The wonderful drawing was done by none other than my lovely wife. She drew it on a card that she gave to me on our one year anniversary and at that time she was six months pregnant and I was two weeks post op after having had ACL reconstruction. Looking back at this image made me think about a few things about marriage, not that I am at all the authority on marriage nor do I have years of experience and wisdom under my belt, but I wanted to share what I've learned in the last year for anyone who would care to read.
1) Marriage isn't about me or her, its about us. What do I mean? Well its about living for one another, living sacrificially, always trying to serve each other and outdoing one another in acts of service that come from a deep love that you have for the other person. John 15:13 says, "Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends." The love of which Jesus speaks is one that does not seek what it can get out of the other person, but rather loves them in spite of themselves and at all times.
2) Marriage will make you do things that you never thought you could do. I remember back in February Brooke got really sick with the stomach flu and I had to rush her to the ER. I stayed up all night next to her and didn't have a bite to eat, something that I normally can not do, but at that moment in time all I cared about was making sure she was okay and if that meant I didn't eat or sleep then so be it, she was the most important person in the world to me. On the flip side she was at my side every second of the day for the first four days after I had knee surgery. When it was 4:00am and I needed help getting up from the couch she was there. When it was 2:00am and I was in excruciating pain and just wanted someone to talk to to help me get my mind off the pain, she was there. Marriage is a covenant and we promised each other that we would be there in sickness and in health. Both these experiences were some of the most trying times in our marriage as far as sickness goes and they helped to bring us even closer together and if possible my love for her grew even more.
3) Words have a lot of power and what you say can make a world of difference. This is something that I've learned, sometimes the hard way. You have to be incredibly careful with your words and not be flippant in what you say even if it is just in a joking manner. Something that you said as a joke can really hurt your spouse. On the flip side something you say can really build up your spouse. 1 Thessalonians 5:11 says, "Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing." It makes the world of difference to tell your spouse how much you love them for no reason or to tell your wife how lovely or beautiful she looks.
4) It's all in the details. What do I mean? Planning something nice for your spouse can make them so happy. Doesn't have to be something super elaborate, it could just be cooking dinner or planning a date and taking them somewhere you know they love. But planning is definitely a big part of it, something I'm slowly learning since I am not a planner, I'm more of the let's just wing it type. But knowing that I plan something makes my wife incredibly happy.
5) Make time for just the two of you. Our lives are incredibly hectic and we are busy beyond what any human should be. But you should take time for just the two of you. My wife and I are lucky enough to be off Mondays and we typically like to spend that day just the two of us, we'll sleep in, get up and sometimes we'll go get brunch and just talk about whatever and enjoy each other's company. For a while we were going on breakfast dates that consisted of getting bacon egg and cheese sandwiches and going to the movies before noon, those are some of the greatest memories I have because it was such a fun morning.
That is pretty much all I have to write about marriage, it's such a wonderful thing and I encourage all you men that are in relationships with great women to make sure that you wife her up, and soon! If you have a good thing why let it go? I have a few friends that are getting married in the next year and I couldn't more excited and happy for them. Hopefully what I've written here is some good insight for your upcoming marriages.