Dear Husband,

I love you. You are the most amazing and solid person I know. And I am so glad I have learned to appreciate all of you as our lives have grown together.

You are my rock.

I love how I can rely on you to know so much about so many subjects, and gently catch me up when you see that I am behind.

I love how you anchor me when I have bitten off too much, and then help me see what is really important.

I love that you believe in me, cheer me on, and shore me up when I falter.

I love that even though you go to bed before me, you don’t mind when I crawl in later and warm up my feet on your’s, or wake you up to talk about one more thing.

And I love that you know that a good outdoor trip needs to be balanced with a weekend away with me, full of comfort and wine.

And we couldn’t be more different.

You’re an introvert; I’m an extrovert.

You’re tall and dark; I’m small and fair.

You go to bed early; I don’t.

You like to camp; I definitely like to not camp.

You’re a bit of a homebody on the weekends, and I am always looking for something fun to do.

While you quietly offer a solution when we disagree, I want to drill down on every point, just to make sure we get to the very nugget and resolve the dispute.

And when our kids want to imagine and dream, they come to me, but when they want to know how to make it happen, they go to you.

When we met during undergraduate, I was drawn to your intelligence and quiet fortitude, your wisdom, maturity, and kindness. Plus, you were (and are) super cute ?.

I fell in love with who you are, and who I am with you.

When you proposed, I thought nothing could be better than building a life with you.

When we got married, we didn't know how young we really were, or how much growing we had left to do as individuals, let alone as a couple.

Then life happened, and we began to see how it really plays out.

When we had that first real post nuptial fight, I was so scared because it was the first time I truly saw what our differences meant in the context of marriage, where we just couldn't break up and walk away.

Discovering that we were not on the same page together—and that you may have habits that actually are quite annoying—threw me into an abyss of doubt. I suddenly found myself looking across at you and wondering if we could make it after all, or was this the space between us where we begin to fall?

What I didn’t know at the time is that life has a way of throwing a lot at us, and sometimes all of it at the same time. It takes kindness and communication to stay connected when tested by circumstances and events.

Our strengths can be relied upon and celebrated, but our differences sometimes can be misunderstood as deficits, instead of opportunities to grow. You have patiently shown me that really loving someone makes room for discovering those opportunities.

It may be our strengths that define us, but it is our differences that when allowed, loved and respected, round us out and make us whole.

I know now that real strength comes from embracing our differences, accepting them and learning from them where we need to grow—how to work with them, rather than against them.

Sure, it’s easy to love the fun stuff. But loving each other for our strengths and our differences calls us to be better people, to see and appreciate who we are as individuals and how we complement and elevate each other as a couple. And I love this.