Two years ago today we said Yes to a lifetime together, not knowing what was ahead of us. We've been so surprised, in the best way, about how good marriage has been. When we were dating and engaged we heard over and over again about how hard marriage was, and while that can be true on some days or in some seasons, I want to also share how good marriage can be.

One of the most amazing things to me is the fact that I am a better person today than I was two years ago because of my marriage. Marriage is absolutely a refining process, and I am continually being shaped into a better version of myself on so many levels. I have a greater bank of patience now, I am a better communicator, problem solver, and compromiser. I see my strengths as well as my weaknesses more clearly, giving me a more accurate picture of myself. I am both simultaneously more grounded as well as a higher goal setter than I was before. My sense of "home" is no longer a place but a person. Thankful doesn't even begin to cut it when I think about the ways in which I've grown over these past two years.

Daniel and I have a long history of friendship, and our families go way back. We first met when we were five, and by the next time we saw each other at 12, we had developed heart-pounding crushes on each other. We grew up in different states and wouldn't start dating until after college (read more about our story here) so by the time we started dating, we were already on a first-name basis with each other's family pets and extended relatives. It was ideal and fairytale-like in so many ways. I was already loved by his family before there was any reason for them to like me, and vice versa. That history and friendship has been an incredible foundation for us, and I truly feel like I hit the in-law jackpot. We are well loved and supported by them, and since we live in Daniel's home state, my in-laws are my local family, and they feel more like immediate family.

One thing we learned in our pre-engagement class (which was one of the best things we've done as an investment in our marriage) was that 80% of conflicts couples face are unsolvable (meaning one person is a night owl while the other is an early bird, etc). No one you marry will be an exact clone of you on every level (thank goodness, right?). So, we knew that we were guaranteed differences and conflict, but if we could learn how to embrace them and work through conflict in a healthy, constructive way, it would serve us well for a lifetime. The point wasn't to avoid conflict, but to communicate and draw closer to each other through it. That has been our strategy and it has been an incredible mindset shift for us. We both continue to learn how to fight fairly and I think we will continue to learn about conflict resolution for the rest of our lives.

Daniel and I are each other's number one fan. When we had to evacuate Lake Chelan a few weeks ago because of the fires, I asked Daniel on the drive home what would he grab first if he were really in a fire, to see what his most prized possessions were. And he calmly and seriously said, "You. If I didn't have anything else, I would be ok." And I feel the same way. He is my number one, my can't live without, grab first in a fire, most treasured survival item.

Happy two years, Daniel. Proud to be yours.