To Our Loves,
As your Dad and I celebrate our 24th wedding anniversary, I hope you have witnessed a growing, deep love. It’s hard to believe we are at 24…..next year is 25 and we will be celebrating in fine style! But until then….
Your Dad and I met in 1988. I know it seems so very long ago. We married in 1991 while we were young and full of dreams. I suggest you marry when your heart is full of love and bright with dreams. Young love can be challenging, and I often say older is probably better. But, here’s what I know, your dreams grow together and you figure out life with someone close by your side when you start out younger. Life is good in pairs. That may not work out for you exactly like that, but if your heart is open, your head is solidly on your shoulders and feet are firmly planted on the ground, run through this life together. You won’t have all the money you need (and money is really good!), but God will provide if you listen closely to Him.
You will never find the “perfect” Mr. or Mrs. Right. Everyone has flaws. You have to decide what you can live with and what is non-negotiable. Nobody you love will be perfect. Absolutely nobody. So, if you find love and depth of character, decide whether you can live this life without them. Some flaws are obviously worse than others. Run! Run, like the wind! But, you know I have taught you, they need to love Jesus, serve Him and love their family. Of course, each of you have things you love and desire and things that won’t fly. Listen to your heart! My sweet girl, if you can find someone like your Daddy, you will be a woman most blessed. My strong men, I hope in some way I have shown you what a Jesus-loving wife should represent.
Love hits bumps and gets bruises. The real beauty comes from walking out whatever life has to throw at you. Not running away. It’s the living out grace and faith through the rough patches. It isn’t always pretty or easy, but marriage isn’t just about you. The other person doesn’t complete you—you are whole just as you are. One goal of marriage is to help your Love fulfill their dreams. And together, if you both do that, you will achieve more than you ever could on your own.
As you journey together, you will change and grow. So will the Love of your life. That is good. When you are Jesus followers, He will change you and grow you. So, encourage them to grow. Life is a journey; and, no, you will not know what you or your Love will look like 24 years from the day you walk down the aisle. But, if you open your hearts and journey together, you come out on the other side even better than when you started out.
Our journey has been filled with so much fun! Trips to Walt Disney World, the Rocky Mountains and the Grand Canyon. Trips to the ocean and visits to opposite coasts. Trips to other countries and close to home. So many fabulous memories! Life is what you make it. Marriage is too. Don’t wait for the golden years or someday to live life. Do what you can, when you can. You aren’t promised those yonder days. Make the most of now. It may mean you have to do it with some financial finesse, but do it nonetheless.
Remember, the children don’t run the corner office! Teach them there is something out there bigger than them. They can’t survive without that! And, that, my dears, starts at home. Your marriage is first. Your Love is first. Yes, there are seasons in which the children’s activities will dominate the schedule. But, remember your love comes first. Do what you can, when you can! Date nights and time and moments have to be taken. Learn your Love’s love language and do what you can to meet it. It may be a stretch for you to think outside the box of your own idea of love, but do it. Try hard! Give it all you’ve got! Children need to see their parents in love. That is when they are most secure. Oh, they will complain and be grossed out—gross them out anyway!
Many times, you will be called upon to sacrifice. That is life. Sometimes you will have to give more than you think you have to give. Many times you will have to set yourself aside for the moment and give out of yourself so your Love can have what they need. And they will have to do the same. I know this flies against the current culture. Often times you will find a godly marriage will. Many times, a godly marriage will have to go counter-culture to survive and grow. In fact, I will say, most of the time you will find yourself needing to live counter-culture to protect your family. Do it! Make the sacrifice! Your home, your family and all that is to come will depend on it.
There is so much more to say that comes from 24 years of marriage. But, I’m sure that will come in time. I wouldn’t change it for the world! Yes, I wish I had done some things differently. I wish I had loved better and understood more. But life and love is a journey. Your Dad is a great example of loving—many times I feel he has done it better than I. But, we are in it for the distance! We’ve been through a lot, but we’ve also experienced so much laughter, joy and love. I wouldn’t do this journey with anybody else.
Choose wisely, my Loves! But don’t be afraid! Love and marriage aren’t perfect, but definitely worth the effort!