 years I have watched my husband grow into a man of God, one who desires no other will, but that of his maker. I have watched my husband work hard, in crappy jobs to make sure that bills are paid and food is on the table. He has loved and cared for us and NEVER once gripped about the countless responsibilities that come with a family.
I LOVE you Richard Harney, thank you for your sacrificial love, thank you for caring for us, and thank you for leaning on God to show you how to lead us.