After 15 years of marriage I’m gonna spill some secrets.
My wife and I are VERY much in love. (That’s not the secret. Just ask our kids. “Yuck!” “Daaaddd, stop kissing mom!”, insert teenage daughter eye-roll here as well.)
My heart is full today. Like total saturation full. The kind that makes me have to stop, look back, and share some of the things most people may never see. Why? The Lord has given Cara and I the opportunity to do life with a large number of college students. We love them. They keep us young. They challenge us. They treat our kids like gold. (That’s huge as a parent). And…my hope is that one day, wherever my kids travel to in life…there is a couple who loves God and loves one another fully…that will be there for them if they need anything.
They’ll ask us from time to time what makes our relationship work.
Today…on our 15th wedding anniversary…I want to share some more of that with them. Keep in mind this is from my perspective. My wife is the smarter, better looking, wittier one in the relationship. Maybe I’ll convince her to guest blog and share her perspective some day. Today…here’s mine.
- One of my favorite things to do is sit in the chair in our living room, as my wife sits on the couch…as we watch a TV show together. When I am almost positive she’s totally engaged in the show…I watch her instead of the TV. To steal a moment when she has no clue I’m watching, and be totally present in it, saturated in my gratefulness that God saw fit to allow me to be her husband. Slow down. Watch more. Life happens fast. Take in as much as you can while you can. Who Cara is makes me a better version of who I am. Taking in her smile is fuel for my heart.
- This next one…for the rest of my life I’ll need to get better at it. But when I’m smart enough to do it, it sure is fun. I try to find something that my “husband brain” has promised Cara I would take care of, and have it done without her knowing. (Wait, what’s a husband brain? That’s a blog post for another day…but trust me it exists.) Now…if you said you would do it, and haven’t…and she hasn’t said anything? That just proves she’s angelic in nature. And believe me. She remembers! But on the occasion I crank something out…the smile on her face is priceless. And beyond that…she doesn’t say “You said you’d do that a long time ago. It’s finally done. It’s about time.” No. Instead? You could turn all the lights off in the house at midnight, and her smile would light up the room as she expresses genuine gratitude for it’s completion, and mercy for my extended laziness not to complete it earlier. She’s gentle like that…and it’s why I went outside last weekend and whacked down a bunch of overgrown brush. You’d have thought I took her on a trip around the world. When we honor our word, it fills our spouse’s heart.
- Doing the simple things before they are mentioned things. Make the bed, gather up the recyclables, vacuum a room…any room…and if you want hero status, do the whole house. Pick something that seems inconsequential to you, and do it. I can almost guarantee you that is 10x more attractive than walking around the house shirtless after doing push-ups (trying to look all swoll) If that last phrase misses you, insert the word “buff”, “studly” or some other older-generational phrase. “Swoll” is my shot at appearing slightly relevant to the college students we do life with. Ha!
- This one is a quiet one. Many times it’s one Cara doesn’t realize is happening. And to be honest, this is about as vulnerable as I can be with you…but I sense it needs to be shared. I get alone with God. What does that even mean? Sometimes it means I go for a walk. Others, I’m in my office listening to music and writing. Still others, I pick a time when no one is around, and I read my Bible and write whatever hits me in a journal. And those moments when I don’t have the answer to a question, challenge, struggle, whatever…I find myself sobbing into my hands, slumped onto the floor of my office crying out to God. Not to be overdramatic…but it’s just reality. If I want to be the husband and father God called me to be, it’s many times going to come at the expense of my pride and preference.
- Let’s end on 5. Last secret for today. Maybe I’ll share more in the future. I hope in some way many college students will have read this, and pulled something from it. The years stretch out…and most likely so will you…literally…but this last thing will always remain. After 15 years of marriage we’ve never stopped thanking one another for choosing one another. I will look at Cara and say “Thanks for saying yes.” and quietly…with the smile that I stare at as she watches TV on any given evening, she’ll turn her head and whisper back “Thanks for asking.”
We took a chance on one another.
And for the last 15 years we’ve turned chance into intentionality.
Watch one another.
Honor your word.
Do the simple things before they are ever asked for.
Make time for your relationship with God, so you’ve got something to bring to your relationship with one another.
Thank each other for choosing each other.
And as much as I hope this is an encouragement to our college students…I hope my kids see this everyday around their house. And maybe even someday bump into this blog post as they are looking for their spouse. And if you do? Ella, Oscar and Sawyer…Your mom is the hottest, sweetest, most amazing woman on this planet. And the next time you see us, I am going to plant a big sloppy wet kiss on her right in front of you…so you will never forget how in love with her I am, and always will be.
Sorry kids…that’s how it goes.
Thanks for asking!
I love you.