This week, I stayed at home with our kids as you worked hard and made sacrifices so that I could. And even when you were gone, I witnessed your love for me through the way you've taught them. You can tell a lot about the way a man feels about his wife by the way he leads his kids to treat her. I am reminded of your love when our boy offers to help, when he shows respect. When he protects his sister, when he tells her she’s beautiful. I am reminded of your love when our girl says “please” and “thank you” and when she pulls my face close, pats my cheeks, and whispers she loves me.
This week, I watched you sit on a porch and share life with a neighbor. I spooned strawberry jam onto hot biscuits you baked for us in the morning. I listened to you share how you were going to admit a wrong and ask for grace from a friend. I watched you pitch baseballs to our sweaty boy and a neighbor kid and chase them around the bases in our backyard with the well-warn diamond path. We cooked a college student’s favorite dinner, and she joined in on the family Bible time and marched from Bethlehem to Moab with us, and I saw Christ fill our living room when ministry and ordinary life meet the way they should. I watched you play with our daughter and listened as laughter filled a room. I ran in the morning breeze and chatted with a sister friend and felt the breath of 30 minutes away that renewed me while you wrestled kids and wished you were still sleeping. I listened to your plans for this summer’s ministry and for next semester’s ministry. I read love notes you left me on bathroom mirrors.
This week, I grew by watching you and listening to you. I grew because you served me and taught me how to serve. I saw Jesus through you. I felt loved because of you.
This week, I thought about 10 years of marriage—of joy and of pain, of routine and of change, of laughter and of tears. I thought of Birmingham’s green hills, Georgia’s trees all hanging low, and of Texas sunsets in spaces wide; I thought of family lost and grief shared and family gained and joy multiplied. I thought of our first apartment, our first rented house, our first home purchased (and the three other places in between). I thought of seminary graduation and celebrating a job and packing up our things and driving half way across the country. I thought of holding our first-born in our arms, of exhausting nights, and of the blessing of that first smile. I thought of your arm tight around me as we kissed our second-born good-bye and watched them wheel her back for heart surgery just six days new to the world. I thought of sitting at our dinning room table with damp faces as we saw our third child’s huge dark eyes for the first time. I thought of hurts unspeakable and joys unimaginable, and I thought of how I shared all of that with you: The man of steadiness and strength and wisdom and conviction that I respect and love. The man who loves me wholly and sacrificially the way our Father designed, like Christ loved the Church.
This week, I laughed with you, tickled kids with you, talked with you, held hands with you, washed dishes beside you, discussed books with you, listened to music with you, dreamed with you, read the Word with you, worked beside you, and kneeled to pray with you.
And next week, we’ll do it all over again.
And I couldn’t be happier about it.
Happy Anniversary, my love.