To My Husband

To My Husband

What I've learned from four years of marriage.
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Dear husband,

Our four year wedding anniversary is coming up in a matter of days and all I’ve been thinking about is how blessed we are. We have come a long way in the past four years, growing as a couple, growing as parents and even growing as individuals. These four years have been some of the best years of my life. I’m sure that the years to follow are going to be just as great and full of many life lessons to learn. I’ve learned a lot in these four years, but here are my favorite lessons so far.

One of the first things I’ve learned is that time doesn’t change everything. I know, it’s one of those sayings that literally every influential person in your life says that give it time, sleep on it because tomorrow is a different day. Today, even four years later, you can give me butterflies by just looking at me in a certain way from across the room. Your goofy grin can melt away all my fears, calm all my storms. It’s like my soul knows we need to be together and my psyche senses right when I need you the most. Call me crazy, but this is love. Time will never change that. If anything, time will make me love you more, but never love you less.

Another thing that our marriage taught me pretty quick is that kids make everything more hectic, but definitely more interesting. In all honesty, I didn’t picture us having kids within a year of being married. I really didn’t see us having two kids within two years of being married. I’ve heard that the first year of marriage is hard, but I’ve never heard of how hard the first four years is with two kids, three and under. Our schedules basically revolve around making sure the girls survive day to day life. Let’s face it, I’m not the most graceful person and you’re pretty head strong, so naturally our girls struggle just to finish whatever task they start. The older the girls get, the more hectic our days will be. I can’t wait to see where these girls take us and I’m so happy you’re the one I get to enjoy this with.

A fairly recent lesson is that spontaneity is the key to a happy, loving marriage. Even in the midst of our hectic daily lives and constant changes, we tend to get very complacent with our life. We start going through the motions of saying I love you and doing the daily routines of being husband and wife. It happens to everyone, even great couples, but it happens to us every few weeks. While I do love you, I’ll be the first to admit that sometimes it feels like the phrase “I love you” is just a phrase with no meaning. We say it at the end of every phone conversation, every morning when you leave for work and every night before we fall asleep. The only times this phrase feels like it has emotion behind it is when we say it outside of the regular expected times. When you randomly send me an “I love you” text in the middle of the day, I remember that we do love each other, and that “love” is more than just a four letter word.

Lastly, the most important lesson of all is that true love can conquer all. Cliché and corny, I know, but in all seriousness, I truly believe it can. We have been through many ups and downs in the four years we have been married. We’ve relocated, bought a house, had two kids, and struggled with simply communicating with one another. Every time we’ve ever had an issue, we’ve broken it down for each other and made our way through it. We have overcome every curve ball thrown at us. Even if it took a while, we have still managed to come through as the same happily married couple who started out on this wonderful journey officially four years ago.

Thank you for choosing me. Thank you for leading the way and showing me some of the greatest things in life. Thank you being patient with me when I go into my moods. Thank you for being the best daddy to our girls. Thank you for being the greatest husband I could ever ask for. Thank you for simply being you. It takes two to make a marriage work, and thank you for going above and beyond to make ours work. I love you now, tomorrow and for the rest of forever. Happy anniversary.

Cover Image Credit: Monica Barrett

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To That One Friend Who Deserves The World

Since I can't give you the world, I hope giving you this article is enough.
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My wonderful friend,

You deserve love.

You deserve to marry your best friend.

You deserve appreciation.

You deserve that no matter who comes in and out of your life, every selfless thing you do for someone is acknowledged.

Have Your Voice Heard: Become an Odyssey Creator

You deserve kindness.

You deserve to have the nicest people in the world surround you all of the time.

You deserve support.

You deserve to have someone there for you at the beginning of every good day and at the end of every bad one, to have someone who wants to fix all of your problems.

You deserve hope.

You deserve to always be optimistic.

You deserve laughter.

You deserve to never stop smiling and actually mean it every time you do.

You deserve forgiveness.

You deserve to be able to be given second chances because without a doubt you are worth it.

You deserve friendship.

You deserve to have a friend who can be just as good of a friend as you are.

You deserve honesty.

You deserve to always be told the truth.

You deserve motivation.

You deserve to never want to give up and always push yourself.

You deserve success.

You deserve to have everything you have worked so hard for.

You deserve faith.

You deserve to always know it will get better.

You deserve loyalty.

You deserve to have that one person who will never leave and always be there for you.

You deserve happiness.

You deserve to be genuinely content with your life.

You deserve the world.

If I could give it to you, I would.

Yes, life gets tough sometimes. The unthinkable happens and your world feels like it is crashing down but you can get past all of this.

Thank you for being so selfless. It amazes me how you do it sometimes, but thank you for always making everyone your main priority when they need you.

I know I may not say it enough, but truly thank you for all you do for me. I don’t always know how to show how much someone means to me, especially when it is someone as great as you because I don’t know what I did to deserve you, but thank you.

I love you.

Cover Image Credit: Liz Spence

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The Disrespectful Nature Of My Generation Needs To Stop

Why choosing phone games over a Holocaust survivor was my breaking point.

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While many students that attended Holocaust survivor Hershel Greenblat's talk were rightfully attentive, I noticed, out of the corner of my eye, a few outlier students tapping away on their phones. They were minute movements, but inappropriate nonetheless.

Immediately I became infuriated. How, I thought, fuming, did my generation become so blithely unaware to the point where we could not proffer basic respect to a survivor of one of the most horrific events in human history?

Perhaps the students were just texting their parents, telling them that the event would run a bit long. 10 minutes later, my eyes diverted from Greenblat back to the students. They were still on their phones. This time, I could see the screens being held horizontally—indicating a game or a show was being played. I wanted to get up, smack the distractions out of their hands, and ask them why they thought what they were doing was more important than a Holocaust speaker.

I will not waste any more time writing about the disrespectful few. Because they could not give Greenblat the time of their day, I will not give them mine. Instead, I want to focus on a massive trend my generation has mistakenly indulged ourselves in.

The Greenblat incident is only an example of this phenomenon I find so confusing. From young, it was instilled in me, probably via Chinese tradition, that elders should be respected. It is a title only revoked when unacceptable behavior allows it to be, and is otherwise maintained. I understand that not everybody comes from a background where respect is automatically granted to people. And I see that side of the story.

Why does age automatically warrant respect? It is the fact that they have made it this far, and have interesting stories to tell. There are exceptions, perhaps more than there are inclusions.

But this fact can be determined by the simple act of offering an elderly person your seat on public transportation. Sure, it can be for their health, but within that simple act is a meaningful sacrifice for somebody who has experienced more than you.

Age aside, at Greenblat's talk, majority of the disrespect shown might not have been agist. Instead, it could have been the behavior students just there for the check-in check-out extra credit that multiple classes and clubs were offering. While my teachers who advertised the event stressed the importance of attendance not just for the academic boost, but for the experience, I knew that some of the more distracted students there must have been those selfish, ignorant, solely academic driven cockalorums.

I stay hopeful because majority of my classmates were attentive. We knew to put aside our Chromebooks, regardless of note-taking, and simply listen to what Greenblat had to offer.

It would be wrong to label my generation as entitled— that's a misnomer for the generation before. We are still wavering between the line of automatic respect and earned respect, but we need to set a line for people whom we know the stories of. Especially a Holocaust survivor.

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