My Darling Paul:

As our anniversary draws near, I sit here and reflect on all that we have experienced together both in our married life and before. I think of all the ways we have grown, the mistakes we have made, the forgiveness we have bestowed and the love we have held onto. I think of all these things and know they are true, yet wonder if I have ever truly thanked you: thanked you for being a supportive and loving husband; thanked you for being a father who provides endless amounts of love and guidance; thanked you for laughing with us and helping to create moments to be laughed at; thanked you for making me a mother and working with me to create a loving and safe home for all of us.

When we tuck the children in at night, we tell them things we want them never to forget – that we thank God for them, that we are proud of them and that we love them. As parents and partners we need to remember the necessity of verbalizing to each other as we do our children what we already know to be true and to not allow ourselves to fall into bed with an exhausted “I love you.”

We will often have moments when our children have done something on their own or together and we look at each other with pride and smile, and know what great kids we are truly blessed with. How would we all benefit if I verbalized some of the moments when I look at you and think with what a great father/husband I am truly blessed?

We know that showing each other affection in front of our children helps them to not only feel secure but also demonstrates a loving adult relationship. I must also remember that allowing our children to hear me thank you and acknowledge the many things you so naturally do will further deepen their knowledge of a loving, committed relationship.

As parents, we want to demonstrate for our children a way of life in which not only basic manners are present, but so are things such as the asking and granting of forgiveness and unconditional love. We want them to grow up with not only an understanding of the beauty and sacredness of the bond between a married man and woman. We want them to carry on the many skills they have learned about compromising and respect through their sibling relationships into their adult relationships. And we want them to not only thank God for all He has given them but to thank specific individuals for all they bring to their lives. All of these examples need to begin at home.

Though at times it feels like we have been married forever, we have only truly begun what I pray will be a long married life. I hope that when we are older and about to celebrate our anniversary, that my heart-felt thank you’s and acknowledgement of all you have done for us is something you can easily recall.