Today, Kim and I celebrate 32 years of marriage! How could this happen? After all, over the years many of our friends (who say they love Jesus, too) have opted out, choosing to divorce rather than honor their marriage vows.
I need to admit something. Saying “I love Jesus” is not enough to stay in a marriage until death do you part. Staying in a marriage takes more than this. I know this isn’t something a pastor is supposed to say, but I’m being honest. Over the years, our marriage hasn’t been bad; it just hasn’t been bliss. Don’t get me wrong, we’ve had bad moments and we’ve had blissful moments. But there is more to this journey than these moments.
Thirty-two years ago, when we said to God and to each other “I do,” we were very broken, sinful individuals. Sure, we thought we had it all together (at least I did). However, 32 years has taught me some hard lessons on what it means to grow up and be a man.
I’ve learned that Jesus is not just my Savior, He is my example and I must follow Him even when I don’t want to.
I’ve learned that God wants me to grow up, and He will use Kim to accomplish this goal. I need to put on my man pants and stop whining and feeling sorry for myself, because I don’t always get what I want when I want it and how I want it.
I’ve learned that if I want something done and I want her to do it, perhaps I’m the one that needs to do it. Kim is not my servant; she is my partner, my lover, and my best friend.
I’ve learned to enjoy the activities she wants to do (like hiking, bicycle riding, walking). While I may never enjoy these activities as much as she does, my world expands beyond my own desires and the bonds between us are strengthened. In doing so, she has learned to participate in the activities I enjoy (like motorcycle riding, road trips, and motorcycle riding).
I’ve learned to discuss the mundane topics of life (“How was your day?”, “What do you think about?”, etc.). By doing so, connections are formed and strengthened so that we can handle the hard discussions of life.
I’ve learned to be kind. After all, she is the daughter of Almighty God and He assures me that He has her back!
I’ve learned to love her for who she is, not for who I want her to become. Early in our marriage, I had idolatrous fantasies of who I wanted her to be. These were toxic! I’ve learned that the “real deal” (who she is) is the “best deal.” Honestly, I wouldn’t have it any other way!
I’ve learned to repent frequently because my sinful desires continue to war against my soul. While I’m not who I was, I’m not who I will one day be. God uses Kim continually to work on me, exposing fault lines in my character that need to be transformed. Repentance is what keeps this process moving forward. Without repentance, I sabotage this process and poison our joy.
While the past 32 years have been an adventure with many peaks and valleys, I can honestly say I’ve never been happier and more content in my marriage. Kim has allowed me to flourish as a man.
Kim, by God’s incredible grace, here’s to another 32 years! I love you!