Today, May 20th, 2012 marks my 17th Anniversary! Seventeen years ago today, I stood in front of my gorgeous wife and made a vow to God and her to be her husband until death.
I am amazed I am still married all these years later! This is not because of Michele. No, no, she is the easiest person to love and live with this side of heaven. Rather, I am amazed I am still married because of the selfishness of my own heart and soul.
Far too often I come home from a day’s work and plop down with an eager expectation to be served. After all, I deserve it – that’s what they tell me on TV. I worked hard all day. Time now for me to perch on my royal reclining throne and be waited on hand and foot. God forgive me.
Now you know why I say I am amazed. It is the sheer grace of God that has enabled my wife to not just tolerate me, but to love and honor and respect me in spite of me! Truth is, some days I get the whole “love your wife as Christ loved the church and gave Himself for her” pretty right. Some days I fumble. Other days I just flop.
But, every time I am reminded of God’s high calling for me to model Jesus to Michele, and to intentionally seek to serve her and lead her and “wash her with the water of the Word” – every time that happens it is an act of God’s gracious Spirit in my life and to Him alone belong all honor, praise, glory and dominion forever.
God has made our 17 years immeasurably good. God has graced us with friends to sharpen us and love us in the gospel. God has used men and women to re-form our thinking on marriage and family and child-rearing. Time and again the Holy Spirit has broken us down “shotgun style” and re-created our minds and hearts to bend our lives to His Holy Word. Our marriage, we have come to realize, is not primarily about us!
Our marriage is ordained of God to show off His power and glory and grace in the gospel of Jesus Christ. This has made all the difference for us. God has never stopped growing us together as “one flesh.” When we have, by our own sinful stubbornness, threatened to “put asunder” what He joined together, King Jesus has swooped in to our rescue! He has slowly, patiently used Michele in my life to chip away all the rough edges that do not look like Himself. What an awesome Savior Jesus is! I see His beauty so much more clearly in my wife’s eyes now then I did even on that day when she strolled down the aisle in a white dress.
And, our precious daughters have only made our marriage stronger, more gospel-focused, more Jesus-enthralled. Do not believe the culture’s message that children “spoil” or “ruin” or “distract” you from marriage. That is Satan’s lie! God says children are His “heritage” to us (Ps 127) and that a man with a wife who is a “fruitful vine” with precious “olive shoots” around the dinner table is graced (Ps 128).
Nothing has grown us more as “one flesh” than loving our daughters together, teaching them together, correcting them together, training them together, and investing in their souls together. Our children have only served to increase our “oneness” in the gospel of Jesus Christ.
So, today to Meaghan and Keileigh I say, “You are precious gems in my eyes and I delight in you, my daughters. Your love and laughter have only made me want to love and treasure Jesus and your mommy more and more. May you always look far above your earthly Daddy to set your eyes on the Father of Lights through His Holy Son, Jesus.”
And to Michele, “You are the queen of my heart and I cannot wait to keep becoming one with you in the Lord for yet another 17 years. I love you more deeply and more truly now than ever.”
And to my Lord and Master, “What have I done to deserve such favor from Your Hand? Thank you, Precious Jesus for lavishing grace on me through my bride. I could not be the man you have called me to be apart from Your work in and through her. Thank you for helping me ‘find a good thing’ (Prov 18:22) 17 years ago. Please keep pursuing me and making me like You, that Your love for Your Bride the Church might be made known even through the likes of me.”