Today is Our 10th Wedding Anniversary!

As of today, my wife and I have been married 10 years. Admittedly, that is a fact I am very proud of, as it is an honor to be married to this woman.

I am even more in love with her now than I was on July 5, 2008.

That’s something I can honestly say. Because over the course of the past decade, we have both evolved as individuals, while at the same time we have chosen to grow together in the same direction.

Therefore, I can now appreciate who she is as a person more than I could 10 years ago. We have made “happily ever after” our daily choice.

It helps that my wife is full of grace. I think that was an underlying trait of hers that I always knew that attracted me to her.

Now at age 37, with the life experience of 10 years of marriage, and 7 and a half as a parent, I have undeniably evolved.

I can’t see how a man could go from bachelor to married man and then father, over the course of a decade, without being forced to change for the better; as he is stripped away of his sense of selfishness, and trades it in for selflessness.

Back in 2008, at age 27, I knew so little about adulthood and how the world actually worked.

As I recently mentioned, the search for wisdom, truth, and meaning ends with life’s responsibilities; including marriage, children, and a mortgage.

I am not the same person I was a decade ago; neither is my wife.

With each passing decade ahead, I know we will continue to evolve as individuals, as well as together.

We knew each other for 4 months before we started dating, then dated for for a 11 months before we became engaged (nearly half of that time she was overseas in Australia serving as a nanny), then were engaged for 5 months before we got married.

And now 10 years have passed.

That is our story so far. We’ve got the rest of our lives to figure out what comes next.

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This is 36: We Celebrated Our 9 Year Wedding Anniversary by Taking Our Kids on a Road Trip to Louisville, Kentucky

Yes, it was indeed nine years ago today that my wife and I were married at Brenthaven Cumberland Presbyterian Church. We purposely got married right next to a holiday (July 4th) so that we’d sort of always have a built-in day off for whatever we ended up doing for our anniversary.

For our 9th anniversary this year, we decided there was no better way to celebrate, than the load up our 6 and a half year-old son and our 1 year-old daughter and take a random road trip to one of my favorite cities in America:

Louisville, Kentucky.

Perhaps a more normal couple would have ventured there without the kids- and checked out some venues that are little more anniversary-ish and perhaps not so focused on catering to the attention spans of children.

Nah. Not us.

If we’re going to spend the money on a road trip, even just a 3 hour one across the state line, we might as well make it a family affair.

Being the world’s most famous vegan family friendly daddy blogger, Toyota helped us out by sending a 2017 4Runner; which proved to be ideal for our laid-back adventure to the Blue Grass State.

Because we’ve got our annual family zoo pass from Nashville, we were able to get in the Louisville Zoo for half off.

And because we’re cool adventurous people, we even took an unplanned stop at Dinosaur World in Cave City, Kentucky on the way back home to Tennessee.

Thanks to some points we’d earned, my wife was able to cash in a free stay at the Marriott Courtyard Louisville East, just a few miles from the zoo.

I must say we were quite entertained by the “New Japan Pro-Wrestling” tournament that happen to be on, while we enjoyed our dessert treats from Whole Foods Louisville; which was also just a few miles away too.

Two queen size beds between the four of us…

You can imagine how it must have been getting our daughter to sleep too; in the pack-and-play bed next to ours.

It was around 10:30 PM by the time both our kids were asleep. To ensure we didn’t disturb them, we laid out a towel on the bathroom floor in front of the sink, and enjoyed our gourmet vegan cupcakes from Whole Foods.

This is 36.

What I’ve Learned From 7 Years Of Marriage

Today makes 7 years ago I married the beautiful girl who would change my life for the better…

Joe Hendricks Photography

Looking back on these past 7 years, my wife has taught me many crucial things and I’m absolutely a better person because of her.

Being married to my wife has confirmed my pre-existing understanding of what true romance is:

That a man truly wants to spend the rest of his life learning how to love the woman of his life; that there’s not simply a “happy ending” to the story just because the guy gets the girl.

Real love from a man to a woman is evolving to a stronger, more mature place, along with her love for him. Evolve is the key word.

It’s not about a happy ending, the way the movies end on their 90th minute right before the credits roll. It’s about an overall happy life-long journey, acknowledging the not-so-happy parts in between that are part of that experience as well, leading to that evolution.

Otherwise, there wouldn’t be the need to evolve together.

That’s how I’ve always felt about her.

It’s almost miraculous that nearly a decade ago when she and I met, despite my immaturity and inexperience as a 26 year-old “guy”, I had enough going on at the time to convince her I was worth her investment.

Joe Hendricks Photography

Because now, as a 34 year-old man, I do have the maturity level and life experience I wish I had when I was a single 27 year-old. But it’s only because of what I’ve learned from being her husband.

Maybe it’s now in this very moment that I am able to realize that despite all the things I appreciate of my wife, the thing I value the most is knowing she is patient to let me learn and work through my own shortcomings..

She always is understanding. Not to mention, she is always willing to give my crazy ideas a chance.

Honestly, it’s this simple: Without hesitation, I can easily replace the word “love” with her name in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7:

Jill is patient, Jill is kind. She doesn’t envy, she doesn’t boast, she isn’t proud. She isn’t rude, she isn’t self-seeking, she isn’t easily angered, she keeps no record of wrongs. She doesn’t delight in evil but rejoices in the truth. She always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Jill never fails.

That’s how I see my wife.

Granted, I’m fully aware that she and I are both two imperfect people. But we are two imperfect people who ultimately always protect, always trust, always hope, and always persevere.

Therefore, perfection isn’t necessary.

Photos courtesy of Joe Hendricks Photography.