Isn’t she beautiful? She is. Trust me. The best part is – it’s not just her outside, it’s her inside. You can’t see that in these images – but it’s there. Through and through, this loving, gracious, kind woman has a kind and gracious heart that few possess.

Eight years ago today I committed my life and heart to her. This morning I told her it was the best day of my life. That might sound cliche – but it’s true. I remember weeping as she rounded the corner in the church. My eyes laid on my soon-to-be wife for the first time that day as she walked down the aisle with her father. It’s a moment I’ll treasure forever.

Eight years ago we started a journey together. I remember kissing her for the very first time on that alter, as my college mentor and friend Michael Brown pronounced us man and wife. We had spent the past 3.5 years dating and preparing for our lives together.

I love her more now than the day I married her. Again, that can sound cliche – but it’s true. I don’t think that happens all the time in marriage and that’s why I share it. People grow apart. Hearts wander. People make mistakes. Life happens.

The love we share is a choice. We fight for each-other daily. We don’t give up. I’m thankful for that. Colleen has never given up on me, and I haven’t given up on her.

I’m sharing this not to toot our own horns – heck – we’re only eight years in. Rather, I want to encourage those who are just starting out, or even thinking of throwing in the towel. Marriage is a daily choice. At first it’s almost always bliss – but the heartaches and troubles of life have a way of creeping in and making even the best start of a marriage a disaster waiting to happen.

It takes years to truly know someone. I don’t just mean their “likes” and “dislikes” – but to know their inmost heart and being. To feel at home and accustomed to the way they operate and think. It’s because we’re complex multi-layered beings. On top of that, we’re ever-changing and ever-growing. We’re not math equations, machines or actors on the screen. We’re people.

I now know Colleen. I know her ups, I know her downs. I know her glory. I know her faults. Believe me; she knows mine too.

I love it all. I truly enjoy and covet everything about this woman. She has won my heart with her humor, her inquisitive mind, and her Godly charm.

I love Colleen, not just because I am supposed to, or feel obligated to. Instead, I love her because she is a joyous, lovely, beautiful woman. I love Colleen because she has always had my back and supported me. If it weren’t for her, Making the Moment wouldn’t be what it is now. She encouraged, empowered and entrusted me to leave my day job at the design firm to grow a dream.

I love Colleen because her searching, brilliant mind has saved our daughters lives and protected our children’s future. She is a mother who has given everything of herself to our daughters. She stands up to the majority fearlessly and courageously. She’s not afraid to go against the grain. She is forthright and bold in the most important of ways.

The last eight years have seen so much for our young lives. We re-invented our lives in the CLE, experienced the deep loss of the twins, praised God for the redemption story that lives through Pearl and Daisy, and cried, laughed, fought and made up a thousand times in between.

More than anything, we’ve built a marriage and a love that will last. I love my wife with a deep and abiding love that I can’t perfectly express. My love is not perfect – because I’m not perfect – but it’s powerful and real.

We don’t live clean and tidy lives together. Our story is not all fluff and rainbows. Through it all, we share this dynamic, difficult, and daring journey together. We fight for our love. We fight for those around us. We fight our children’s minds and hearts. We fight for each other.

Eight years down babe, and many many many more to go.