As of today, I have spent half of my life with you. You have now had as many years to influence me as my parents had by the time they gave me away to you. Wow! That is incredible to me.
I wasn't a part of the conversation when you asked my dad if you could marry me, and I've never asked him why he gave permission, but I imagine he said yes because he believed you were trustworthy. It's the main reason I said yes. (Your twinkling blue eyes were pretty compelling as well.) There was something about you that made you different from all of the rest. My dad, my mom, and I—we knew you were the one for me, and we were right about you.
Just like it is every day, sitting next to you this morning is the best part of today. Eugene, you are the love of my life, but you have become my best friend. If I have to choose with whom to spend my time my choice is always you. We get so much from conversing with each other, but we get just as much from our quiet times together. Of course, sometimes we are silly and fun, which is wonderful, too. Time with you is always the right kind of comfortable.
You are God's gift to me. I watch you follow Christ and am compelled to follow, too. You demonstrate God's unconditional love through your love for me. You fulfill the role of husband well by loving me like Christ loves His people. You are a reflection of Him, and you are my life-gifter!
I recognize your influence over our kids as I've watched them develop qualities similar to yours. Kade has your ability to engulf himself into what he is compelled to do (the key word is compelled), and Jaelyn has your "BIG IDEA" vision. And both exhibit strong integrity and character like you. You have led them to follow Christ as you have led me. I love watching them enjoy your company; they really like having you around. Your presence brings something to the table that's noticeably missing when you're not here. Without even trying—by just being you—you have made yourself necessary to all of our lives.
Remembering the stages of our life together—both the good days and the bad days—brings me much joy. We have experienced times of both plenty and scarcity (not just financially), but through all of it there has been abundant life in our journey. I am humbled by the great work God has performed in us. Responding to God's pull to purpose alongside you has been exhilarating, and it is a marvel to experience His continual work in progress. It's easy to take your hand as we move forward.
That day you asked me to marry you you bet me a diamond you'd spend the rest of your life with me. It looks like you're winning that bet. I gladly lose this one to you, because if you're winning I'm winning. I said yes then with limited foresight. But now, even with all of the hindsight I have, I'd say yes again if you asked.
Happy 24th Anniversary, Babe! You are quite a man! I love you with my whole wide life!