Today I dwell in gratitude. Yeah I know, Thanksgiving is over. But today marks 10 years of marriage to my beautiful bride Michelle. We’ve sort of been celebrating for a few months now between two different trips we took this year so even now I feel like I’ve been milking this anniversary (the picture above is from one of them to DC). But today, I realize how fortunate I am with this woman. We don’t have the perfect marriage. We disagree (on a number of things actually). We communicate our disagreements passionately at times (read: argue). We are totally different people. She shines in social situations that cause me to clam up. But she’s not perfect. And here’s the real shocker… she doesn’t complete me.
I get that from Jesus, so I don’t expect her to fill a role which another human is incapable of filling anyway. Our marriage isn’t without it’s issues. We have four young kids who stress us out daily. We lose our tempers. We get snippy in the way we talk to one another at times. We’ve had to work through complicated situations that have caused us to feel disconnected. We say sorry.
Is this sounding like the most unromantic way to celebrate your spouse? It’s not, and I have a previous Valentine’s Day card to Michelle to prove it.
But the problem with love today is that we only see it on Facebook status updates and Hollywood movies and we have no appetite for the real thing.
It’s messy and complicated and fantastic. Michelle and I don’t live a fairytale life. We have the same problems and worries you do. But I get to tackle each one of those together with an incredible partner. When I consider the love I had for her ten years ago it almost seems trivial compared to how I feel about her today. We were high school sweethearts. I can’t imagine what I’ll feel toward her decades from now. The amount of vulnerability and transparency we have together is what allows me to actually feel safe enough to grow into the person Christ compels me to become.
Today is actually taking a backseat a bit to what happens tomorrow, when we get to adopt our youngest child permanently into our family after two years of fostering him. How did we get to this place? Michelle told me God laid it on her heart. It took me awhile to catch up, but I cannot imagine life without this part of it now. If I’m honest, Michelle has a sensitivity to hear from God in ways I likely never will. So many of the crazy things we do is because God stirs her and she listens.
Today I’m grateful for all of it. For my kids that exhaust me daily. For the chance to change someone’s story tomorrow. But mostly for a wife next to me through it all. We’ll be journeying together on new adventures long after our kids leave the house. I gladly embrace all that she is: her stresses, her dreams, her worries, her perspective, her beauty, her humor, and her love. It’s easy to do this when you know you’re getting the better end of the deal.
Michelle isn’t my soulmate and God didn’t choose her for me. I chose her ten years ago and I choose her again today.Â It’s amazing how much we have to be grateful for when we don’t expect a fairytale ending.
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