eight years.

I love the way he looks at me.
He has a look.
I can't remember a time he didn't look at me with that look in his eye.
Without words, that look reminds me I am the single most important person in his life.
It reassures me that I am loved, needed, desired, admired, and respected.
That look sends goosebumps down my spine when I least expect it.
It has a way of making my skin grow warm.
That look sees through my tough exterior.
It's been 8 years, and that look still makes the corners of my mouth turn skyward.
I love the way he looks at me.

In so many ways, Tim is my superior. No matter the game, he always wins; not only is he gifted with dumb game skills, but he is also the luckiest duck on the planet so he just wins. No matter the subject, Tim seems to have a wider breadth of knowledge than I do, even if I research something for hours; he just knows more about it. No matter the situation, Tim is always the calmer parent; he is preferred 95% of the time when things get tough around these corners. And no matter how hard I try to be funny, Tim is almost always funnier; he has a way of making people laugh and putting them at ease that I just don't have. HOWEVER, he has never, not once, made me feel less than his equal. Sure, he beats me at games and knowledge, but he always gives me credit where credit is due, and he always compliments me on things he sees me excelling in, even if it's beating him at Connect4 from time to time.

Every day that passes in our time together--now almost 8 years--I feel so honored to be partnered with him. I would never, not ever, recommend going about marriage the way we did. We both realize how incredibly lucky we are that things have worked out as well as they have. I mean, we only dated a little over 3 months before we sat across from each other at Outback Steakhouse, and we danced around the subject of marriage. Mind you we broke up a couple of weeks prior to that date because I was always so wishy washy about serious relationships so going from being broken up to talking about marriage in a matter of weeks is just about the most foolish thing on the planet. I think the conversation went something like, Him: "So do you think we should get married?" Me: "Well, I think we go well together." Him: "Me too. So what do you think?" Me: "Yeah, let's do it!" That wasn't the final proposal of course, but what a recipe for disaster when I think back on it. I remember we drove across the street to the mall to look at rings after dinner, and we got in a disagreement over rings right in front of a salesman, and he was like "Um...maybe you should go home and think things through some more." Hahaha! We did, and we went back the next day with a clearer picture in mind of what we both wanted, and we avoided that store because we didn't want to run into the salesman again.

Man, to think of us then, and to think of us now--we've come a long way. But it's been a really great journey. We both tell people to date a really long time whenever we are asked for advice. And we don't say that because we feel dating longer would've changed the outcome, but man, we loved dating each other. We didn't get enough alone time together before the girls came, and although we'd also never change our life for anything, we do wish we could've spent more time with just the two of us, discovering new things about each other without the added pressure children bring. The girls have kind of thrown us in this fast-paced life where we are refined so frequently that we keep having to learn new things about each other on an almost daily basis, such as why did you handle that situation like that or why don't you do this anymore, etc.

I love studying Tim. It is, perhaps, my favorite pastime. I believe I am the only person in the world that really knows when he is upset. One side of his mouth sort of turns up and twitches, and I instantly know something is wrong. No one else would ever notice. I love that each time I cut his hair, which sadly isn't that often because I'm super lazy about it, I find more grey hair peppered above his ear and in his sideburns. He is going to be the most handsome man with a head full of grey hair. And I always know when he's really into me. He has a way of staring at me with longing eyes that tell me it's been too long since we've touched so I'll usually find some way to rest my hand on the small of his back or rest my head on his chest that he has so diligently been chiseling away at for the past year.

Tim is my person. I know I am his. I know it by his touch, his kisses, his soft voice, his frequent texts throughout the day, his call at lunchtime, his early morning cuddles, but I especially know I am his by the way he looks at me with that look that tells me, You are my everything. And I am. I am his everything just as he is mine. I love him so deeply and so fiercely.

Happy almost 8th anniversary Bun. I'm glad you didn't run away from me when I told you I loved you in that Orem Walmart so long ago. (I'm also glad we no longer shop at Walmart, but that's another story, isn't it?) I love you.

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"Be kind and considerate with your criticism... It's just as hard to write a bad book as it is to write a good book." Malcolm Cowley