Today my wife and I celebrate 18 blessed years of marriage. 18 years? It seems impossible it has been that long. It seems impossible it has been that short. Our wedding day seems like yesterday, and yet I cannot imagine that I ever lived a life without her. Even those years that I know were before I met her, it is as if she had been there; as I have shared my past with her over the years, she has become a part of it.
For this reason a man shall leave (his) father and (his) mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.
People who aren’t married – and I dare say many who are – really don’t understand the reality and truth behind this most familiar bible quote. Of course there is the physical aspect of that, and our four children are miraculous manifestations of our love. There is also a more subtle, and perhaps more profound aspect of this becoming one.
As we progress in our marriage – as we progress in our understanding of love – our marriage ceases to be a story of “how she makes me feel” or “how happy he makes me”. The “I” in our story fades, and the “we” takes its rightful place. As we give up our selfishness (a lifelong struggle, no doubt!), life ceases to be a negotiation between partners. We begin to make decisions and live our life as a unit, and that unit is family. It is so hard to describe, but it is a beautiful thing.
In the last 18 years we have seen the most exhilarating highs and the most devastating lows. There were times when we did not think our marriage would survive. Thanks to God’s grace, we were able to learn from those times what marriage and love really are about.
The greatest gift my wife ever gave me was to be a lighthouse, leading me toward God. Throughout my faith journey, she has remained my lighthouse. Even beyond that, I have a lifetime of debt owed to this beautiful woman. She has forgiven me more than any man deserves. She has walked with me through the fires. She has rejoiced with me at every success. And she has suffered to bring forth my four beautiful children.
Eighteen years have passed like a sigh. I wish I could live them again, the good and the bad. But most of all, I look forward to the years to come. Thank you Cheryl.