Love Your Spouse Challenge

There has been a “Love Your Spouse Challenge” going around on Facebook recently. The challenge is to share pictures of your spouse for 7 days along with reasons why you love the other person. To keep the challenge going, you are supposed to tag two people each day to accept the challenge.

I think it is a wonderful idea (always!) to celebrate love and marriage. With all of the marriages and relationships that are falling apart in our society, it seems like it is even more crucial to celebrate the ones that stay together.

I could easily do this challenge and tell you many reasons why I love my husband. He is wise, humble, gentle and kind. He takes care of our family, teaches our kids from an amazing store of knowledge, makes memories with us, and encourages us to live life to the full. He supports my dreams and encourages me to do what I love to do. He spends time with me, invites me to do ministry with him, prays with us and leads our family.

And while I love all of these things about him, the truth about our marriage is that I don’t stay in this relationship because he is an amazing man. Sometimes he isn’t. He’s not perfect. I’m not either. There are times when we don’t communicate well and we get frustrated with each other. We both like to sleep and there are times when we want the other person to deal with the night time kid (or puppy!) stuff. We are selfish individuals and sometimes often this affects how we treat each other.

But we knew before we made the commitment to marry each other that our relationship would not be based on how much we feel like we love the other person. We knew this wouldn’t be enough to sustain a relationship. Instead, our marriage needed to be based on the love that God has for us- the unconditional, always and forever love. This would mean that when the other person was not living up to our expectations, we would still have to do the hard work of loving them. It would mean that the grace that God has poured out into our lives as individuals would have to be poured out on each other in those moments when we wouldn’t deserve love.

This has been so freeing for our relationship and is the major reason why our love for each other is so strong. We understand that we will not always meet each other’s expectations. We will fail. We will disappoint. But since our love isn’t based on how amazing WE are, but instead on how amazing GOD is, when we mess up, we don’t have to worry that the other person will walk out on us. Our failures are an opportunity to show grace to each other and in so doing, bring glory to God.

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Recently, my kids were playing on a playground and my oldest son was on a seesaw (teeter totter?) with my youngest daughter. I didn’t get any pictures, because I was too concerned that her little body would fly off! But as I watched, I saw my son adjust his strength in order to make sure she didn’t fall.

It struck me that this is a beautiful picture of marriage. You can’t enjoy a seesaw alone. You need two people to make it work, but if one is only concerned with pushing as hard as they can in order to get what they want out of the ride, it is likely that they will knock the other person off the seesaw. Instead, both individuals need to adjust in order to make sure they are balanced and pushing in a way that is comfortable for both individuals.

In marriage, each partner must adjust to the other person. Sometimes one partner will be weak and the other one needs to be strong. The strength of the marriage is in direct correlation to how each person is valuing and respecting the other partner.

I love my husband, not because of what he does for me (even though he truly is amazing!), but because of how Jesus has loved me. When Dave fails me or doesn’t live up to my expectations, I choose to remember that Jesus gave his very life for me, so that I wouldn’t have to pay the penalty for my sin. When I remember this, how can I hold my husband’s wrongs against him? I am so grateful that he chooses to see me in the same light. He shows grace and forgiveness to me when I desperately need it.

As a result, I am madly in love with this man who has been my best friend for 20 years. I am accepting the “Love Your Spouse Challenge”, but am choosing to do it on my blog instead of Facebook. I want to make sure that those who take the time to read my words will truly understand that our desire in loving each other is always to bring glory to God.

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Dave and I met in college at Moody Bible Institute and graduated together a month before we got married. We fell in love while studying the Bible, theology and ministry and these things continue to be a foundational part of our marriage.

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My Daddy walked me down the aisle and officiated the ceremony as I pledged my life and my love to my husband. I didn’t know that one day Dave would be preaching every Sunday like my Daddy did, but I am so grateful that my husband honors my Dad’s memory in the way he faithfully pursues Christ. I always thought that I would never marry a pastor, but I am so grateful that God’s plans are different than mine!

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Dave makes me laugh. It’s one of my favorite things about him.

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He has given me these four blessings and still considers me to be his treasure. My heart is full.

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We have had the opportunity to go to some amazing places together. Here we are in Nicaragua before we kayaked on the lake behind us that was in a volcano. Making memories with my husband is one of the best things in my life!

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With all of the changes that life has brought, all of the difficulties, all of the joys, it is an incredible thing to look in this man’s eyes and see my love for him reflected back to me!

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Dave,

When I think of all of the ways our lives have been blessed, it is overwhelming to me. You told me before we were married that if I was determined to rely on God and not give up, then your love would be enough. This has proved true and I am so grateful for this. Thank you for loving me. Thank you for wanting to love me more.

I love you!

Becky

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If you have made it through this post, consider yourself challenged to do the same. Let’s celebrate marriage! It is worth celebrating!!

 

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