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17 years.

Seventeen!

Nearly 21 years ago, I met the Mister on a blind date at Texas A&M, under the arches of the Corps of Cadets Quadrangle. I will blog about that sweetness in the coming weeks. But, we have lived a lifetime since then.

And a blessed life it has been.

Newlyweds and the engaged are always a flutter about the dress, the flowers, the honeymoon and the matching bathroom accessories. They get butterflies when their man brings home flowers, takes them on a romantic date or kisses them goodbye.

You know what brings me to my knees in thanksgiving? This.

When I glance down the pew at church and see Scott deep in prayer, only to see a child pulling on his arm and he pops one eye open, smiles a crooked smile and gently pats said child on the head.

How he gives me “that look” when he knows I’ve had a rough day. He squeezes my hand and just knows. We no longer have to say the words out loud.

The quiet little smirk he gives me when I walk in the door from the hairstylist. It’s always followed by, “Babe, you look really nice.” And he means it.

The funny way he starts a conversation about a topic he loves. He peeks over the top of his iPad and says, “You know, I was reading this article the other day…”

How beautiful his blue eyes are to me, just as they were 21 years ago. However, it is his spiritual leadership in our family that has touched me most these last four years.

Every marriage is tested. At some point you have to decide a very important matter. Are you going to fish or cut bait?

There have been some spectacular moments in our marriage. The Hollywood kind. You know, when we renewed our marriage vows in Italy – twice. Kissed atop the Eiffel Tower. Held five newborn babies in our arms. Sipped martinis in Charleston.

It has been the moments when we’ve been at our worst, though, that I truly saw the man I married.

And, girls? I married up.

There was the moment when we lost our baby at 9 weeks. I was sobbing and beating his chest and he just let me get it all out.

When I wanted to give up breastfeeding with our first, he got down in my face and said, “Give it up. This isn’t worth it.” He knew that I would make a liar out of him. If you throw down the gauntlet with a Southern girl, you better back up. For the record, I did prove him wrong and nursed 14 months.

As we sat in the NICU with Luke, prior to his emergency surgery, we had to make the most difficult decision of our lives. We had to trust that the surgery would save his life and be at peace if God needed Luke more than we did. He squeezed my hand and said, “We’ll do this together, just like we do everything else.”

There was the sobering moment when we realized that to heal our marriage, we needed counseling.

No one thinks about the “for richer for poorer, in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health” will ever happen. But they happen. To every marriage.

For 17 years, I’ve relied on Scott, loved on him, fought with him, laughed with him, shared joy with him. What I never expected, though, was to become a better wife in the process. I never expected that God would begin to purify me through the goodness of him.

It is my greatest joy to call myself Mrs. Whitaker.

Scott,

This life we are living IS the good life. We may not be living in Italy (yet), but where we are, this love that we share, is God’s greatest gift to me. Ever. You make me want to live a better life, be a better mom, a more loving wife, a more faithful disciple. The only place I need to be is here. With you.

I love you, sweetheart!

K

5 Comments

  1. Erika on July 27, 2013 at 7:42 am

    Happy anniversary!

    What a beautiful tribute! I don’t even know you and maybe the fact that I am 7 months preggers with our 5 th in 6 years:) but it was a teary moment! Truth about marriage but also the beauty of it too!

  2. Martha on July 27, 2013 at 10:19 am

    Beautiful! This made me cry!
    Thank you so much for admitting going to counseling – so many people act as if that’s a sign that you’ve ‘failed’ in marriage, but it’s really just a sign of a couple’s humility, acknowledging they need help. It’s so awesome that you said that. Thank you!!

  3. Jen on July 27, 2013 at 12:11 pm

    Oh my gosh! Kathryn this is just beautiful. This brought tears to my eyes.

    You. Your marriage. Your family. Truly, truly inspiring. For this single girl… you give me hope and real, true excitement for the vocation of marriage and motherhood. Thank you for blogging about it. Thank you for bringing us into your life, just a little bit. Thank you for inspiring and encouraging. And most of all, for being real.

    Happy Anniversary! So many blessings today and many MANY more years. 🙂

  4. a.j. on July 27, 2013 at 5:42 pm

    And I was so fortunate when Dr. Joe said, “I’m sending you two kids… take care of them.” Little did I realize then how they would eventually “take care of me!” in so many ways even though we haven’t seen each other for at least 12 years…last time was Indianapolis when IState was in the final stretches of women’s basketball against Georgia, I believe. Special thoughts and prayers for all your family, the medical staff, and those who will be able to step up and be RIGHT there for you. You are in my heart and my family who know you through me. Much love… The Iowa Granny…

  5. Spring on July 29, 2013 at 6:26 am

    Goosey bumps all over. Such a wonderful tribute to your Mr. and a glorious tribute to God. My favorite part, if I have to pick, is when you talk about how God has changed you. I think that’s partially how marriages fail, we forget that we aren’t perfect and we continue to ask God to change our spouse, instead of asking Him to change us. Beautiful Kathryn. Huge blessings on your happy anniversary, and an abundance of prayers for little Luke and all of you in these coming days.

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