Sunday, Katie and I celebrated 12 years of being married. It is hard to believe that the cute girl I met on a soccer field in Toronto, Canada in 1995 is my wife. I am blessed beyond measure.
This year after preaching a lot on legacy to Revolution Church I sat down and thought through 5 things I want Katie to say about me after 50 years. One thing I am convinced of is that nothing great happens without intentionality. I’m not going to magically become a great husband or father. Our marriage isn’t going to accidentally be great.
Here’s something I want to challenge you with, which is where this came from. If you make it to 50 years of marriage, you’ll probably have a big party. It is becoming so rare to make it that long. But if you do (and I hope you do), you will probably renew your vows or say something to your spouse. What will they say to you in that moment? I thought about what I would like Katie to say to me and wrote them down.
Here they are:
- I’m more like Jesus because of you. According to Ephesians 5, a husband is to wash his wife in the word of God, he is to pastor her, to disciple her, to give her space to grow in her relationship with Jesus and become who God has called her to be. Many women face an up hill battle because of past hurts, past relationships, possible abuse and then as they walk into marriage with their junk, they marry a man with a ton of junk of his own. It is hard to move past this and become free. One of my prayers for Katie has been that she would be freed from anything that would hinder her. This is God’s grace in action, but it also takes work on the part of both spouses. Daily I want to encourage her to spend time with Jesus. Getting out of the house on a regular basis to sit and journal and read her bible. To have space for Jesus to shape her and work on her heart.
- I’ve grown in my art because of you. Katie is incredibly creative, but she is also incredibly giving and will give to others at the expense of her gifts. Two years ago, we started to change this. I signed her up for a photography class, got her a camera and then this past year, upgraded all her camera and computer equipment so she could keep growing. Too many men (and I did this for years) simply take and take from their wife and never allow her to use her gifts, develop them and use her art. I love watching her art develop and use her gifts. I joke that one day she can work and I’ll retire! Seriously, it is such a joy to watch it grow and see others find value in what she does and the eye that she has for art.
- We really did have good times and hard times, but we made it through both. Marriage is a mix of good times and hard times. These times are sometimes short and sometimes long. We’ve had hard seasons of marriage and easy seasons. We will have hard and easy seasons ahead as well. Marriage is about lasting. It’s been said that the most important day of marriage is not your first day but your last. If we’ve made it to 50 years, that means we survived the celebrations and the pain. We’ve had joy and sorrow. We’ve laughed and cried together. But we made it together.
- You kept your eyes on me. Men are visual and consequently, many of the sins that entangle them stem from their eyes. I want Katie to look at me 50 years from now and say, “You kept your eyes on me. You were fascinated by me. You are entranced by me.” This is a daily choice that a husband makes. This a choice he makes as he watches a movie, gets on the internet, watches a football game when they cheerleaders come in. This is a minute by minute decision that men make. I’ve never heard a man who stayed pure, fought an addiction to porn, fought to keep his eyes for his wife, I’ve never heard that man say, “I missed out.” I’ve heard countless men who won’t fight their porn addiction, let the eyes linger on a swimsuit issue or victoria’s secret magazine say, “I have regrets. I wish I did things differently.”
- I’m ready for 50 more years. I hope that when we celebrate our 50th anniversary (as I’m 72 and she’s 70) that she looks at me and says, “Let’s do 50 more.” The true test of a marriage is if the couple would do it all over again. Sure they’d like to take back conversations, financial decisions, job changes or arguments, but can they look at each other and say, “I’d say yes to you all over again.” If Katie will look at me (I’m probably bald and still doing 72 year old crossfit) and say, “I’d marry you again, you oldie but goodie.” I’ll take it.