Marriage: One year older and wiser

I first met Justin when I was nineteen years old and a sophomore at college. At the time I was a little too giggly, a little too boy-crazy, a little too chubby from Wendy's and Taco Bell---and a little too lost when it came to my dreams and goals. But I didn't care. I was nineteen! I had my twenties to figure out this thing called "life."

I remember the day that we met. Not the exact date but I know it was sunny and it was warm. I was probably wearing my favorite Gap denim skirt with my platform flip-flops from Old Navy. (Ugh...I shudder at my wardrobe choices back then.) I thought I looked pretty cool with that combination on.

My friend Miranda was at my apartment and she had invited her new boyfriend over so we could all meet him. She told us his name was Justin and he was taking a year off from Duke to work on a book. Of course, I was intrigued. A boy from Duke! He must be smart, right? After all, he was able to get into Duke when all I got was a thin rejection letter from that university.

And I remember watching him walk through my apartment complex---a strong-looking guy with big arms and a baseball cap. He strolled through my front door with no anxiety and no shyness. He shook hands and he smiled and he made jokes right off of the bat. I asked him about Duke and we talked for a couple minutes. I was definitely intrigued by him---he was so different from the stereotypical Mormon boys I met at school. He was a little too crazy, a little too outspoken, and a whole lot more liberal than the BYU standard.

Admittedly, I was a little smitten with this Justin Richmond character. I barely saw him after our first meeting but I would try to fish information from Miranda. My silly little crush was, well, silly. He had a girlfriend. That girlfriend was my friend. He lived on the other side of the country. I would never see him again.

Or so I thought.

On Sunday, Justin and I celebrated our one year anniversary. In the morning he smiled at me and sang a little "Happy Anniversary" song as I rubbed my eyes and yawned. We marveled at how quickly a year had passed and how wonderful a year it was indeed. We had a couple of downs but mostly ups. A few lows, but predominantly highs. And through it all we've grown closer and stronger and watched as our marriage soldified. We are so happy.

At times I find myself looking at my husband and my breath catches in my throat. I'm hit with the realization that I am married and that my soul mate is sitting next to me. For a long time I didn't think I would find him---or at least so early in my life. For a long time I thought I would wander this world by myself because I didn't think someone could really truly love me. Yet here he sits besides to me and we've been together for nearly two years and he tells me he loves me more each day. And I know I don't really deserve it.

And I know that dreams do come true.