Today is my fiance’s birthday, and because he wouldn’t allow me to get him anything this year, I figured I could at least give him a free shout out….so here I am, being cheesy and expressing thanks to the man I will soon be marrying.

Because Adam is turning 26 today, I figured I could share 26 things I have learned from him in the three years we have been together. And maybe, just maybe, you will be inspired to find someone as great as him to love you 🙂

  1. Adam taught me what it means to put others first. It’s something I am still working on, yet I am in awe of his generosity each and every day. Adam has a passion to serve and to help anyone in need.
  2. I learned that age isn’t an issue. We are three years apart, and so we had known each other for over a year before I turned 21. For some people, this would be a deal-breaker. Why date a college girl who doesn’t have a fake ID to get into the bars? Well, Adam found fun ways to spend time with me, and never once made me feel “guilty” for being young.
  3. Spontaneity is a gift. The first life-changing experience we shared together was going on a missions trip to Guatemala. He had signed up the day he heard about it, and although it took me prayer, thinking, and logistical planning to decide if I wanted to go, he simply said “yes” to the opportunity of a lifetime–not knowing what was in store. I now know that being spontaneous can provide so much joy and increase faith.
  4. Mountains are beautiful. Coming from South Dakota, the land of corn and soy beans, I was naive to the landscape other areas of the country provided. He introduced me to the mountains, and they stole my heart.
  5. Love is not always romantic in a movie-sense. I remember the first time I got really sick when Adam and I had only been dating a couple months. I showed up to the hospital with a fever of 104.3, was braless, covered in sweat, and probably stinky. Yet he arrived at the hospital as quick as possible, did anything he could to comfort me, and stayed by my side the next few days. We watched a sermon on the couch, and it felt so romantic despite what society tells us romance is. And this was the day I had to hold back my tongue to not say those three words before he did 🙂
  6. Support is everything. I have learned that supporting Adam gives me so much joy, and he finds that same joy in supporting me and my endeavors. Even if we aren’t pursuing something together, the other is right on the bandwagon cheering along.
  7. Relationships require sacrifice. There have been so many times throughout our relationship that Adam has made sacrifices to meet my needs or wants. He has put things aside when it stands as a barrier to our relationship.
  8. Hobbies are meant to be shared. Some of our first “dates” were spent on freezing cold runs during the Chicago winter, and I quickly realized that six miles with a funny man by my side is much more enjoyable than six miles alone.
  9. Laughing can hurt. Yes, he has made me laugh so hard that I have had some serious pain in my stomach and cheeks. Speaking of how he was “humbilized” on our trip to Guatemala sure gave me the giggles. And I wasn’t the only one in the group with rosy cheeks.
  10. Ice skating is always better when a man can hold your hand. Well, that comes from the girl who can’t remain afoot without the physical guidance. After three years of being together and three attempts at ice skating, I still have confidence that he will need to hold my hand the rest of my life.
  11. Friends can be forever. Adam has some of the most incredible friends from high school and college, and although I am not very good at keeping in touch with friends in other states, he is. After moving to Colorado, we have spent a lot of time with his college buddies and their significant others, and I can honestly say they feel like family.
  12. There is always something new to learn. I am amazed by Adam’s willingness and desire to learn something new all the time. I feel constantly absorbed by the learning required in graduate school, yet he is still teaching me so much.
  13. Documentaries are cool. Okay, I am still learning to enjoy them relative to a nice romantic comedy, yet I understand the value and enjoy how excited they make him.
  14. Parenting a dog is like parenting a child. I never imagined that Adam and I would own a dog before we got married, or I guess any time in the next five years, but we somehow managed to fall in love with the idea of a puppy, and now we are in love with our own little puppy–Ash. Training him has been a crazy ride, yet Adam has shown me that we can be one heck of a team, and that the outcomes can be great.
  15. I have learned what it is like to not be able to imagine a life without someone. Ever since I started dating Adam, I haven’t been able to visualize a life without him in it. Whether he would be a friend or a husband, I knew that there was no way I could have him leave my life. He is just that special.
  16. Golf is fun. As a high school cross country runner, the only contact I had with golf was making fun of the people who participated in the sport. I ran on golf courses, and “those people” rode around in golf carts. Well guess what?  It is actually pretty fun…riding in the cart. And also hitting some balls at the driving range. That’s the extent of my abilities 🙂
  17. Risks are worth it. When I wanted to move to North Carolina after college graduation, I knew that there was some risk involved. However, Adam fully supported me, and through that support, I was able to pursue the dream. And that dream (although it didn’t work out as expected), lead me exactly to where I am today.
  18. Bad days aren’t all that bad. Yes, I have had some tough times in the past three years. From big familial changes to health issues and hard life decisions, I have had what I used to call bad days. However, Adam has taught me that there may be bad parts in a day, but that doesn’t make the whole day bad. Any day alive has something good, so maybe we should call them all good days.
  19. Beach hiking is awesome, and it is possible to walk through crocodile estuaries without getting eaten. Costa Rica adventures…see more in previous posts!
  20. Little moments mean so much. I used to imagine that when I met my husband, I would be taken away by the big things–the job, the appearance, the vacations, the (again) movie-esque stuff. However, every small moment with Adam is just as exciting. Eating waffles (my favorite breakfast food), cooking dinner, hiking, getting groceries, watching Chicago Fire, etc. All of those so-called minute things, are so much bigger than we typically realize.
  21. A man of God is a man of strength. I didn’t realize how powerful it would be to be with someone who shares my faith with me, but being able to pray with Adam, to lead and attend small group with him, and to talk about Jesus together is such a moving thing. I am so thankful that God blessed me with a man who wants me to love Jesus more than I love him.
  22. I am worth it. This is something I have yet to convince myself of, yet Adam tries so hard to remind me of my worth each day. He respects me and does what he can to show me that I am important and have high value.
  23. God’s plans are inexplicable. As Adam and I shared our pasts and learned how all of the different parts of our lives needed to happen for us to meet each other, I was even more in awe of God and His plans for His people.
  24. Early bedtimes are A-Okay. I really appreciate that he doesn’t make fun of the fact that I go to bed by 10:00 each night and basically act like an 80-year old most of the time.
  25. Each night needs ten goodnights. Ever since we started dating, we have sent each other ten good nights total over text before falling asleep. Whoever sends the tenth good night gets a little cheesy and expresses some gratitude for the other as well as some fun parts of the day. It is the perfect way to fall asleep smiling and to reflect on the goodness of each passing day.
  26. I am one lucky girl. Of course I saved this one for last. Adam has taught me that I could do nothing to fully reciprocate the love that he has provided for me. I try and try, but I don’t know if he will ever fully realize how much he has changed my life for the better.

So yes, here is my cheesy blog post–expressing my appreciation for 26 of the many lessons I have learned in the last 1100-1200 days.

Happy Birthday, Adam.

And to anyone else reading this, you deserve a man who will teach you just as much.