Today is June 23, 2020. Nineteen years ago today, on June 23, 2001, my wife and I were married at a beautiful chapel in downtown Denver. We met and fell in love in college and we’ve been together ever since. Happy Anniversary honey, I love you!
My wife and I have been through a lot of suffering and trials together. From the very beginning, our marriage seemed destined to face trials and tribulations when our country was attacked just 3 months later on September 11th. Quite a start into the economy for a newly wed couple trying to make it. I was selling cars back then. Thank God that 0% financing came out after that, or we probably wouldn’t have sold any cars. My wife was still in college at the time and we lived in a small apartment outside of our University’s campus. Neither of us had celebrated our birthdays yet that year, so I was 22 and my wife was 20 the day we got married. We were young and deeply in love and we still are. Well, in love anyway. Not so young anymore.
We committed our lives, marriage, hopes, and dreams to Jesus and He is the reason we are still together today. The Lord has given us two beautiful children and we are blessed to watch them grow and live peaceful healthy lives. Even through all the pain and suffering of Celiac Disease, the Lord has held us together strong and He has never given up on us. He is a mighty God that deserves all our praise!
We have weathered every storm together and come out strong and resilient in Christ! My wife wrote a beautiful note in the card she gave me this morning. I would like to share part of what she said.
“When a tree is tested by the wind, its roots make the tree stronger so it can withstand storms. That’s our love and life together. We have been tested and tried, but have come out stronger.”
It’s so true! When I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease on 1-6-2012, it flipped our lives upside down. Our daughter was 4 and our son was not even 2 yet. I was 33. We had two small kids to raise and bills to pay, and I had just been taken out by a horrible auto-immune disorder. I couldn’t work, in fact, I could barely eat or walk. It radically changed our lives and put immense pressure on our marriage.
Jesus carried us through that fire and He strengthened and refined us like silver. He held us through all the arguments and disappointments. All the job loss and debt. All the stress and attempts by the enemy to tear us apart. Jesus held us through it all!
You don’t get to 19 years of marriage without trouble. Love takes your whole heart and marriage will prove that to you. Marriage takes sacrifice, hard work, and lots and lots of forgiveness. Believe me, you will not go far without forgiveness. Whatever trials you are going through today, let those hardships bring you together, not tear you apart. Love and forgive as Jesus loves and forgives you, and let it go. Don’t keep a record of wrongs. Move forward in love and stay strong together as one! That is what 19 years being married to the same woman I fell in love with in my youth has taught me. Hold on to Jesus together and never let go!
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.”
1 Corinthians 13:4-8
Those verses in 1 Corinthians spell out exactly how we are to love each other. That is how God loves us. We are not perfect in loving each other this way, but our marriage has survived a culture that hates the holy union between a man and a woman because our marriage has been rooted in God’s love from the beginning. You will both make mistakes in your marriage and we all need grace and forgiveness. For the newly weds out there, please don’t expect it to be perfect and be sure to give each other room to grow and do so in love.
“Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”
Tend the garden of your marriage well and fight for each other. Don’t let weeds sprout up and choke out your joy and love. Take care of those weeds right when they pop up and dig them out from the root! Stand firm together in Christ and don’t let the evil one ever get a foot hold! You truly do become one in the Spirit and you must fight back together by the power of the Holy Spirit. The evil one will try to separate you and pit you against each other. Fight for each other in Christ! Fight back through prayer, God’s Word, and putting forgiveness into action! Fight back through love!
Marriage is not easy, but I would do it all over again with the same beautiful woman I am with today and will be with for the rest of my life! She is the mother of our children, my best friend, and the woman I love, and I am forever blessed to have found her! Thank you Jesus for all you have done for us!
Grace and peace to you all!