3 Years Towards Forever

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Tomorrow Travis and I will be married 3 whole years! Insane! I know that doesn’t sound like much for some people, but for us and all we have been through, it is a lot. I can honestly say that things are only getting better. Odds are not in our favor that we will make it. We have both been  married before and I am a recovering alcoholic. We come from different cultures and are very different people. Yet, I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that I will be with this man forever. Not because we are perfect or have the perfect relationship, but because we are both willing to put in the work that it takes and we are putting Christ at the center of our relationship. {I in no way am saying that you did not do these things if your marriage did not work. Everyone has their own unique situation.} Travis and I also have a special something that bonds us, even beyond fishing.

The boat landing at St. George. We were both so unhealthy.  I wish we could get a do over.

The boat landing at St. George. We were both so unhealthy. I wish we could get a do over.

Same landing 3 years later!!

Same landing 3 years later!!

We met at a bar about 4 years ago. I had had a crush on him from knowing him through a friend. (He had no idea I existed.) I was in the end of my drinking years, but of course I didn’t know that at the time. I thought I was a fun party girl! Travis saw through all my craziness. He saw the real me that rarely made appearances. We fell in love instantly. Well, I did. We have always had fun and I loved his kindness from the very start. We then went through a very rough time. I knew I should stop drinking, but the power of addiction is unbelievably strong. It took several attempts within the year. It was hard on both of us.  Me changing into a whole new person was hard on him in the beginning. We were both scared. We had about a month apart when I went through outpatient rehabilitation. It was in that time that I truly knew I loved him. I had never ached for anyone like that. Turns out he felt the same way.

My loves.

My loves.

Learning to be sober Vanessa hasn’t been easy. Learning to be sober Vanessa’s husband hasn’t been easy. I also went back to church, which for me felt like a natural homecoming, but I am sure felt a little odd for him. He grew up going to church and wanted to go every now and then, but I knew I was being called to come ‘home.’ We also became pregnant 3 months after my sobriety date. Whoa. Talk about the whole world changing. Once you get sober after drinking for over 10 years, you do not instantly become healthy, mentally, emotionally, or physically. I was worried about the physical part, but I worked to make sure Vivienne was healthy by communicating with my doctor. The emotional and mental parts are coming along. I still have patterns that I need to break. Travis has worked to be comforting and understanding. We have supported each other through majors ups and downs in both of our lives. Him getting hired on with the fire department was such an amazing milestone for us.

How he proposed. Oddly enough, this past Christmas was our first "normal" Christmas.

How he proposed. Oddly enough, this past Christmas was our first “normal” Christmas.

That is just it. Us. I want him to be happy. He wants me to be happy. We are humans, so of course, we tend towards being selfish. However, I feel that our marriage has survived through such tumultuous times because we want the other’s happiness over our own.I know I am loved completely and wholly. That is a unbeliveable feeling. As a rape victim, it literally changed my life. My brain almost got stuck on that once I got sober. I couldn’t compute being loved for me and not as just a sexual object.  Travis was patient through that as well. Although, being loved completely could change anyone’s life.

Family right after God.

Family right after God.

I won’t tell Travis’ secrets, but his love for Sophie is the sweetest thing ever. I knew he would be an amazing dad because of the way he loved her and because of how he was with my nephew. Turns out, he is an awesome dad. It is the most wonderful thing in the world to have a family. We are a family of 5. (You can’t forget the puppies.) We all have a fun time together. My favorite is when he gets her giggles going or gives her sweet kisses. He loves her more than anything and wants to protect her every step. I will always smile thinking of him putting pillows under her when she started standing. A father’s love and like for their child is priceless. We will never be rich, but we have more love than money could ever buy. What you see is what you get. We are real. There are no fake smiles for social media. We fight and argue, like everyone else. We are working on our issues. We discuss the problems and seek help if we need to. We actively try to learn from our arguments. I need to stop my empty threats. He needs to stop saying things just to hurt me. We know how to wound each other. We have come a very long way from 11/29/11, my sobriety date.

He kinda loves her a lot.

He kinda loves her a lot.

We went to a marriage seminar at our church recently that was given by an amazing counselor. I think it is important to attend things that focus on your marriage sometimes. Your bond with your spouse is important, put time into it. I feel that you put time into the things you love. Is your marriage important to you? Talk about it. Or learn about it. Even if you just read an article or two, that could give you some great insight that could help you. Also, put time into each other. Never forget each other. We continue to change and so does your relationship. You have to spend time, alone, together to learn about those changes. For Travis and I, we have fishing. We also love to explore and eat! What can you do with your spouse to continue to learn about each other? There are things he tells me that still surprise me. I hope that always happens. I hope we are 75, sitting on the boat fishing, and he tells me something that just shocks me.

Tag team fishing.

Tag team fishing.

My parents have modeled a great relationship example for me. They have been married forever, no really, 45 years is forever. They have lived most of their marriage by the CHRIST principle. Well, after my dad stopped drinking. Yep, it runs in the family. My parents aren’t perfect either, but I think they do a great job growing together. They are pretty amazing parents, but this is about their marriage. The CHRIST principle is an acronym.

C ommitment

H onesty

R espect

I ntegrity

S ervant spirit

T enacious

We have to keep Christ at the center of relationship for it to last and to maintain substance. In fact, I think a good marriage will grow. So many times people say they fell out of love. Love is more than a feeling, it is an action. (You old school Christians will be singing DC Talk’s ‘Love is a Verb.’)  I use to think that love made you feel like you were floating or had butterflies. That is new love and that can’t last. Why would you want it to? It isn’t tangible. It disappears. Forever love is like a river. As time passes, it gets deeper. It charts new courses. It explores new terrain and is strong. It is alive. Well, that’s how this lady angler likes to think of it.

Growing a family and a love, together.

Growing a family and a love, together.

 

 

 

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3 thoughts on “3 Years Towards Forever

  1. I absolutely love this. You’re an inspiration! You really are! What you’ve accomplished is huge! And I pray God just keeps you going!

  2. Vanessa this is beautiful. You are an inspiration to so many.. Love you & I’m so proud of the women, Mother & wife & daughter in law you are. Love “Mom” Trish

  3. Vanessa, I’m inspired by your openness! Wow, it takes a lot of courage to share your thoughts and feelings on the internet.

    I really like that you said, “being loved completely could change anyone’s life.” That is so true.

    It makes me wonder what we could accomplish if we all dove in with both feet and really connected with people.

    Keep up the good work!

    Ellory

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