When I started this little blog back in December it was because of my wife. She didn’t make me do it or even know that I was doing it. I started it because it was an inexpensive and creative anniversary gift for her. I wanted her to know that I wanted the world to know how great of a wife she has been for 16 years. (See 16 Things). I wrote the first post, published it, and then told Shelley to go check out my new blog. It was a fun moment.
After I wrote that first blog post I started thinking of some of the great stories that have shaped our marriage and started writing. It has been incredibly fun to think about our adventures and decisions, both good and bad. Shelley has read everything I have written before I have posted it.
It has been a great exercise in growing in gratitude for my marriage. Here are a few things that writing about my marriage has taught me about my marriage.
1) I want to communicate gratitude not arrogance
I do want everyone to know that I have a great marriage. I want people to know that we are learning how to love each other well.
But, I also want to be sensitive to those who may be walking through a hard marriage or coming out of a failed marriage. I don’t ever want to give the impression that, if you haven’t experienced what we have, then you have failed. I don’t ever want to unintentionally communicate that my marriage is perfect. I don’t ever want anything I write to cause frustration to someone who may have a different experience.
I don’t ever want to give off that “my dad can beat up your dad” attitude about my marriage.
I know many people who are walking through hard seasons in their marriage. I know many couples who have not made it through their hard seasons with their marriage intact.
Hopefully, I have communicated gratitude and even an encouraging thought or two.
2) It has taken both of us to have the kind of marriage we have
As I have reflected on a lot of our big moments and stories, it has highlighted the fact that it has taken both of us. That may seem like a no brainer but it can never be said enough and no one said it better than Marvin Gaye and Kim Weston, “It takes two baby.”
Within the first year of our marriage we moved from Little Rock, AR. to Fort Worth, TX. for me to finish graduate school. I will never forget the moment when we were about to walk out of our first apartment for the last time. Shelley got emotional as we hugged. Stepping out into our first adventure, through her tears she said, “We come as a package”.
We have been saying and living that statement out ever since. We have had that statement on a piece of paper hanging on our fridge since May of 1999.
There have been so many decisions about life, parenting, and our relationship that have taken every bit of both of us. There have been moments when I have had to lean completely on Shelley to help me get through hard moments. There have been moments when she has had to lean on me in the same way.
I can’t imagine having to carry our marriage by myself for the past 16 years. I am grateful for our partnership in life.
3) All of our marriages have a big target on their backs.
I can’t ever imagine our marriage falling apart but I don’t ever want to let my guard down. As 1 Peter 5:8 says. “Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” I have known several couples who have appeared to have invincible marriages only to see them fall apart. It is heart breaking.
It does remind me that the moment I think my marriage is invincible it is the moment we open ourselves up to attack.
I want to keep my guard up. I want to fight more than ever to have clear communications. I want to be as diligent as ever to have a pure mind. I want pray more and more for Shelley’s spiritual life. I want to pursue a deeper walk with God. I want to pursue a greater deal of selflessness as a husband. I want to be ready for the adversary when he attacks.
I don’t ever want to let my guard down. I know we have a target on our back.
4) I love marriage
At the end of the day, I love being married. If there was a way to count the laughter and smiles I have had in my marriage it would outnumber the fish in the ocean. I love the adventure of raising our kids together. I love navigating the complexities of life together. I love just being together.
I picture the day when we are old and still laughing and smiling, enjoying this gift we have been given, the gift of each other.
I love marriage.
I know I could come up with more things that writing about my marriage has taught me but I don’t want to brag.