seven year itch.

I stayed up late, knowing we had big sunrise plans for the morning, trying diligently to write you a note. How on earth I could take all the intense, fire-igniting emotion I was bursting with for you and compound them into a single letter, I had no idea, but I was determined to try. So while you not so quietly slept, I opened my heart and wrote, taking breaks to pause and listen to the way your breath escaped between your lips, observing your frequent tiny movements as you dreamt and smiled at the dogs warmly curled up around you. 

Seven years ago on January 7th we nervously waltzed into that Justice of the Peace Office and shakily exchanged vows, popping cheap champagne and tostino's pizza rolls in celebration before I had to wake up early and drive 3 hours back to work the next morning. Once engaged and facing your upcoming deployment, your parents urged us to make our marriage official. "But we JUST got engaged" I would panic. "And I want a wedding! A NICE wedding, with a dress and everything!". Knowing friends and family had performed simple ceremonies that rarely resulted in the later large celebrations they had originally hoped for, I thought I wanted to wait. Not to marry you, we had already been together four years, I knew YOU were the one, but wait to have an actual wedding day. "We are already going to get married" you reasoned, and your parents had valid financial points. So I trusted your logic, followed my gut and we did it, just as long as you swore not to tell anybody. And you didn't. Until 5 years later. ;)

I will never forget being nervous, standing up there in my "something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue" and then looking across toward you, hair spiked, looking nice, and noticing through the slight tremble of your hand that you were nervous, too. Your excitement and shakiness made me feel more at ease as I thought "we are in this together". 

Ashley and Marshall Woods

From studying abroad, moves to different homes, fights about the stupidest stuff in the world, joining the military, deployment, Napa, Thailand, all over Europe, then transitioning out of the Army, our ten years together has been nothing short of an adventure. I can't help but laugh at the obvious hand God has taken in our marriage (I mean, he brought me back to Hawai'i for crying out loud, when I literally CRIED OUT LOUD that I didn't WANT to come back -- I wanted EUROPE!), while you may be injured he provided a way for you to comfortably shift from the Army to the next phase in your life, answered a specific prayer list for a charming little home by the beach with a legit cool breeze, and sent us on to celebrate our most recent anniversary in, you guessed it, Europe! Just when we thought our trips together couldn't get any better, the Eiffel tower sparkled right outside our window and I nearly pinched myself.

All these years of maritial "bliss" and it still feels like the first. I love your strong, handsome face, sparkly green eyes, bomb eyebrows, 10 year old movie quotes and rap songs quickly turned sentences even MORE this seventh year of marriage. While most people are refreshed after short breaks away from their significant other, we are quite literally better when we're together. I simply can NOT get enough of you, Marshall Brett Woods! I know my note won't ever do it justice, but I seriously love you to the moon and back. People joke that the "seven year itch" sets in on marriage right around this time, and I am so happy to simply be scratching your consistently itchy back. "Scratch me", he always says, extending his forearm in my general direction. 

We may travel the world, both together and apart, and while I have no idea where the future may take us, it really doesn't matter. Wherever we are or what we do, today or ever, I am happy just being alongside you. "Twenty years from today I'll be with you, with nothing more to see..."