This last weekend, Roy and I went to dinner with a friend from high school. He was in town from out of state. We hadn’t seen him since we graduated from high school, and Roy actually wondered aloud why he chose us for his dinner companions instead of some of our other classmates.
I jokingly told Roy he just wanted to see if the rumors were true—that somehow the two of us had ended up together after all these years.
Yes, it is true that a number of our high school friends expressed surprise (to put it mildly) when we started dating. Several of them voiced their concerns that our marriage wouldn’t last (we’ve made it three years!!). We are just two completely different people—and we always have been.
In high school, he was an athlete and I was the brainy kid.
In college, I was the summa cum laude graduate and he was the thank the laude graduate (after about ten years of being in college).
After our divorces, his best friend was rum and Coke and my best friend was my Lord and Savior.
Even now, we seem to be on opposite sides of most topics.
He likes blue and I like red.
He likes color in the house and I like neutrals.
He likes contemporary and I like traditional.
He likes bright light in the shower and I like subdued light.
He likes the cold and I like the heat.
He likes evening and I like morning.
He likes tv at night and I like a good book at bedtime.
He likes to be elaborate and I like simplicity.
He likes to talk and I like quiet.
We are different in so many ways, and yet it just seems to work. Why does it work? First, because God has done an amazing work in both of our lives. Roy finally chose to surrender to the Father and let God have His way. If he had not made that decision six years ago, I would be telling you a very different story.
Even with our common bond of our love for the Father, some (especially our high school friends) still wonder why I chose Roy.
Let me give you a few reasons. As you read them, I pray you will find some direction as you seek your kinsman-redeemer.
He loves deeply. I have never known anyone who loves the way Roy does. He expresses his love through words. He expresses his love through gifts. He expresses his love especially through his actions. Today, I was cooking lunch. I asked Roy to help me start the grill even though he was trying to mow the yard before the rain hit. Not only did he start my grill, but he then asked what else he needed to do. He always goes above and beyond.
He is selfless. Roy has this thing. He refuses to take the last bite of anything because he insists that I get the last bite. Doesn’t matter what it is. Dessert. Breakfast burrito. You name it. And his selflessness extends way beyond food. He is simply a selfless person that always thinks of others first.
He believes in me. Roy believes in me probably more than I believe in myself. He believes in my dreams and my visions for what I want God to do through us. He frequently reminds me that God sees and is working behind the scenes—even when I lose sight of the vision. Sometimes I have to pull from his strength just to keep going myself.
He sacrifices for me. Roy will deny himself to give me whatever I want. He rarely spends money on himself, but I have to tell him not to spend on me and the kids. And it’s not just financial. He gives of his time to make our lives better all the time. His life is about giving, and I see that every single day.
He encourages me. Roy always has encouraging words for me. I still get my “Good morning, Gorgeous” text most every morning. He is always building me up with his words. He reminds me often that he loves me and believes in me. I never have to worry about where I stand with him.
He wants what’s best for me. I was recently complaining about my job. I love my job, but this year has been beyond exhausting. As a team, we are all on the verge of burn-out, and we find ourselves becoming critical. Roy immediately began to ask if I needed to change jobs. I was in a very toxic work environment a few years ago, and he doesn’t want me back in that type of situation. He would do whatever was necessary—including work multiple jobs—to make sure I am in a good place.
He respects me. I have known for many, many years that Roy respects me. He listens to and values my advice. He treats me as treasure. When we were dating, I knew he would never do anything to hurt me. Roy shows his respect in the way he talks to me and the way he treats me each and every day. I wouldn’t trade that for anything.
He invests in me. Since Roy and I got married, he has invested in me in a number of ways. I have been to an out-of-state training for my ministry—at his insistence. He has invested in me by paying for and supporting me through my Masters program. He doesn’t just say he believes in me. He puts action behind his words.
Here’s an important point to consider: these qualities are all essential in a mate. But, unless both parties exhibit these qualities, the relationship becomes one-sided and can become toxic.
Marriage is a partnership. It requires both people looking out for the best interest of the other person. It requires both people sacrificing for the good of the other and the relationship. It requires mutual love and respect. It requires two people who are constantly looking for ways to bless each other.
My first marriage was one-sided. I have seen other relationships that were one-sided, where one party was regularly manipulating to get his/her way while the other party was always giving up his/her rights. This type of relationship is not healthy!
God gave us the prescription for a perfect marriage in Galatians 5. If we would all follow His plans, we would find such peace and joy in our relationships. Look for a partner who is walking with the Spirit.
When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God.
But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!
Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives. Galatians 5:19-25
Use the above link for some great Valentine’s Day gift ideas!
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