Two weeks after our first date, Sifa told me he loved me. Two years ago, he told me he wanted to marry me one day. Last April he proposed. And now It has been six months since the best day of my life.
Sifa is my best friend, my partner, my love, my life. He is everything that I didn’t know that I needed.
In the past six months we have traveled through some incredibly difficult personal and family challenges. Dreams have been crushed, changed, and adapted. But even through all the tears, yelling, stressing, and mourning we have grown closer than ever. We laugh and love each other every day. Our marriage is anything but perfect, but he is perfect for me.
On our six-month anniversary today, I want to recognize and give thanks for some of the ways that my husband has loved and supported me.
My emotional difficulties are something that I have been honest with Sifa about since we started dating. In fact, I tried to make it clear to him the night that he told me he loved me. For some reason I thought he would take it back after finding out that I have always struggled with anxiety and depression. I misjudged him. Instead he accepted me and loved me with that knowledge, despite not understanding it.
Sifa is one of most positive people that I have ever met. In fact, his happiness is one of the things that first attracted me to him. The reality is, the way that we look at the world and solve problems is very different. But I craved that difference. Sifa has not and will never cure my internal struggles, but he has brought an important perspective into my life. Our differences have helped me to see the world in a brighter light.
There are times when my emotions and panic appear to be too much for Sifa to handle. But we talk about it. Like most men, my husband wants to fix problems that sometimes do not need to be fixed. To me, that just means he loves me. When he recognizes that it is not helping, he always is there to give me his big bear hugs and whisper assurances. He listens to me. And he cares. More than any counselor or friend or family member has ever cared for me. My husband does not just love me despite my emotions, but in my emotions.
A couple of months after I started dating Sifa I moved to Utah to continue my education. He encouraged me to go and only tried to introduce the thought of a long-distance romance after I had already left. He loved me from the start and knew that I needed to go to BYU to pursue that dream. I felt like he valued it. Our relationship had many ups and downs through my time in Provo, but he was always there to encourage me in my goals and lift my spirits.
When we got engaged, he knew that it was a part of my plan to get my bachelor’s degree and then go to graduate school. When we talked of options, dropping out was never one of them. Instead, we just started to plan together. I took this whole last semester online while we were living in California and it was so hard. Sifa was gone most of the day at work and I spent a lot of time trying to organize my work/study/Sifa time. It was a big adjustment for me, but on those days when I wanted to drop my classes he encouraged me to contact my TA’s and go to the library during my free time so I could feel like I was at school again. He also taught me how to take breaks. It turned out to be an important semester to me and led me to where I am today.
Every education goal and idea I have presented to him is met with a brutally honest and encouraging response. He wants me to succeed. He is willing to make sacrifices for my education.
MY INTERNSHIP ABROAD
One of the biggest sacrifices that he has made in our relationship is this internship. While we have done a long-distance relationship before, leaving the country alone after only a few months of marriage is not ideal. But like I mentioned before, a lot of our post-marriage plans had to be rearranged. In fact, my graduation was pushed back because of online class availability. After a lot of prayer and fumbling to make new plans, I came across this internship opportunity. He was of course a little skeptical, but he encouraged me to apply. He recognized how great of an opportunity this would be for me and was willing to see it out. After being accepted into the internship he did everything he could to make me feel comfortable and mentally prepared to go. He was confident that our relationship would last, but he worried about my emotional health. Mostly worried about not being there to help me when I was struggling. He encouraged me and lifted me up. He counts down the days until I can come back, but he is excited to hear about all of my great experiences here. I feel his love and I love him even more for it.
MY SELF IMAGE
Sifa points out my pimples and crazy hair. At the beginning of our relationship it made me so self-conscious! But the more time we spent together, the more I realized that Sifa means everything that he says. When he compliments me, it is from his heart. The moment that I realized he really believes that I am beautiful and sexy was the day I started believing in myself. Sifa tells me I’m beautiful when I’m not wearing makeup and wakes me up with kisses. He encourages me to be my best self and to have confidence in my curvy-chubby figure. Most of all, he helps me fight all the negative thoughts that I have of myself. He reminds me that my worth is great in the eyes of God.
Sifa always tells me that he knew he would love me the day I went up and spoke in church after coming home from my mission. More than anything that I have written above, I am most grateful for the faith that my husband has. We have gone through many ups and downs during our relationship, but faith is something that he has never faltered on. When he talked of marrying me, he always wanted it to be in the right way. When I am struggling with my faith, he patiently listens and never criticizes. Instead he encourages me to pray. He is not condescending, but humble and understanding. He strengthens my personal beliefs and encourages me to share my spiritual experiences with him.
Marrying my husband for time and all eternity in the House of the Lord was the best decision that I have ever made. We are not perfect and I know that our marriage will have many ups and downs, but I know that the love we share is worth it.