Today is my wedding anniversary. Thirteen years, two babies, and four towns later, here we find ourselves in that thing we call marriage. With this yearly celebration approaching, I found myself in a reflective spot. However, that reflection was not focused on our thirteen years together. Instead, it has been focused on the years before I met my husband. The years when I would hope and dream about the man I would marry. I have been reflecting…and I have been amused. Because I was way off base about what I needed in a spouse.
When I was young I had a vision of the kind of man I wanted to marry. I never had much in the way of a physical vision, although every guy I ever dated also played college football so apparently I do have a “type.” This was more of a character vision. The man I thought would be a good fit for me was, in all glorious self-centeredness, a lot like me. I wanted a guy who was laid-back, a little silly and definitely spontaneous. I was sure that he needed to be a guy who people labeled as “sweet”, charming, and who was excited about having children. He would be quick to laugh, soft-spoken, gentle and deeply in love with me. Well, at least I got that very last part right.
I’m sharing this with you today not to tout the accolades of my husband (although I do think he is pretty fabulous). Rather, I hope to make a point about the “why” behind God putting folks together. He does not choose them only for marriage. If He did, that would only benefit you and your spouse and rarely is God that singularly focused. Marriage is designed to be a reflection of and ministry for Him and a place for us to grow into our design. So, I suspect He picks out folks who best complement that plan, not our own.
To that end, this guy I ended up with? He’s very little of what I thought I wanted and every bit of what I needed. Thank goodness.
The man God paired me with is intense, pragmatic and practical. He is deeply passionate about developing people. He has little tolerance for surface conversation, great capacity for deep discussion and refuses to meander through life. He is purposeful and intentional to the very fiber of his being and finds no greater joy than seeing people reach their potential. He is strong, capable of managing challenges and confrontation and has to be reminded to smile so that people don’t think he’s grumpy with his buzzed hair and intense eyes. And I’m sure God did this all on purpose…
Because God knew he would be a football coach and we would be a coaching family. The guy I had dreamed up would have been way too casual for this life.
Because God knew I would struggle with post-partum depression and I needed a partner who would say having kids is hard for him too so I didn’t feel so inadequate.
Because God knew I would ask repeatedly for a puppy I was allergic to and I needed someone practical enough to say no. And because our coaching ministry would later move us to a home that didn’t allow pets.
Because God knew we would almost lose a child and we would need strength and the ability to process that experience between us so we could later minister to others.
Because God knew, one day, He would call me to write and I would need someone brave enough and visionary enough to say yes to a dream with no goal or income because he believes in me.
Because. Because He knew. God knew who would be able to draw me effectively toward my own design and who would complement our ministry as a family.
Our marriages are about us and at the same time, they aren’t. They are ultimately about God. They are about the work God is doing in our individual lives and they are about how our marriages fit into the work He is doing in the world around us. No matter if you ended up with the spouse of your dreams, check in with God and see if there are ways you ended up with the spouse of His dreams.
Happy Anniversary my love. I’d choose you as my surprise every single time.