22 years ago today I embarked on a wild and crazy adventure….
As I took those first steps towards life with my beloved I could not know what twists and turns, valleys and peaks, lay on the road ahead.
I did know that I was exactly where I wanted to be.
As I grasped my father’s arm and breathed in deeply, a wonderful peace filled my heart and soul. God had brought me here and He would be a part of my journey to the end.
Though I lived in Los Angeles by then I chose to get married in Paris where I grew up. It was a tough decision in some ways because some of the friends Cris and I cherished as a couple would not be able to attend. But I knew deep in my heart it was the right thing to do. I was crazy about Cris and knew he was my guy, but I also knew that I would need the support of loved ones as we ventured into this new life together.
I also knew that our marriage needed God’s anointing.
As I looked for a church in Los Angeles, nothing felt right. I had not yet found my community and I did not want a church wedding just as a formality. I wanted my wedding in a house of God filled with His spirit. So I returned to the church of my childhood. I had the privilege of attending Mass for much of my formative years with a community of the most beautiful nuns. At every mass a wonderful peace and joy wrapped itself around me as their angelic voices lifted in song.
This was my spiritual home. It was where I made my first communion and where I wanted to get married.
The priest who celebrated our wedding, Archbishop Guy Thomazeau, is a dear friend of the family and one of the most saintly men I know.
I truly had the perfect wedding, surrounded by friends and family that had been part of my life’s journey up until this day, and new friends who were just coming into it.
And always by my side, my mom, dad and three sibling. My family has been my rock and has supported me through good times and challenging ones. My parents have shown me by their example that working through the tough times in a marriage leads to the greatest rewards.
Let’s be honest, marriage is not easy. Life takes us on a path that is full of surprises. And though we become one through God’s blessing, we remain two individuals who keep on growing as we experience new things, meet new people, and face trials that test our very core… sometimes we change together… sometimes we don’t.
The first five years of marriage were pure bliss. Cris and I had work schedules that allowed us a lot of free time. Weekends were filled with adventure. We both became certified dive masters, discovered the magic of rock climbing and became volunteer ski patrollers.
That passion for living life fully and our ability to push everything aside and escape for a few hours or a few days, has been a saving grace time and again.
When our first daughter was born a whole new world opened up. She was our little ray of sunshine and gave everything we did a new purpose. Children touch our very core and as we fumble through the wonderful world of parenting we learn new things about ourselves at every turn. Our beliefs are tested as much as our patience.
As we’ve journeyed through this new world with two more daughters making our little family complete, we’ve been tested time and again in ways we could never have anticipated. Cris and I have different parenting styles, and though we share the same core values, we express this in very different ways. Never in my wildest dreams would I have guessed how often we’d find ourselves on opposites sides of the fence. We’ve also both brought into our marriage deep wounds from our childhood. Wounds that were buried or ignored and have surfaced as we’ve been tested.
More than once I’ve found myself on my knees pleading with God for mercy, grace, patience and understanding. I would be lying if I said I never had the urge to run away. But deep down I knew it wasn’t what I truly wanted and it would only bring more pain.
Whenever I’ve found myself in a dark place, where life felt overwhelming and I could not breathe, I’ve gone back to that perfect day… That magical day when we both said “I do”. I meant it from the depths of my soul when I said “for better or for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish; from this day forward until death do us part.”
Cris and I may not agree on everything and we both have habits that drive the other one crazy, but we share a deep and unconditional love for each other. We cherish and respect each other and are committed to walking this path together wherever it may lead, and no matter how challenging the journey may be. We know the importance of asking for help when we need it and have been blessed with phenomenal friends and a supportive family.
I always tell my girls good things are worth fighting for. My marriage may not be perfect but it truly is the perfect marriage for me. And as we celebrate our twenty second anniversary, I am proud of what we’ve accomplished. We’ve fought hard to stay together. But we have done it together and together we look forward to what life has in store for us.
More trials will come our way. In one short year our oldest will turn 18 and will leave our little nest to fly off to life on her own. Our family dynamic will change. But we’ll adjust and discover knew things to love and cherish.
Marriage is hard. But for me it has been worth every battle. And I am a much better person thanks to my beloved.