Today is Mr. Workman & my 12th Wedding Anniversary. As we reflected on our 12 years last night at dinner, it was an amazingly long list of accomplishments, challenges, and changes.
We started our marriage by selling my house and moving to a new town for me to take a dream job. We couldn't find a suitable place to buy so we rented an old, small (wheelchair friendly) duplex in a retirement community in Joplin for 8 months. During that time, Mr. Workman had trouble finding decent employment in Joplin and was driving 80 miles a day back to Springfield to work. After 8 months, Mr. Workman had a terrible job in Joplin and a previously unsuitable house that we had seen 8 months before started looking more suitable.
We bought that small house and soon Mr. Workman decided to go back to school to be a teacher. Corrine was born the day he took his teacher exam (the Praxis). We built a storage shed. Then we tried to adopt from Korea & had it end in a heart breaking "no" because of my disability. Soon we converted the garage into a family room. Then we were told about Hannah & 9 months later, we traveled to Ecuador for 3 weeks to finalize the adoption, which ended up costing several thousand more than we had been told so we refinanced the house and brought home the greatest blessing and the greatest challenge to our marriage that we have had to-date.
Hannah had lots of needs for the first year. She needed around the clock supervision, lots of instruction, therapies, medical procedures and most of all tons of patience! The financial strains, balancing the time at work vs the time at the doctor/therapies, the endless fits as Hannah tried to tell us about her willful, 3 year old opinions and the struggles to get the school to provide the specialists that she needed to learn to read Braille, to use a cane for mobility and to teach her sign language/tadoma; all took their toll. As a result, I can honestly say that we let Hannah's first year in our home be the darkest time for our marriage...we were sleep deprived, short on patience and taking no time for ourselves...we were doing EVERYTHING right for Hannah, except possibly the most important thing: protecting our marriage and the stability of our home.
We finally pulled ourselves together and got our priorities in order. Hannah started making big strides and and so did our marriage...we bought a bigger house, we faced unemployment and re-employment, and three years later we were ready to adopt again, and as it would turn out again, and again and again........However, we had learned from Hannah many important things including that keeping our relationship to each other nurtured is key to our being available to serve God's purposes for our family...especially when it currently includes three terrific 1 year olds and one very demanding, incredibly adorable 3 year old, who it turns out is not so different than Hannah was at that same age.
12 years ago: I was "in" love with my new husband's looks, mannerisms, interests and love for me. I did not yet really recognize or compliment his strengths and weaknesses nor did I understand the depth of his character and devotion. The first 6 years of our marriage was tough as we learned to truly love each other. The past 6 years have had their trials, but I wouldn't have wanted to go through them with anyone other than Mr. Workman.
If our relationship was likened to a boat on a stormy sea, then the first 6 years were spent trying to "put up with" the annoyance of the waves and the last 6 years were spent enjoying the security of being in the storm together. I cannot imagine a better boat than our relationship or a better Captain than Mr. Workman and am thankful that my Captain knows my God and is depending on Him, as I depend on him.
Today I am loving and appreciating an incredible father to our children, a patient partner, a great listener, a soft spoken and sincere counselor, a giving provider, a Christ-lead leader, an amazing lover, a most-devoted best friend, and (at times) my biggest annoyance. I wouldn't want life any other way.