Today I celebrate 9 years of wedded bliss with my college sweetheart, Erik.  Just one year from our 10-year vow renewal, right honey??  I love teasing him about having a spectacular vow renewal next summer, but he likes to remind me that vows don’t expire and therefore don’t need renewing.  In my opinion, there aren’t enough opportunities to celebrate marriage so why not?  😉  Tell me I’m not alone here!

I met Erik when I was 19 years old and I knew very early on that he was “the one.”  We never had a class together at UC Berkeley (he was an electrical engineering and computer science double major — total brainiac — and I studied political science and history) but met at a local church.  Our first date was a concert at The Fillmore in San Francisco.  The headliners that night: The Ataris and The Juliana Theory.  High fives to anyone who knows both of those bands; feel free to play “We’re At The Top of the World” by The Juliana Theory while you read the rest of this post.  🙂  We started our evening with terrible Italian food (he picked a random spot close to the concert venue and it was a total bomb) and missed the opening act that night (Yellowcard).  I still remember I wore a blue and white striped tank top, jeans, and a pair of Converse.  On the drive home, we laughed and pretend-splashed our water bottles on each other (I know, totally childish flirting) over the sounds of Ultimate Fakebook (yet another band we loved back then).  Fast forward a few weeks and we were inseparable.  On any given day of the week, you could find us studying in Main Stacks (ok, he’d be studying and I’d be in the adjacent cubicle taking a nap) or grabbing dinner at Pasta Pomodoro.  A couple of months later, I went off to Europe with my mom and sister and called Erik nearly everyday using prepaid calling cards (remember those things?).  When I returned to the states, Erik surprised me at the gate with roses and chocolate covered strawberries and whisked me off (having just come off an international flight, I was not looking my best!) for a date.  My mom called me shrieking when she got home because he had delivered 100 long stem roses to my doorstep in case he didn’t intercept me at LAX.  Let’s just say he knew how to make an impression.

Our college dating experience included lots of movies (mostly sci fi), shrimp and steak fajitas at Chevy’s, and competitive mini golf.  Falling in love with Erik was so effortless.  He was funny, thoughtful, incredibly smart and handsome and best of all, a passionate follower of Christ.  He challenged me and encouraged me and helped me grow in so many ways.

197856_1007973244161_2561_n just married | 2005

Most people thought we were at least a little bit crazy to want to get married so young.  They didn’t understand why we didn’t want to just wait things out and “find ourselves” first.  We were engaged during our senior year and got married just a few months after graduation.  When we walked back up the aisle as husband and wife (to “Wouldn’t It Be Nice?” by the Beach Boys, no less), little did we know…

  • Just a few months later, I would leave behind my scholarship to law school without any plans for another career
  • Erik would change course in his own career and leave an excellent engineering job to return to school for 5 years, earning two master’s degrees
  • I would start a wedding planning & design business
  • It would take us 7 years and a lot of heartache before we had our first child, Olive
  • We would see close family members undergo surgeries, fall ill, and even pass away
  • We would lose three babies in the womb
  • We would travel to Japan, Taiwan, New Zealand, Australia, Canada, Mexico, and more…
  • We would pick up and move away from our families to start a new adventure with Erik’s new job as a pastor
  • We would buy our first home together

No, when we were 21 and 22-year-old newlyweds, we had stars in our eyes and love in our hearts and no idea about what lay ahead of us.  But we did know that our love was founded on the same thing: Christ.  We knew we were devoted to one another, committed to the same permanence of marriage, and intent on the same desire to glorify God through our union.  We knew we were going to be stretched and sanctified as we “found ourselves” together.  Two opinionated, passionate people under one roof are bound to butt heads once in a while.  But we knew that we would.  And we knew we would get through anything together.  And we have.  Through the ups and downs of 9 years of marriage (and 11+ years together), we have made it through stronger than ever.

ACF369F us in january 2007 (not our wedding — just a fun bridal shoot!) | photo by The Image is Found

us in late 2007 | photo by Jasmine Star

swanson_019a us in 2008 | photo by Amelia Lyon

orange_county_engagement_photos-03 us in 2009 | photo by Jessica Claire

We have grown in love — in depth and breadth and richness.  We have grown as a family — we have literally seen our love multiplied with the birth of our daughter.  We have grown as individuals and have grown to respect and honor one another in our differences.  Most of all, we have strived to help each other grow toward Christ-likeness.  This is our greatest hope and desire for one another.

002564-R1-E009 us in january 2012 | photo by Jose Villa

Sean_Anna_Wedding_321 us in june 2012 | photo by Ryan Ray

Q-LPz5aD2mSuLzo-figIzqxzfj_V0bCl6659mcWyA9s,VtZG2CGf43C4jmYJEYeohYsYUO5yQTJ6nkxGydxWj4o us in 2013 | photo by Erin Hearts Court

I don’t know what the next 9 years will hold for us; there is so much that can and will change.  But I do know this, in the deepest part of my heart and soul — I will be loving my Erik with all of my heart.  I will be thanking God for bringing me to my sweetheart so early in life, so we could grow alongside one another.  In another 9 years I will still be laughing uncontrollably at his silly antics, I will still be moved by his quiet but romantic gestures.  I will still be wiping away tears watching him read and play with our daughter.  I will be standing by his side when the road gets rough.  I will be leaning on his shoulder when my heart feels heavy.  I will be praying with him when the future looks uncertain.  In 9 years, I will be teasing my sweetheart about an even-grander 20-year vow renewal coming up.  And by then, frankly, he’ll owe it to me.  Right??  😉  (P.S. How blessed are we to have family photos from so many of the country’s best photographers??)

Babe — thank you for 9 joy-filled, heart-stretching, soul-blessing years.  You are my greatest gift and my truest friend.  You are a brilliant and captivating man and you inspire me everyday.  It is a beautiful adventure being your wife and I love you with all of my heart and everything that I am.  Happy Anniversary, darling.

yours always, Angel

Thank you for indulging this personal post today!  If you’re here for workshop info, scroll on down to the last post!  I hope you’re having a great week and I’ll see you again soon!!  xo

Comments (7)

  1. Audrey: August 6, 2014

    Angel, I’m wiping away tears as I’m writing this. What a beautiful, heartfelt post. Thank you for sharing your journey with us. God bless you and Erik on your 9 year anniversary! xoxo <3

  2. angel // love & splendor: August 7, 2014

    Oh Audrey you are the sweetest!! Thank you for reading and always sharing such thoughtful, kind comments. xoxo

  3. kristin @ petal and thorn: August 6, 2014

    your love and respect for Erik has always been so obvious, even from the first date! i cannot believe it’s been 9 years. too crazy! big partay next year, right??? 🙂

  4. angel // love & splendor: August 7, 2014

    i love that you have been a part of our entire relationship. <3 love you!

  5. Kel: August 6, 2014

    Your story is inspiring and the depth of your love is palpable. Happy happy anniversary to you & Erik!

    PS – Go Bears! 😉

  6. angel // love & splendor: August 7, 2014

    Thank you, sweet Kelly!! 🙂 Always happy to see your name pop up in the comments! Hope all is well. xoxo

  7. sammy: August 28, 2014

    your story is so rich to read 🙂 i met my fianceé at UC Berkeley too at Intervarsity (which church did you go to?!) and by crazy divine circumstances I’ve found myself in the event industry (SF-based floral designer!). It’s so encouraging to hear how your life and career have been marked by the Lord’s faithfulness and your trust in Him. WAHOO!

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