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Marriage surprises

That's us, having our cake and eating it, too.

Four years ago, I married my best friend.

It was an unusually warm day for January — about 70 degrees and sunny.

The church was full of friends and family, many of whom were moved to tears before the ceremony even began. Myself (Jeff) included.

It was beautiful, fun, and unforgettable.

They say you can’t prepare for the best things in life. This certainly has been true for our marriage. Despite our best efforts to plan, so much has been unexpected.

For instance, I didn’t expect Ashley to change the song from “Canon in D” to “Hold On,” a song I had written for our first date.

As the doors to the sanctuary opened, my heart leaped into my chest. I nervously watched Dustin, my best man, walk up to the altar and pick up the guitar. I just about yelled at him to stop.

This wasn’t what was supposed to happen, I thought. He was supposed to play during communion. This was too soon. But then, he started playing the familiar tune. And I turned to watch my bride walk down the aisle and completely lost it.

I knew in an instant this would be the best day of my life.

The surprises continued at our reception when my wife surprised me with a song-and-dance routine of “Signed, Sealed, Delivered” by Stevie Wonder (with the help of her bridesmaids and close friends).

We then surprised our friends with the first dance — a choreographed mash-up of ballroom and the styles of Michael Jackson.

One day on our honeymoon, we made plans to visit the city and got snowed in. So instead, we baked brownies and made snow angels.

When we started looking for houses, we ended up buying the first one we saw (because it was perfect — “the best deal in Franklin,” our real estate agent told us).

When we were tired of looking for dogs and just about to give up, we found Lyric at the local shelter. We brought him home the very next day.

I’m grateful for the surprises. They make our story feel exciting. Our marriage has been full of wonderful, unexpected moments that we’ve learned to embrace. Some have been great and others hard. In all of it, we’ve learned to trust God and each other more. I’m a better man for it, and we’re a better couple.

Tonight, we will go out to dinner, exchange gifts, and see The Civil Wars in concert. And we will celebrate four years of surprises, and hopefully, many more to come.