Dear Chelsea

When we told our friends we wanted to get married, the reaction was mixed, to say the least. Maybe it was because we had been dating only two months.

I guess a lot of folks felt that, as difficult as marriage is, two people who want to get married after dating two months don’t have a chance. “You don’t even know this girl,” they said.

What they couldn’t understand is, I had known you my whole life. Even when I was a boy, you were the girl I wanted to marry, although we had never met. I didn’t know your name, eye color, or any other physical quality. I had no idea when, where or how we would meet.

But I knew you.

I knew you would be compassionate, intelligent and beautiful. I knew you would be friendly and patient while also funny and honest. I knew you would care about other people more than yourself. Most of all, I knew I would love you.

I believed, with all my heart, that out of seven billion people, God had one just for me. It was easy to believe when I was younger. But with each year, my doubts increased. Eventually, I began to consider the alternative: that maybe my lot in life was to be alone.

I was beginning to think you didn’t exist.

Then we met. I didn’t recognize you as “the one” at first. But the more we spoke, the more I realized you were unlike anyone I had ever met. We were two optimistic people who wanted nothing more than to be with each other. But life interrupted our plans. We didn’t get married as soon as as we had hoped. The reasons don’t even matter now. All that matters is we stayed together, through times good and bad. You believed in me when no one else did — including myself.

I thank God every day for allowing us to be together. People scoff at love, as if it’s only a fairy tale. But I believe if someone like me can find someone like you, there is hope for everyone.

Thank you, Chelsea, for being my best friend, true love, greatest fan and answered prayer. But most of all, thank you for being you.

Tomorrow, there is no place I would rather be than standing in front of you at the altar as we exchange vows.

When the minister asks me if I take you to be my wife “for better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and health, to love and to cherish, till death do us part,” I will, without any hesitation, answer, “I do.”

But the truth is, I already did, a long time ago.

And I always will.

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