Chase and I got married twice. Kind of.
We did this sort of complicated thing where after we got engaged we got married 49 days later near his hometown in Idaho. However, I also wanted to have a ring ceremony where we live now so we could celebrate with friends and family here.
So one year ago today, we got married “again.”
My Mom asked me the other day which anniversary we celebrate and I told her both, because more presents right?!
But on a more serious note. This day last year was one of the happiest of my whole life so far. It was incredible to share a day with some of our very closest family and friends and it turned out to be so fun and beautiful and happy.
One of the very best parts of our ring ceremony was that Chase and I were able to write our own vows. Besides reading them on that day we’ve only shared physical copies of our vows with our parents. Today I want to share them here as a way to celebrate the love Chase and I continue to share. I hope you love them as much as we loved reading them to each other.
It’s safe to say things weren’t promising when we first met. Thankfully for you, things started looking up fairly quickly, but only after a few rejected kisses, and a bounty of mixed messages. The funny thing is that for the hard time I gave you in the beginning, you gave me a much harder time when it came to falling in love. I loved you for one month before finally blurting it out in a goodbye one night. One month and three seconds prior to that moment it hit me like a ton of bricks as I watched and listened to you play the guitar for me in your living room. You were so cute with your eyes closed playing your little heart out singing the words to some song from Mumford and Sons or The Fray. Suddenly every conversation was full of landmines. I could barely construct a sentence if the words “I” or “you” were involved. Goodbyes were the hardest when I had to do everything in my power not to let the words I wanted to say slip out. I held out for one long month before it was the only thing left to say, so I said it suddenly and hoping, a little too late, as the words tumbled out of my mouth, that you might say it back. Nope. But there’s good news! You came around one short week later and I can hardly explain how happy my heart felt when I first knew you loved me too. I have read that “Souls do not have calendars or clocks, nor do they understand the notion of time or distance. They only know it feels right to be with one another.” That is how I felt the moment you looked at me and told me you wanted to marry me. There was no fanfare, only the quick release of the breath I had been holding as I waited for you to speak. Just like the moment you told me you loved me, my heart grew full of happiness. In that moment I thought of how our love came when I had given up on asking love to come and the miracle you unsuspiciously turned out to be. In that moment I loved you. In this moment I love you. One year and ten months ago I loved you. When I am 70 years old, sitting on our porch, watching our grandchildren play in the yard, I will love you. For all of time and eternity I will love you because you are the one for whom I have waited. You have brought me more peace and steadiness than I have ever known and the days since I met you have been the best days of my life. Your ready smile, your deep convictions, your passions and your compassions, your laughter, your intelligence, your wisdom, your faith, and your kindness enrich me in every moment I spend with you. Thank you for loving all the parts of me. For being my best friend, my confidant, my biggest advocate. Thank you for giving me advice when I don’t want it and for telling me when I’m being crazy. Thank you for supporting me in my transition from college to maybe grad school to maybe not grad school, to nannying and to culinary school. Thank you for eating all of my cooking experiments and loving them. Thank you for getting me a glass of milk whenever I need it and for letting the dog out so I can sleep a little longer. For the hundreds of thank yous I have for you, I have just as many promises, but my promise to our guests is that I will only list a few right now. This day is the beginning of anything we want. The promises I make to you today are the ones I will keep for the rest of our lives. I promise to love all the parts of you. I promise to treat you, and our love, with patience, kindness, and respect, every day, now and always. I promise to ask God to help us remember when we first met and the strong love that developed between us and to work that love into our lives so nothing can divide us. I promise to have a heart always ready to ask forgiveness as well as to forgive. And by that promise I mean that I’ll try really, really hard on that one. I promise to give you back scratches, even when you don’t ask for them. I promise to make you dinner and a lot of dessert, especially if you do the dishes. I promise to hold your hand as often as possible and to give you three squeezes, not two, or four, or one. I can’t promise you that dark clouds will never hover over our lives or that the future is certain to bring us rainbows. I can’t promise you that tomorrow will be perfect or that life will be easy. I can promise you my loyalty and my love for an eternity. I can promise that I’ll always be here for you, to listen and to hold your hand, and I’ll always do my best to make you happy, and to make you feel loved. I can promise that I’ll see you through any crisis, and pray with you, dream with you, and build a life with you. I promise to support you in sharing your gifts with others, to encourage you to your chosen responses to your many callings. I can promise that I’ll willingly be your protector, your advisor, your counselor, your friend, you family and your everything. I promise I will always call you home.
To my bride on our wedding day: I promise you reality. I promise to you those things which I am capable of giving. Once the cake is eaten, the rice is thrown, the guests have departed, the gifts are unwrapped, once the honeymoon is over, I acknowledge the impending and inevitable onset of reality. The promises I make today I would like to reflect my limited abilities, my weaknesses, and the normalcy that will soon set in and become our daily routine. Yet, I also hope that they will convey the commitment and love that are in my heart this day. I want to make to you a vow that is real, a vow that is sincere, a vow that I can keep. I cannot promise you riches, fame, a mansion in the country, or every last comfort money can buy, but I promise to provide for you and for our children. I may not be able to give you everything, but I promise to give you room enough to spread your wings. I hope those things I can give you will be enough to let you soar. I cannot promise that I will never be frustrated, that we will never argue, or that I will always be the most gracious loser, but I do promise to fight fair, to keep my cool, to forgive quickly, and to give you the benefit of the doubt. I promise to remember that we are on the same team. I cannot promise that my clothes will always match, that my hair will always be the length you like it, that my flight suit won’t stink after a long flight. But I do promise to be my best for you, and to shave my mustaches quickly after deployments. I promise to wear deodorant, to bathe, to brush my teeth. I cannot promise that our house will always be spotless, but I promise to do my chores, to stand next to you as we do the dishes and fold the laundry, to keep my side of the bathroom looking reasonable, to pull my weight around the house. And after the day is done, I promise to fall to sleep with my feet touching yours…unless it is really hot, then I might have to move them out from under the covers. I promise fidelity. I promise only to have eyes for you. I want you to know that I have a keen awareness of many of my weaknesses and flaws, and I am sure there are many still undiscovered. You know many of them as well, and at times I may make it difficult to see anything redemptive through the haze of my insecurities, imperfections, and foibles. But I promise that even when you may struggle to see beneath those unsavory pieces that are part of Chase Webster, that there is at my core a pure love for you, which is unconditional. I promise that it will always be there, even if it is occasionally hard to see. I cannot promise perfection, but I do promise you a willing heart as we start on this adventure together, and I promise that I will do all that I can to keep these promises until a ripe old age. And if tragedy strikes, as it sometimes does, or if the world crumbles around us, I promise to be yours, for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness or in health, in happiness or in sadness, hungry or well fed, in life and in death. I will be yours forever.
After everyone had a good cry during our vows we partied all night long! As we were walking out of the ceremony the man that married us said, “Alright what’s that you said Dr. Carstens? The bar is open?” It was awesome. This was the best cake ever by the way. One of my friends from the bakery I worked at made it. Chocolate cake with a salted caramel filling.