Friday, June 12, 2009

10 years and counting...

We got married pretty young. I was 21, she was 20. But in our defense, we dated for four years counting our engagement. It's not like it was a rash decision. I look back at our wedding pictures now and I see it - wow, we were young. But God has been so good to us. We are truly more in love today than we were on that day. I seriously feel like I'm still getting to know her. It's as if layers of depth continue to be unfolded for me, and I see her in new ways all the time. I have friends and family whose marriages haven't enjoyed the same kind of growth and love. I've seen people close to me split and relationships torn apart. I'm not naive enough to think that I'm immune from that kind of thing. As if somehow my marriage is indestructible. I think it's precisely because of that fragility, that I work so hard at protecting it. Marriage is not easy. It's not a given. But it is the most life-giving, beautiful thing in the world when it functions the way God intended. I get to wake up every day and win the heart of my wife all over again. Some days I do that well, others days I fail. But tomorrow I get to do it all over again. I have been so blessed by this woman. She stretches my faith, she teaches me about love and sacrifice and humility, and I am simply a better follower of Jesus because of her.

Anyway, here are some of the lessons I've learned along the way. I'd love to hear some feedback from others of you who've learned similar or other lessons.

1. Don't go to bed angry. Seriously. Don't do it. There have been times when we've laid in bed where the silence was thick. I might lay there for an hour, but at some point we're going to talk. I won't ignore it. I won't let it go. The second you choose to let it go and bury it, is the second you've stopped fighting for your marriage. Seriously, this is huge.

2. Serve each other. Whether it's cleaning up the kitchen, taking the kids so she can relax, or when she makes me food, or encourages me to go hang out with the guys. There's no "I" in marriage. oh wait... How about "we" is more important than "me."

3. Date. We've always tried to get out and do stuff together. Really in the last year though this has become so important for us. I find that as we get busier, and as stresses increase with finances, kids, etc. it's even more important that we don't neglect dating each other. For many people the difficult times create strain on their relationship. For us these have become important times of connection. I find that we grow deeper and stronger through adversity rather than fragmenting. And that's not because it just happens. We force ourselves to spend the time, to talk through the pain, to confront the elephant in the room.

4. Honor God. I don't know what else to call this. But maybe the best example of this is in finances. Statistics say that finances is the #1 reason marriages don't make it. The stress of paying bills, the differing priorities when it comes to spending, all of that can be quite a threat to a marriage. We have found that God's way really is the best way. And I know that sounds trite or whatever, but stay with me for a second. We just don't argue about money because we are committed to honoring God with our finances. That means we give generously, no matter the circumstances. We have always lived within our means, refusing to carry debt. What debt we had from school and cars, we've aggressively paid those things off. We've also tried to save so that we would have margin in times of difficulty. Right now is one of the most difficult financial times of our marriage. And yet, there is a strange peace in knowing that because we have committed to honoring God in this way, we don't have to worry.

Andy Stanley recently gave a talk about Pathways. He says that the path you're on determines the destination. I know that isn't all that profound, but it's surprising how many people don't understand that. The direction you are headed will determine where you end up, not your intentions or desires. When we left CA to move to NC, we could have done all the planning in the world. We could have mapped out our travel, all our stops, created a budget, all of that. But if we had gotten on Interstate 10 and headed west, despite all our best intentions, we would have ended up at the Pacific Ocean, not in NC. Many people want to have a healthy marriage. They want to grow old with someone and they dream of raising an incredible family together. But then they get on the 10 and head west. They make decisions along the way that lead them on a different path, not the one they intended to be on. And when they get there, they wonder how it happened. Their intentions and their desires for their marriage and their family don't line up with where they find themselves. Kimi and I have a destination in mind. And we believe that the things I mentioned above (along with many other things like sacrifice, commitment, trust, accountability, etc.) will get us there.

Here's to the next 10 years, and hopefully many more beyond that!


We love you guys congrats on 10 years!

yikes honey. you amaze me all the time. i am so blessed!

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