Today is the seventh anniversary of my husband’s and my first date. We met seven years before that. Although it did not feel like it at the time, we were just kids- only 18 years old. I was visiting a new friend who lived down the hall on the same freshman dorm floor as I did. Kristian was there. It did not take long for us to strike up a conversation, and before we knew it we were deep into conversation. In fact, the group of friends who had gathered with us eventually left us one by one because they were probably bored by us. (I can’t even tell you how many times that happened that year!) I won’t tell you what we were arguing about- let’s just say he finally came around to see things from my point of view years later (don’t tell him I told you). We could not have been more different at the time. We still are pretty different, although we have both changed tremendously since then. I know it sounds cliché to say that I love him more today than I ever have in the past, but it is true. Over the years, he has increasingly seen me at my worst as he has gotten to know me better and better, and yet he has only loved me more with more grace. When I look at him, I feel like I am witnessing a miracle- no short of Jesus turning water into wine- as I watch the ways that God has grown and gifted him. He loves God passionately and stands on the Word. He is a man who loves with loyalty, sacrifice, strength, truth, integrity, and tenderness. Protecting, providing, and teaching are very much part of who he is. He is quirky and he makes me laugh. I love so many little details about him, and I love that I know him so well. He is not perfect, but I love that he knows that- he is humble, is familiar with his weaknesses, is quick to repent, and is the first to initiate reconciliation 99% of the time we get into a fight. I have so much to learn from him.
Of all of these things though, I am most grateful for Kristian in my because of how he (and marriage in general) helps me see God. I love that marriage and spouses are not a thing to be idolized, but they are (like many things in this life) a window to see more of God. I love that marriage has a deep and important purpose that is far greater than even all the things we get to enjoy with each other. I love that in marriage we are learning who God is and how to reflect Him and His gospel. As we have walked through difficult times and conflicts together, increasingly seeing this truth has been marriage altering for us. Looking at marriage as a reflection of the gospel gives sacred meaning to practical concepts in marriage like headship, submission, love, and sacrifice. Kristian images God to me by the Holy Spirit in the way that he sacrificially loves, protects, leads me, etc. I get to do the same by the Holy Spirit in the way that I submit (sacrificially love), respect, help him, etc.
This passage of Scripture was read at our wedding, and it just gets more and more glorious to me with each passing year:
Ephesians 5:22-33 “Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands. Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body. ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’ This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband."
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