Marriage: Year Nine

January 2012: Learning about Nutrition

Rescued by the saving grace of the Whole 30, Brandon and I became food evangelists. If 18-year-old fresh convert Sarah was obnoxious with her “everybody gets a Bible for Christmas” evangelizing, 29-year-old Paleo diet Sarah challenged her to laps around the dining room table.

But cutting out dairy, cheese, sugar, and grains made such a difference immediately for our overall health and wellbeing, how couldn’t we tell everyone what happened to us? Besides weight loss, the digestive changes, the sinus changes, the sleep changes, the allergy reductions, the elimination of prescriptions… it felt like a miracle.

It’s also the first thing since our children that we’ve rallied around together, hard. We are in this, and we are in this deep. No more casseroles! No more dessert! No more cream-of-anything! What interesting new food combination can we try tonight? Have you had these carrots?! These carrots are amazing! We feel terrific. We’ve lost weight. There will not be another pregnancy here. After running a half-marathon in December and then adding nutrition in, I feel lean and near the size and dimensions I was when we first married, and Brandon looks, I’ll just come right out and say it, hot. We are soon-to-be 30 and soon-to-be 35, feeling attractive and thin and healthy and powerful and alive.

June 2012: Learning about Retreat

The place we go for our 9th wedding anniversary (and Valentine’s Day, and birthdays) is a 6.5 hour ride into the mountains of West Virginia, to Lost River. We lose the signal on our cell phones 10 miles from the bed and breakfast but somehow manage to find it without GPS. After another full year of work and travel for work, we are in the blessed summer months where Brandon’s work slows down and I switch to summer hours.

There are no children with us. It’s just us.

The B&B is in a valley. Across the road are rolls of hay bales scattered at random, golden against the green of a mountain. We walk from the B&B to the adjacent restaurant for an early dinner.

“’Just so you know, I’m married,’” Brandon says to me, flashing his ring, “That’s the first thing I say to women when I’m on the road.” We laugh. It would be so easy to slip off the ring he holds up for their inspection.

“The trouble is,” I tell him, “I prefer to talk to men,” and he says between bites, “I know exactly what you mean. I enjoy talking to women.”  We leave the restaurant holding hands, turn on James Taylor, slip into the bed at the B&B and kick off the sheets, broad daylight flitting through the blinds.

Everything seems so amazing with us right here, right now. We are totally hot, mountaintop high in love, fully trusting each other, a perfect family of five with maybe its own little rocky roads, its pockets of loneliness, its moments of disappointment and disagreement, but deeply in love and grateful for what seems like heaven here in Lost River, lost and away and being found by each other. There are storm clouds on the horizon, but we escape them, this weekend, they are held back by the mountains, they are hedged out, and we are here.

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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