I can tell you the exact moment I decided I was going to marry Michael Strickland. It was January 10, 1999. I can even remember what was going through my head at the time. I was looking at him, and I just thought, how wonderful the man in front of me was. We'd already had a rough time, and it got even worse after, but I knew in that moment that I was in love with him for the rest of my life and nothing was going to change it.
When we hit our worst patch, when I felt like nothing we did would ever make us work I did try and move on. I tried to love someone else but I was never able to give him my full heart. I loved him, but not completely, because no matter what Michael was still there, enforcing his ownership over at least a tiny bit of my heart. Michael, no matter what's going on between us, no matter how destructive we had been to each other was always my best friend. He could be mad at me, and if I needed a friend he was there, he would listen to me rant and rave and cry and scream and talk for hours, or he'd hold me while I cried in his arms, even if it was all about him. He didn't seem to judge me, he didn't insult me, or leave me on my own, he was there through my huge emotional messes, some of my own making, some just circumstantial and some he'd create for us too.
There are many things I'm not proud of in our relationship, some of the selfishness I showed, but he doesn't hold it against me. He loves me anyways. There have been times I've doubted it, and I've thought he moved on even when I didn't seem to be able to. I know I blamed him in those moments, cursed him because he seemed capable of forgetting what we had meant to each other when I was unable, but I know now that he couldn't either.
I trust in his love for me, in our family. I am thankful that we could find our way through the storm that was our teenage years, and I'm most thankful that even though Michael has completely seen me at my worst and most horrible that he still loves me and wants to be with me. I am thankful that he decided to pledge his life to me above anyone else.
I'm glad I chose him too.