Our fourteen year wedding anniversary is today. I still can’t believe it. Not only is our marriage a teenager (so to speak), but it is growing and thriving. I am so thankful for Justin Beard and I thought I would share some fun facts about our life together.
1. Justin and I met at a Weezer/Dashboard Confessional concert. It wasn’t exactly love at first sight, but we hit it off the day we met and have pretty much been together ever since. I lived in Ohio and he lived in North Carolina, so we dated long distance for a year.
2. The remnants of a hurricane blew through our wedding. People say it’s good luck when it rains on your wedding day… I’m not so sure about that, but I’m pretty happy with the long-term results! We had the best bridal party and friends – many of them had to hold down our tents to keep them from blowing away! I don’t think there was a dry soul left, but that didn’t end the party. After someone rolled in a generator to get the electricity back on, it turned into a party for the ages!
3. Justin and I have lived in three countries and traveled to many others together. We lived in England, Nigeria, and the place we now call home – the good old US of A.
4. The Five Love Languages book impacted our marriage greatly. Once we learned how to communicate our love for each other, our marriage really began to grow. I highly recommend that book to anyone in a serious relationship.
5. While we were dating, Justin used to make me the. best. mix CDs. I practically lived at the post office waiting for them to come. Now he uses his mix mastering skills to compile a Christmas mix as our musical Christmas card every holiday season. Let me know if you’d like to get in on that!
6. Justin once threw me a surprise Pirate birthday parrrty. He strives to surprise me and to always make me feel loved in the most fun ways.
7. Every May, our church puts on something called the Date Your Mate Challenge, and it’s become one of my favorite months for that reason. Justin and I might be a pinch competitive, so it takes our dating game to a whole new level. We enjoy getting creative and look forward each year to not only growing our relationship, but building community with others in our church in a fun way.
8. If there was ever a more patient and kind husband, I haven’t met him. Justin had to go to New Orleans for work once and agreed, after getting the green light from the midwife, to drive there with his 38 weeks pregnant wife and our three kids! I’m pretty sure it took like seventeen hours. Although some of his jobs over the years have had him traveling quite a bit, Justin has been more than gracious in bringing us along when he can. It has been fun being able to travel that way as a family and we’ve been able to make some great memories. It’s certainly not easy traveling as a family, but also definitely worth it.
9. Justin and I love laughing together. It’s pretty much what keeps us sane. When I was pregnant with our youngest son, Justin and I once joked and laughed so hard that he pulled a muscle in his back and my water prematurely broke. Generally, laughter is the best medicine, and, fortunately, that remains the only exception to that rule we’ve encountered so far.
10. It is one of our goals to fill our house with as many people as we can, pretty much as often as we can. When we rented our first place in Strongsville, it was so teeny tiny, but that didn’t stop us from hosting as many gatherings as we could and filling it to the brim every time. When we moved into our current house, we weren’t here six months and had the opportunity for a student to move in with us for a year. It was one of the best decisions we made as we gained a dear friend who has since become family. On Thanksgiving or Christmas, it is not unusual for us to host friends, family, and even strangers who ultimately leave that status at the door.
11. Making friends… We love people so much that we made five friends. That also is the undercover word we use for messing around in the bedroom. You’re welcome. Bow chicka wow wow!
12. Growing up, my Christmas experience was interesting. Some years we celebrated and some years… not so much. Having divorced parents made it very difficult as well. It all worked out in the end, as it turns out I married Mr. Christmas. Justin makes everything SO magical at Christmas time.
13. Early in our marriage, I didn’t think we should waste money on a babysitter so we could have date nights. At that time, I didn’t understand the principle that you get out what you put in. I’m not saying that you need to throw gobs of money at it all the time, but that when you start to look at your marriage as an investment, you’ll realize that you can never put too much in. It is always worth it! It is also worth it to purchase the books on marriage, pay to go to conferences or seminars, and if you can save up, getaways with your spouse are more than just for fun. They are deposits into your marital bank. You can build long lasting connection from which you will reap benefits for a long time to come.
14. Justin and I love to go on day dates. He says, “The best date is the the one you’re on together.” If we get a chance to get away, we love going out to lunch at some of our Cleveland favorites like Townhall, Boaz Cafe, Johny Mango, Le Petit Triangle, and a close-by favorite is Mizu Sushi in Parma. We usually end up hiking or walking around Cleveland somewhere because there are so many beautiful places to go. Edgewater is definitely a favorite spot for a nice walk by the water and there’s always a great breeze. We’ve hit the Cleveland Museum of Art, plenty of great coffee shops (Phoenix Coffee in Ohio City, Coffee Coffee Coffee and Metropolitan Coffee in Old Brooklyn, and Beviamo Cafe in Tremont just to name a few), several parks, and we sometimes even just run errands together. One recent favorite was getting Chipotle and eating it at Lakewood Park while watching the water. It doesn’t have to be extravagant to be a date, but it does have to include good conversation and some form of fun.
By the way, for those who aren’t familiar, a fourteener is a mountain peak with an elevation of at least 14,000 feet. We hear a good bit about these because Justin’s brother Joe is super into climbing them (Joe lives in Colorado, which has more fourteeners than any other state in the US). So far, our marriage is the only fourteener we’ve climbed together, although we may change that one of these days. Marriage is truly a mountain though. It’s very challenging at times, but it’s also incredibly rewarding, the journey is beautiful, and it makes you stronger along the way. I guess the thing that’s different about a marriage is that you’ll never know you’ve reached the summit until you actually get there. Justin and I hope we get to climb on together for many years to come.