This coming Thursday, my husband and I will celebrate our fifth anniversary. Officially out of newlywed territory, although we have felt like veterans for most of our time as husband and wife. We had our first baby just two months shy of our first anniversary. We feel like old pros sometimes.
See, we’ve covered a lot of miles in these five years together. We have lived at six different addresses, had two unexpected pregnancies, three babies 18 months apart, job loss, career transitions, a few different church options, buying and selling and buying our homes. We’ve found our groove: we watch Bob’s Burgers every night to fall asleep. We binge watch Stranger Things and Parks and Rec, we discuss politics, movies, books, sports, theology. We have our favorite meals, our favorite shops, our routine, our way of doing things. These seemingly mundane things are one of the biggest blessings of marriage.
At the beginning of our story, Ryan found my blog that I had been writing on for years. Letters to my future husband about the life I wanted us to live and the experiences I wanted us to have. I made promises to him before I had ever met him. And those posts compelled Ryan to want to get to know me. And less than a year later, he used my own words to write a song to ask me to marry him. I looked over that blog last week to see if I had held up my own expectations. And this is what I learned.
I learned that a young twenty-something girl might have grandiose ideas of marriage, but that doesn’t mean she’s creating a fantasy. I promised so many things to Ryan before I met him, but I still knew who I was and who I wanted to be as a wife. I promised to always flirt with him, and I still do to this day. I promised to give grace again and again, and I asked him to do the same. And I married well, so excess grace is exactly what I receive.
It wasn’t a premonition that made me hit the nail on the head so directly. I don’t force Ryan and my marriage to reflect something it’s not.
What did I do right?
I married a man who loves Jesus.
See, when a man loves Jesus, he is aware of his brokenness and his need for a Savior, and that makes all the difference. When a man has committed his life to Christ, he has laid down his self and taken up selflessness. When a man is running after Jesus, he will hold his life next to Christ’s and attempt to imitate Him as closely as possible.
The best thing about my husband is his love for Our King. He loves the Lord, loves to learn about His character. He loves to be challenged to love like Jesus did, even when it’s difficult or unexpected. I’ve never once seen my husband look down his nose at anyone or anything. He is not above anything. I married well above my pay-grade, this I well know.
So this week of our anniversary, I have one short little letter to write to my husband, and I’ll keep it simple.
To my forever husband,
Now that I know it was you all along, I can see the story God was writing for me nearly a decade ago. I am so proud to be your wife. I love being your best friend. Making you laugh is my daily goal. And you make me laugh so much more than I anticipated.
I always thought of the kind of wife I wanted to be, and I made that known through my writing. I hope I have exceeded those vows and I hope I make you proud to be my husband.
I am so thankful for how you love the Lord and the ways that has blessed our family through our years together. When I see you love our kids, I fall even more in love with you. When I see you react with grace toward me and the mangled messes I make, I see Jesus. Thank you for changing me, sanctifying me, never just tolerating me, but diving in with me to make me more like our Savior.
I have no more lofty goals for us; we’ve crushed them all. This marriage thing, baby, we crushed it. And I’m so thankful it was you all along.