It's been a good year. Nkechi and I both celebrated 40th birthdays, and threw a big party to commemorate the milestone as well as our impending 15th Anniversary, which we celebrate today. I was prepared not to write anything this year because I feel like there is much more that I'm learning about continuing to make a marriage work from marriage veterans than there is for me to offer in testimony. I also don't want people to see these yearly reflections as me positioning myself as some know-it-all. I am as flawed as anyone and get checked on the regular just like any other husband. I do however, feel compelled to keep writing these notes each year as a way of expressing thanks for the Grace that has been placed on our marriage and so that anybody who reads these notes who is newer in their journey may know the work that goes into holding it all together.
If you've never read it, I highly recommend the book The Five Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts by Gary Chapman. If I were running a pre-marriage counseling course, it would be on the syllabus. The big takeaway for me is that it lays the foundation for understanding that for each person, there are specific ways that love is experienced and internalized. It is important for each partner to know what those ways are so that the efforts made to show love are received as intended. For example, if Nkechi loves to hear kind words (Words of Affirmation), but I choose to clean the house (Act of Kindness) as an anniversary gift, then the gesture may not be received with the joy that I hoped, and now I'm salty. There's great value in understanding how to show your partner love in the way that makes the most sense to them. The lesson for me in recent years is that much like many things in life, change is inevitable. Variables like children, job, money, and health can change the love language that is most resonant with a person, and you therefore have to be able to adjust to speaking in that new language. All of this takes a great amount of commitment, and I am thankful that my dedication
to seeing Nkechi happy and feeling loved is as strong as it was 15 years ago.
I want to thank our village for continuing to lift us up and encourage us as a family. It was overwhelming to see how many showed up to celebrate with us at our 40-40-15 party and those who sent well wishes from afar. It is a blessing to have you all in our lives and I hope that those who count us as friends know how much we love you. See you all next year.