Four glorious years ago today, I married my Sweetheart.
I was always told by my parents and other mentors that the second-most important decision you will ever make is who you decide to spend the rest of your life with. They said that this one decision will have far-reaching consequences (hopefully good ones) for the rest of your life. And having been married just four years, I can say they were right.
What’s being married like?
1. It’s the greatest fun.
Imagine your best friend – the person who gets you, knows you, has heard your secrets, gets the references you think of – and then imagine your crush – the person who excites you, the one you can’t stop looking at and thinking about. Marriage is like combining your best friend and your crush into the same person then being with that person all the time.
I’ve loved all the fun we’ve had together. Sometimes we really go and do something fun, but usually it’s finding fun in everyday things with the person you love. And the ability to laugh at yourselves is huge in marriage, especially when it’s 2:30 in the morning and you’re changing your newborn’s diaper only to find he’s not done yet.
2. It’s the hardest work.
One of the biggest duh moments after being married six months was, “This is hard work!” I realized that while at work, I have to maintain self-control, be kind, converse, and not just veg out in front of my computer. But after all that I could go home and not care about anyone but myself.
But after getting married, there was another person in that home situation. I had to still be sensitive, still care about someone else’s feelings, still not just be a selfish jerk. That’s around the clock. It can be tiring. Sometimes at the end of the day, all you wanna do is not talk to another human being, watch some classic UFC fights, and be selfish for a while. But then you get home and you realize that she might’ve had a rough day too or needs help with something around the house. That’s when you gotta get out of lazy-selfish-bum mode and kick back into love-of-her-life mode.
3. It’s the most fulfilling work.
Hard work is a gift from God. And one of the blessings it brings is a sense of fulfillment. Whether it’s a great day at the office, a great day meeting with people and seeing their lives change, a tiring workout, a fulfilling mountain climb – finishing hard work is always fulfilling.
But nothing is more fulfilling than the work that I put into my marriage. Seeing our relationship improve, watching this woman blossom into God’s best for her, enjoying more and more about each other, and now having a son – an actual offshoot of our love and hard work – all of these things make every moment of self-sacrifice worth it. Whenever I get petty, selfish, small-minded, proud, unreasonable, etc. etc., I just have to think of all the work we’ve put into this already and it soon becomes clear what we need to do.
4. It’s the greatest revealer of character.
I’ve been a good kid most of my life. Then after college I became a pastor. So pretty much above average in terms of perceived goodness. But now that I’m married, I constantly see how flawed I am. Carla knows how much I can be petty – making a big deal about a small issue in order to have something to stick to her, arrogant – refusing to admit I’m wrong, short-tempered – able to snap over the smallest things, and the list goes on.Warning: Don’t marry someone who seems just perfect because they will quickly disappoint you. Warning: Don’t marry someone who thinks you’re perfect because you will quickly disappoint them.
Amazingly, this kind of vulnerability and exposure can increase love. Because when Carla loves me despite what I’m acting like at the moment, I realize how blessed I am to be married to her.
5. It’s the most available application to trust the Gospel.
Every single day is an opportunity to believe in the work that God is doing in this person. When you just know that Jesus is actively working in this person’s life – changing her, smoothening the rough patches between you two, and bringing out the best in her – you can look past the present no matter how dark it is because you know it just gets better from here.
I knew there were so many great things about Carla when I married her. But in the past four years, God has just brought out of her more and more great characteristics; it’s like my own never ending buffet. More beautiful, more godly, more intelligent, more sweet, more kind, more Christ-like every day.
Happy Anniversary, Sweetheart!
Thank you, God, for the ability you’ve given us to love like You love us. Without You, our marriage would be dead and miserable. But with You it’s the best thing ever. Thank you for loving us first so we can love you back and love each other.