I posted this on my facebook timeline. Hence the "facebook limitations" reference. I am reposting here for posterity.
As I venture into our 8th year of marriage with my wife Kelly, I take a look back and reflect. I notice the ups and downs. I look at the good times and the bad times. I've noticed that in this world many people talk about how marriage is difficult and I've often told myself and others that marriage IS difficult. Thinking back though, I must confess that so far it has not held true. Perhaps because of mental preparedness or some other reason but my thoughts don't quite gravitate that way. My marriage (knock on wood :) ) has been quite easy contrary to popular wisdom. Have there been bad times? Certainly! But not in the same vein as you might hear from people with troubled marriages. Our bad times have been times where decisions have been tough. The times we regret are when we haven't done the things we planned on because of certain factors, whether they be financial issues, laziness, lack of a sense of urgency, or whatever. Never have we ever struggled with a problem so bad as to wonder about the state of our relationship. I consider ourselves very blessed in this regard. The really tough times have been through personal struggles that we've taken on together and we always come out having grown and grown closer. There are a number of reasons I believe this has happened.
For one, we started our relationship from an understanding that God is the most important member of our family. He is our mediator. He is our refuge. He is our mutual Standard. If ever there is a disagreement we ALWAYS look to Him as our goalpost and when we make mistakes we forgive each other unconditionally. I've done my fair share of apologizing. I'm actually usually the one apologizing. :) Kelly has done very little that I can recall that required apologizing.
Secondly, we have NEVER allowed the thought of separation or "divorce" enter into the realm of consideration from the start. This forces us to ALWAYS reconcile any differences or arguments SWIFTLY. I can count on less than one hand the number of times I've let the sun go down on my wrath.
Third of all, we both understand that there is both a natural and supernatural order to the family structure. (1 Cor. 11:3 "But I want you to understand that the head of every man is Christ, the head of a wife is her husband, and the head of Christ is God.") While we may discuss courses of action for our family and I indeed respect and desire the council of my wife, we both understand that the final decision lies with me. Even when I make mistakes or if my decision sounds "off-the-wall" bonkers to her, she respects me as her husband and follows me in whatever direction I take us. No matter what. NO MATTER WHAT. This is not some kind of chauvinistic male bravado position I take. It is rather an unspoken understanding. Don't try and picture me "pulling rank" on my wife at every corner. I don't have to. Since our standard is the same that we pull from we are often on the same page. One of the craziest things in our marriage is when we both agree to do something and then I never set the plan in motion. For example, we, for a long time, have been wanting to get rid of all or a large portion of our material possessions. I have not yet done this regardless of the number of times we've discussed it and have agreed to go forward with it. I have my reasons. Not one of those reasons are very good or convincing, even to me...but I have my reasons. And she doesn't badger me about it. It comes up from time to time. Especially in the wake of problems caused by some of our over-abundance of "stuff". But it is never a point of contention. I don't know what I'm waiting for. The right time? The right financial situation? Approval of my family or peers? Wanting "the best" for our kids? Who knows? Like I said none of those reasons are good but they are my reasons. But I digress. She loves and respects me as head of the household and that is reason enough for her patience. I love her so much for that.
Fourthly, we are content with what we have. By that, I mean we do not desire MORE. Sure we have our moments of "Oooh, I want that!" but we don't topple dynasties to get it. We are content. Actually, we know we could do with less! We know for certain things could be a lot worse. I was advised by my father prior to marriage that the cliché, "Love can sustain us even in the gutter." or "Love will provide." is not a thing to be hanging your hat on. Well, not to completely disregard my father's advice but in all my experience these last 7 years I am truly convinced that even if we found ourselves living in the gutter, even that would not drive us apart.
Fifthly, (and I'll make this the last reason for now as this post is WAY longer than I expected it to be) Kelly makes this so much easier. She NEVER complains. Well, okay, she complains from time to time. But she never complains about the way it is. She doesn't complain that her life hasn't turned out the way she imagined. I suppose there are a number of reasons for that. I don't gather she was ever the type of girl that pictured her marriage life and children a certain way. She wasn't the type of girl that would practice writing her first name in front of the last name of some childhood crush and imagine a big white house with a picket fence and 1 boy and 1 girl for children both named after their parents and a husband with a great executive job making tons of money who would come home saying, "Honey! I'm Home!" Wait...maybe that's how I imagined things. :D j/k lol. I don't know, perhaps Kelly set the bar really low and even a "schlubb" like me is a pleasant surprise. I remember talking with my friends as a young guy about how, "Nice guys finish last." and complaining about it as if it was such a terrible thing. And at the time, it WAS! We were always getting crapped on by beautiful women and turned down at every turn even though we did EVERYTHING, "by the book". Only to see them run of with some idiot who everyone knew was treating them like total garbage. As a 34 year-old, married to a beautiful bride with two AWESOME kids (even when they are annoying) :D I can honestly say that was the only thing we ever got right as young men. Nice guys DO finish last. But at least we finish, and finish well.
There are so many other factors that have contributed to the relative "ease" of our relationship these past 7 years that I don't think facebook would necessarily allow in one post. And maybe that is contradictory to my premise. But perhaps the fact that these things come so naturally for the both of us is why it works so well. Anyone who knows us, knows that the two of us have some of the most different backgrounds and would have been considered the most unlikely of couples. God indeed works in mysterious ways. I still contend that one of the first times I saw her in Jimmy John's while I was mopping the floor and watching her walk out the back of the sandwich shop, something said inside me, "You're gonna marry that girl." while laughing softly and shaking my head at that most unlikely of prospects. I suppose that was my "Sarah" moment. It wasn't for quite sometime later that I had even seriously considered it. So much longer that I sometimes wondered if it was her that I remember thinking that about. But EVERY time I recall the incident I end up more and more convinced that it was. It's a bit surreal. :)
Anyhoo, I love you Kelly and Love you more and more every day. At this rate of love growth I may explode with love for you before our 14th anniversary! :D And of course, no romantic expression of love can escape the ever-so obligatory Jerry McGuire line, "You complete me." :D Kelly...You....complete me. :)
Happy 7th Anniversary and Lord willing MANY more!