Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Celebrating 14 Years

Fourteen years ago today, Monique and I were married. On one hand, it is hard to believe that it has been that long. But on the other hand, it has passed by very quickly. I still remember May 30, 1998. I remember it being a hot day in the suburbs of Chicago. I remember that something happened to the air conditioners at the church that made them not work. It didn't bother Monique and I as we had floor fans pointed right at both of us during the service. But I'm surprised that nobody else fainted. I remember how beautiful Monique looked the first time I saw her in that classroom before the service. I remember playing video games in the groomsman room before the service. I remember the huge crowd that showed up and the hooping and hollering that took place by a bunch of the students as we were pronounced husband and wife. And I do remember the very short kiss to seal it (I wasn't much into public affection at the time, it was a fairly short peck). But most of all, I knew that day was going to be a game changer in my life.

As we were pursuing marriage, we both knew that this was a one and done moment. We were committing for life. To death do us part. I like to tell people today that there are only two options in marriage: be happy and be married or be unhappy and be married. But even in that statement (which I believe is true), I probably do not bring out the full meaning of marriage. I know I did not know it 14 years ago, and probably have only started to grasp it, but marriage is not about making me happy. It is about teaching me to give of myself fully and completely to Monique. Not giving so I get. But giving because I am called to give. That is easier on paper than it is in practice. Today I know better than I did back then, but marriage is about my holiness more than my happiness.

One of the books that I have often referenced when it comes to marriage is Each for the Other by Bryan Chapell. If you have gone through any marriage counseling with me, I probably made you read this book. I would highly recommend it. It is a book that articulates my calling as a husband is to fully, 100% give myself to my wife without expecting anything in return. I am called to love her as Christ loved the church, not expecting anything in return. I am called to sacrifice and give up of my life for her in all cases. I am called to do this regardless of whether she reciprocates. And she is called to submit to me as to the Lord. The wife is called to give of herself to her husband as if she is giving of herself to Jesus. Not expecting anything in return. Even if he does not reciprocate. And as both partners do that, not expecting anything in return, marriage works.

I so love this thought. Well, to be honest, my heart loves the thought of Monique fully giving herself to me not expecting anything in return. The other side, my side, well, that's the hard one. Fourteen years in and I realize how selfish I can be in this equation. My sinful heart longs to do things so that she will respond. It doesn't want to do things regardless of whether she responds. I guess that is why this marriage thing is about producing holiness in my life. It forces me to deal with my heart. And my guess is that in your marriage, you are forced to deal with your heart (or at least you should).

I cannot believe it has been 14 years. I cannot wait to see where God will have us in another 14 years. I pray that I will be closer to Monique. I suppose I will. I hope I will. But more than that, I hope and pray that I will be closer to Jesus through my relationship with her.

How about you in your marriage?

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