Marriage: Year One

Brandon and Sarah Wells

This month we’re celebrating our 15th wedding anniversary. I thought it could be fun to pull one or two memories from each year and reflect on how our marriage and lives have changed me, leading up to our actual anniversary. I can’t write with as much authority about how this relationship has changed us, except how I see us changing together, how we’ve changed each other, the ways we’ve been forced to change and adapt and grow, together. So as much as I tried to show the ways we’ve collectively changed, it’s still my narrative of our relationship. I don’t know how else to make it. 🙂

So to begin, here’s year one!

Fall 2003: Learning about Love Languages

“What makes you feel loved?” I asked. I knew the answer for me – spend time with me, walk with me, sit with me on the couch, play Scrabble with me, focus on me. And touch me. And tell me I’m beautiful and smart and capable. And maybe sometimes buy me things. Love me love me love me. At 21 I’m a sponge for it, want all the love in the world, need to know I’m loved, need to feel loved, unsure about whether I’m worthy of love.

Brandon squirmed next to me. It was night. We still measured the length of our marriage in weeks. This marriage devotional was my idea. “I don’t know, when you do things for me, I guess,” he said.

“Do things? Like what kinds of things?” I asked.

“Like, when you pack my lunch for me,” he said.

“Pack your lunch?” I laughed. “That’s how you feel loved?”

“This is stupid,” Brandon said, rolling over and turning out the lights.

Summer 2004: Learning about Loss

Eager to become a family of three we waited to hear the promising rapid chug-chug that would give viability to my positive pregnancy test. There was no heartbeat on the monitor. The embryo that had been growing stopped three weeks earlier.

It shouldn’t have been a warm, sunny day. There shouldn’t have been birds singing when we walked out of the building. There shouldn’t have been people everywhere going about their normal lives. We had walked into the obstetrician’s office with french fries and an orange drink from McDonalds for me to ward off morning sickness. Now there was only weight. Mass. Cells.

Brandon embraced me next to my car. “I guess I’ll go back to work now and tell Cathy,” I mumbled into his shoulder.

He squeezed and grabbed my hands, pressed his forehead against mine. “Be strong and courageous,” Brandon prayed. “Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

Published by Sarah M. Wells

Sarah M. Wells is the author of The Family Bible Devotional: Stories from the Gospels to Help Kids and Parents Love God and Love Others (2022), American Honey: A Field Guide to Resisting Temptation (2021), Between the Heron and the Moss (2020), The Family Bible Devotional: Stories from the Bible to Help Kids and Parents Engage and Love Scripture (2018), Pruning Burning Bushes (2012), and a chapbook of poems, Acquiesce, winner of the 2008 Starting Gate Award through Finishing Line Press (2009). Sarah's work has been honored with four Pushcart Prize nominations, and her essays have appeared in the notable essays list in the Best American Essays 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2017, and 2018. Sarah is the recipient of a 2018 Individual Excellence Award from the Ohio Arts Council. She resides in Ashland, Ohio with her husband and three children.

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