Beautiful Between

living fully in the now & not yet

After one year, this is why I REALLY love my husband

Micah makes me laugh. He cares for me better than I have ever cared for myself, better than anyone has ever cared for me. He is my complement in so many ways, sturdy and stable in the face of my deeply felt emotions.

He is more than everything I’d hoped.

There is so much I love about him:

The way his blue eyes crinkle when he smiles and I feel like I just won a prize. The way he wishes his red beard would turn all white, so we celebrate each wiry hair I call a “white stallion.”

His steady heart that sees, knows, and fully accepts me. His ridiculous sense of humor and readiness to dance. The text messages with scripture and hope and encouragement. The way he loves harder and more sacrificially than anyone I’ve ever met.

And a million other things.

But I’m not sure all that is really why I love him. Sure, it’s part, but not all. I think the real reason is this:

I love him because he’s mine.

I’m deeply aware of my blessedness in marriage. It is much easier to love someone actively laying his life down for me than someone distant or harsh.

I also know my marriage has just begun. Some still call us newlyweds. I am not naïve to the fact that, though we’ve faced significant challenges this first year, many more are sure to come. We will face loss and heartache and confusion together and there’s no way to predict what kind.

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Love that chooses

By now it’s obvious: this isn’t simply passion and affection. It’s not the fluttery excitement of chemistry, though we have that, too.

There’s not a single word for it in English that quite compares to the Greek word agape. We call it love but it’s wider, encompassing benevolence, sacrifice, and commitment.

This is love that chooses.

It’s active and dynamic. It moves through dark and sunny days just the same. It shows up and keeps showing up, long after it’s become inconvenient.

This love is “for better or worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and health.” 

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Why I really love my husband

So I love him because I’ve chosen to love him.

And he loves me because he’s chosen, as well.

In our vows, we promised to choose one another, to keep choosing one another every day for the rest of our lives. We promised to love when it’s hard and we’re hurting and we can’t find the way. We promised to belong to each other, to leave everything else and join our lives without reservation.

So when our words don’t land right and we wound one another, one of us (usually Micah) makes sure to say it:

I choose you.

Whether we hold eye contact or just hold one another, the response is always the same. “I choose you, too.”

 

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I reread my vows this morning, smiling as I came across these words:

Long before I met you, I was making vows to you.

When I was sixteen, adamant I’d never marry, a girls’ small group leader asked us to write valentines to our future husbands. I refused at first, but eventually jotted a simple note on a green, construction-paper heart.

Slowly, my heart began to open towards the idea of the man I would marry. I began to pray for him.

I read in Proverbs about marriage and being a wife: “The heart of her husband safely trusts in her; he shall have no lack of gain. She does him good and not evil all the days of her life.”

In that moment, I vowed to live so his heart could safely trust in me, even then. I vowed, to the best of my ability, to do him good all the days of my life…even those I lived long before I met him.

So I waited. Through long and lonely years, I prayed and hoped and wondered if he existed. I chose him even then.

I wrote letters, telling him about my life, hopes, hurts, and dreams. A love I couldn’t explain grew for a man I’d never met.

Maybe it sounds like a fairy tale. But it was hard work and repetitive choices. I chose to dig deep into hurt and work toward healing. I chose to learn about relationships and communication, to spend time around healthy marriages to glean their wisdom.

And I chose to remember who I wanted to become and to build my life accordingly. So when we finally met, it was a lot easier for Micah to choose me.

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All those things I love about my husband? They helped me choose him. They helped me fall into the rich and heady feelings of affection and attraction. As I grew to know him, Micah’s deeper traits — his compassion, his faithfulness, his life centered in Christ — made it obvious that he is exactly the man I had waited so many years for.

But on hard days, all the white stallions and crinkly blue eyes in the world aren’t enough.  Passion and chemistry are wonderful, but they don’t make long, beautiful marriage.

Instead, it’s the love that chooses.

Feel stuck, broken, or discontent?

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About Sarah

Hi, I'm Sarah. I love coffee, pancakes and street tacos. I'm a learner, a traveler and a creative mess. I've got a thing for redemption and seeing broken people living beautiful lives. That's the story I've lived, and the one I want for you. Let's be friends!

17 Replies

  1. So happy for you Sarah.
    And these are wise words.

    1. Thank you so much, Loretta!

  2. Andrea Stoeckel

    As a retired minister, married for close to 20 years, this are wise words for such a “newbie” to the “genre”

    1. You are so kind, Andrea. Thank you so much

  3. Janet Robinson

    Dennis and I do something similar. We say “I receive you” as God’s perfect provision for me.

  4. Beautifully written, Sarah! Thanks for sharing! May you both be blessed with many more years together.

    1. Thanks so much, Colleen!

  5. Lovely. I wish I’d read this, oh, about 30 years ago while waiting so long to meet my husband. Very encouraging words.

  6. What a great post, Sarah! I love this, “love that shows up.” Love that chooses.

  7. Yes yes yes!!! This is how my husband and I started our marriage almost 13 years ago. We got used to dismissing the negative and sarcastic comments that even Christians would make to us about marriage. But 13 years later, through “hell and high water,” by God’s grace, our marriage is thriving. So glad you took the time to share this timeless truth!

    1. Thanks for sharing that, Hannah! I love hearing your marriage is thriving <3

  8. Nom Johnson

    Beautifully written Sarah, and lovely in it’s quality. Both you and he were worth waiting for, worth praying for, worth trusting for, for a LONG time.

    I’ve been choosing my beloved partner-in-life for. . . gosh. . . 27 years and counting. That’s a LOT of choosing, believe me!

    And yes, I remember my single years, when I was praying for who-knows-who too. I wasn’t praying for us to connect (I knew God would handle that). I was praying for his faith, his heart, his life.

    I still am.
    Prayer rules. God rules. Faith rules.
    Yay!

    We couldn’t survive without these.

  9. Mary P. Nettles

    So lovely. Even for someone whose been married for 54+ years. Our marriage, unfortunately, didn’t start this way, except for one thing. We chose each other and have continued to choose each other. Thank you for putting it into words.

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