One year ago today I posted in anticipation of our wedding, and in part I wrote this to my soon-to-be-wife:
Lindsey, you have changed my life in so many ways. There was a time not too long ago when I thought I would never meet a woman that I could marry, much less a woman like you. You are a living, breathing demonstration of God’s love and grace to me. We love so many of the same things, yet are so different. I am constantly learning new things about you, and my love for you is ever-deepening.
A day like today is one of possibilities, hopes, dreams, and plans. We do not know what life holds in store for us. We could have our world changed forever by a phone call. We could experience joy and happiness for the rest of our lives, or could struggle with things we cannot imagine now. No matter what Providence brings my vows today mean the world to me. I will be with you and beside you for the rest of my days. As we have to each other many times over the last few months, there is no way out but the grave– and nothing could excite me more.
Today we now know what the first year held for us, and I echo what I said then. We do not know what God has in store for the rest of our lives, and the last year firmly confirmed that. From Lindsey’s first ever visit to the hospital, an almost fight on the high seas, and many date nights we saw what married life was really like– and we love it.
Lindsey has truly been the mark of God’s grace that I called her on that day. In fact I told my mom just the other day that Lindsey was really helping me become a better man. Honestly, I don’t mean that in the way that sit-coms joke about wives manipulating and beating their husbands into submission, I mean that she is actively helping me with the tough work of growing and maturing. That work is not done in large cuts as if by a chainsaw, but with the subtle efforts of the chisel, blade and sandpaper. She has been there every step of the way– shaping, girding and polishing.
We have turned out to be a pretty good pair. Just last night we had a conversation with friends about how well we balance each other out in different ways, and how good it has been to learn from each other. Don’t mistake me, we still have a long, LONG way to go. We have not figured this out by any stretch yet, and I don’t mean to sound like we have, but we have also come a very long way from that first day of our marriage.
I’ve also learned how hard it is to do what I vowed to do everyday. I admire men like my father and grandfathers whose marriages stood the test of time, because I now see how tough it can be. When I look at the words I wrote in anticipation of this commitment I can see now that I had a good view of what was ahead, even if it wasn’t fully understood:
I have a tough standard to live up to as a husband, I am called to love you as Christ loves His church. I will not be perfect, I will fail. I pray that our marriage will be one filled with grace and love. I pray that our relationship will strengthen even as we are weak. I pray that we overflow will love and grace for all of those around us.
I was right. It is a tough standard, and the call to love Lindsey to this degree is a tall order without the help of my God. He has shown up in many ways, both big and small. He has certainly blessed us this year, even in times of struggle and suffering. I am confident that he will continue to do so, just as he has promised.
Which brings me back to a verse in Proverbs that gives me great comfort as we look to the rest of our years together:
“The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.” -Proverbs 16:9
No matter what I seek and no matter what I want in my heart (which like all of our hearts does not always want what is good for me), I know that my Lord is is watching over me, loves, and that he will accomplish his will. That is a great, great comfort.
Happy anniversary Lindsey, I love you!!