To The Man I Plan To Marry

To The Man I Plan To Marry

There's no one else I want to spend the rest of my life with other than you.
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Dear Future Husband,

I want you to know that you are my everything. But that one little sentence doesn't even begin to scratch the surface on my feelings for you.

Since our first date, I knew that you were going to be something special, a boy like no other boy that I have ever gone out with before. My heart was racing as I was continuously wiping my clammy hands on my jeans seating in the passenger seat of your car. I couldn't stop choking on my own breath to talk to you and tell you about myself. You kept asking me questions and I wanted to answer but my mouth was so dry that I just couldn't manage to answer and ask about you. I wanted to get to know you that night. I wanted to find out what made you tick, what your hopes and dreams were, what made you happy. I remember when the night was over, you were such a gentleman, you got out of the car and walked me to the door. Did I get a kiss goodnight? No, but that was perfectly okay to me. I was more than just content with that hug that left the smell of your cologne linger in my thoughts for the night. I know what you're thinking, I've told you all of this before. But there's something I didn't tell you. When I got inside and shut the front door, I leaned up against the wall with a smile and thinking to myself "God, please let him be the one."

Everything was going so amazingly. Better than I could have ever imagined. Before I knew it I was meeting your parents and you were meeting mine. Then I became the girl that was lucky enough to call you mine and to be called your girlfriend. One day, those three (not so) little words slipped out of your mouth, completely shocking me and leaving me utterly speechless. How could you be so sure of such a thing to say? And I'm assuming that my reaction, or lack of one, was made you take it back. But soon enough, we were wrestling around on her bed, my legs twisted up all over you like a pretzel--wait.ting for dinner to be ready--when you said "I love you" again. "And this time I mean it" followed those three little words out of your mouth. All of these thoughts whirled through my brain,. I couldn't believe what I had just heard. I was more than delighted to let you know how I felt about you too. But I've yet to actually ever let you know all of my thoughts and feelings about you.

Even though you may not have been with me through every waking moment that I've been in college and working on my degree, I feel like you've been there for the most important and vital parts. When I decided that I wanted to begin cheering again, you were telling me to do what I love. Although you weren't there for all my basketball games, I know you'll be there for my competitions in the near future. For our second Christmas together you bought me a snowboard and helped me learn our to ride. So of course why wouldn't you have helped me when I broke my thumb snowboarding? Boy, did that time with limited thumb usage totally suck but it would have sucked more if I didn't have you by my side. All I need to make me happy with my college career is for you to be by my side in my graduation photos (maybe sneak in some pictures with our fur babies too).

Rewinding in time a little bit to our first vacation. Most people probably would have been royally annoyed that it was rainy and cold for most of the days that we spent on our vacation. But those people clearly weren't lucky enough to be on vacation with you. That cabin on the lake was beautiful; falling asleep by your side and waking up to sip coffee on the porch every morning was amazing. They say that you know that you're with your forever person if you can be stuck in a little space with them or go on vacation with them and not hate one another by the end it all. I like to believe that this is true and you're my forever.

Now here we are, a year and a half after our first date planning our second vacation with each other and I can't think of anyone that I would rather spend a week on the beach with than you. I can't even imagine what I would do if you weren't the one I would be soaking up the sun with.

I hope that we move on from planning vacations with each other to planning out the rest of our lives together. Because when I think of my future, I see you in it. So I hope you plan on sticking around for a little bit because I want you to be my forever and always.

-xoxo
Your Future Wife

Cover Image Credit: http://www.clker.com/clipart-239048.html

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Working With People Who Are Dying Teaches You So Much About How To Live

Spending time with hospice patients taught me about the art of dying.

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Death is a difficult subject.

It is addressed differently across cultures, lifestyles, and religions, and it can be difficult to find the right words to say when in the company of someone who is dying. I have spent a lot of time working with hospice patients, and I bore witness to the varying degrees of memory loss and cognitive decline that accompany aging and disease.

The patients I worked with had diverse stories and interests, and although we might have had some trouble understanding each other, we found ways to communicate that transcended any typical conversation.

I especially learned a lot from patients severely affected by dementia.

They spoke in riddles, but their emotions were clearly communicated through their facial expressions and general demeanor, which told a story all on their own.

We would connect through smiles and short phrases, yes or no questions, but more often than not, their minds were in another place. Some patients would repeat the details of the same event, over and over, with varying levels of detail each time.

Others would revert to a child-like state, wondering about their parents, about school, and about family and friends they hadn't seen in a long time.

