Mon., Aug. 27, 2018
Ecclesiastes 9:9 – Enjoy life with your dearly loved spouse all the days of your pointless life that God gives you under the sun—all the days of your pointless life—because that’s your part to play in this life and in your hard work under the sun.
Yesterday, Aug. 26, Hubby Rick and I celebrated our 18th anniversary. It was a rather low-key day, as Rick worked in the afternoon/evening. There have been years when we didn’t see each other on our anniversary. So, even having part of the day together is a win in my book.
Lately, I’ve been contemplating what a big decision it is when you choose your spouse. Seriously, I am convinced this one decision leaves a large stamp on a person’s life. During weddings that I perform as a pastor, I often say choosing your spouse is the second most important decision in your life. The first is choosing whether to include God in your live. I feel marriages combine these two decisions. As we add more anniversary years to our marriage, I am convinced this is truer than I can ever really emphasize.
Choosing your spouse influences so many other choices and decisions in your life. Who your spouse is will influence how you live, where you live, what priorities you focus on, what is considered “important” and what is considered “less important.” My spouse has affected how I view myself, our families, our friends and our marriage. I turn to my spouse for input, encouragement and a soft spot to land when things are difficult, hard and don’t go as planned.
I was in my 30’s and Hubby Rick was in his 40’s when we were married. Because this was Rick’s second marriage, I think he was more aware of what a big decision it was for us to get married. We didn’t have to get married. We chose to get married. We made this choice because we felt we would add more to our lives as a couple than we would individually. I believe we have exceeded this expectation.
Even though I was a little older and a pastor, I did not fully understand how the choice of a spouse would make such an impact on my life. Rick and I endured some challenges before we were married. His eldest son was killed in an accident seven months before we were married. Emotions tied to this were still very raw at the time of our wedding. Within the months before and after our actual wedding day, we both changed jobs, both moved a couple times and I was attending seminary. These significant events could have negatively affected our relationship long-term. Somehow, they didn’t.
Why? Because of the person whom I chose to be my spouse. When Rick and I said, “I do,” we were committed to this for the long-haul. We both knew this. Yes, there have been times when we each have had to address a difficult issue with the other. Rick and I believe God brought us together in our relationship. And we want to uphold our end of the deal.
Lately, I’ve asked a few friends whether they understood the importance of who they chose for a spouse before they were married. Nearly everyone says they were not aware. For couples who married when they were young, it was nearly impossible to understand the magnitude of this decision. They look back and feel they were lucky or fortunate to be matched with the spouse they were.
At the time we were married, had someone asked me why I was marrying Rick, I probably would have said because I loved him. This is still true today. However, my emotions towards Rick have shifted. I still believe in love. Yet, I feel some other attributes and emotions I see and feel towards Rick are more important: respect, integrity, honesty, kindness, helpfulness and being supportive. When my heart swells in admiration towards Rick, it’s not only based on love. It’s based on these other attributes as well. He makes me proud every day. I feel supported, encouraged, appreciated and valued. Rick has allowed me to explore my life call and encouraged me to focus my days on the things that are most meaningful to me.
This is what a great spouse does. This is the kind of spouse I have. This is why I am grateful for my spouse.
Certainly, there are days he drives me a little crazy, as I am sure I do the same to him. Yet, I am fortunate. I’ve found a life partner who has exceeded my expectations and adds more value to my life than I can account for. I feel extremely grateful that God brought this man into my life. I may not have known what a big decision it was on our wedding day to marry this man. With each passing year, I am more aware and more appreciative for the man I call my husband.
For this man and the decision that we should be married, I am grateful.
Lord God – somehow you brought Rick and I together. Somehow, we have established a life together that has so much more value than if we were separate. Thank you for bringing Rick into my life. I pray our marriage honors you and points people back to you. Amen.
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