I often wondered why their minds chose to wander to a certain event or time period and leave them stranded there before the end of their life. Was an emotionally salient event reinforcing itself in their memories?

Was their subconscious trying to reconnect with people from their past? All I could do was agree and follow their lead because the last thing I wanted to do was break their pleasant memory.

I felt honored to be able to spend time with them, but I couldn't shake the feeling that I was intruding on their final moments, moments that might be better spent with family and loved ones. I didn't know them in their life, so I wondered how they benefited from my presence in their death.

However, after learning that several of the patients I visited didn't have anyone to come to see them, I began to cherish every moment spent, whether it was in laughter or in tears. Several of the patients never remembered me. Each week, I was a new person, and each week they had a different variation of the same story that they needed to tell me.

In a way, it might have made it easier to start fresh every week rather than to grow attached to a person they would soon leave.

Usually, the stories were light-hearted.

They were reliving a memory or experiencing life again as if it were the first time, but as the end draws nearer, a drastic shift in mood and demeanor is evident.

A patient who was once friendly and jolly can quickly become quiet, reflective, and despondent. I've seen patients break down and cry, not because of their current situation, but because they were mourning old ones. These times taught me a lot about how to be just what that person needs towards the end of their life.

I didn't need to understand why they were upset or what they wanted to say.

The somber tone and tired eyes let me know that what they had to say was important and worth hearing. What mattered most is that someone who cared was there to hear it.

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A Few Birthday Thoughts

Goodbye teenage years, hello twenties!

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So, it is looking like I am about to leave my teenage years behind. I think that I want to reflect back on this time in my life and think about what I want to keep with me in my twenties and maybe some things I can let go. My teenage years have been full of love from my family and friends; hard work to make good grades in school and creating art. I developed several great friendships that I have held on to across the miles even though I went to college 14 hours away from our previous home. I am so thankful for the friendships I have made in college as well.

It seems like friends you make in your childhood and younger years can really stand the test of time. Maybe it is because when you became friends you were truly who you were. Everyone was genuine and didn't put up walls to protect themselves. You got to know someone on a deeper more personal level more quickly than if you had met later in life. I also think we laughed even more as children and that always creates good memories to look back on. So I think in my twenties I will try to hang on to the "childish" way of making friends. I will try to show my true self and will accept them for who they are, and we will laugh....a lot.

I think a good thing to let go of is always trying to make dead-end relationships work. When we were children on the playground and we tried to play a game together or jump rope and it just wasn't working, we would run off and find someone else. It was easy. It was just natural. Now sometimes I find myself trying to stay in a relationship by being overly nice, giving gifts, trying to find what pushes the persons "good" buttons. I might spend so much time trying to figure this person out that I leave out more solid relationships that are worth my time. So in my twenties, I will try to be more realistic about who to spend my time on. Some people are just never going to stand the test of time. I can continue to be cordial but won't let them rule my time and thought life.

As children, we loved our parents and siblings and would show love to them in a myriad of ways. Maybe it was hugs, pictures on the fridge, good night kisses, playing games, or just quality time spent together as a family. Starting my twenties, I am mature enough to realize the value of these people in my life. Thankfully, I have always known this. I was never the type that was embarrassed if someone saw me walking with my Mom or Dad or being dropped off in the Mom Van somewhere. I always knew these people loved me more than anyone else I was about to meet. But in my twenties, I plan to keep up with my family even when I am eight hours away from them. We are never too old to need the love of family.

As weird as it is to say goodbye to my teenage years, it's honestly helped me to soak in the precious moments of everyday life and treasure them even more. Every year when birthdays come around, it always serves as a reminder how quickly the days, months, and years fly by. I think that has been one difficult part of this birthday season. It's hard to say goodbye to the past, without a clear map of the future. But, I must remind myself that this is why growing up is a beautiful thing- as we live life and experience new things, we are better prepared for what the future may hold. Everything that I have experienced in my 20 years has served an important purpose- to make me into the person I am supposed to become. Yes, life is always changing and so am I... and change can be hard. Very hard. But one thing to remember is God is always constant. He will never change. No matter what number is on your birthday cake, He is always there...the same God yesterday, today and tomorrow. He is the Rock that we will always be able to cling to. Isn't that a wonderful thought? Even if we don't know what's in His plans for us in the coming year, it's important to make Him a part of our plans. Rather than worry about change, let's embrace it all- the good and the bad- and look to the Lord to see how He will guide and shape us.

Teenage years- the time has come. I must say goodbye to you now. But, you will never be forgotten. I will hold your memories in my heart forever. Twenties- I am excited for all that awaits me.

"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go." - Joshua 1:9

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