When I was Seventeen, I was encouraged to write a list of 100 things I hoped for in a future spouse. Let me tell you, that was a challenge. I didn't want to be too specific, as my 17 year old self really wanted this list to work out! I wanted to give this man of my dreams a real chance at existing. I wrote things like "20. Appreciates Music" because to say "sings Broadway musical duets with me like an angel" might be a bit restrictive. Several of the items on the list were specific to him being a man of faith, integrity, having a strong commitment to and personal relationship with the Lord, etc. I did hope he would have "bright eyes", in my heart I knew that meant bright BLUE eyes. He was going to need to make me laugh and also find me humorous (when I intended to be). He was going to want to hold hands and have a big family. I managed to squeak out 100 qualities and then realized that I needed to ensure I was the kind of girl this fella would want to spend the rest of eternity with!
At some point last year, while unpacking boxes in our new home, I came across this journal of years 17 through 19 of my life. I read that list and, with a smile on my face and a tear in my eye, I reaffirmed that while he isn't perfect, Dr. B is totally perfect for me. He met the criteria of all 100 points. I was thankful for the careful way with which I wrote those line items, because it was a beautiful moment to look over at him with one of our 4 little boys, with hair on his chin, instead of his head, a few extra lines on his face and know that I truly hit the jackpot! I truly love this man so much more today than I did Seventeen years ago on our wedding day! It is cliche, but so true.
Marriage is HARD. So much compromise is expected, so much dialogue required, so many highs and lows... it is wild ride learning to live with someone in such an intimate way. But, I am thankful for the opportunity that list gave me at a young age to ponder what traits would make someone worth spending an eternity together.... because ruggedly handsome face, hot body, and great fashion sense are only 3% of the list.
Ladies and Gents, you are going to need that partner in life to be accountable to someone other than themselves. Belief that there is a HIgher power that has expectations for how one should treat others, and belief that there are consequences for breaking sacred promises is so important! Accountability is an integral part of success in ANY endeavor and marriage is definitely NO exception.
You are going to need to be a good forgiver. Taking offense is a choice. Giving someone the benefit of the doubt is a choice. Assuming you know the intent of someone else's heart is tricky and can lead to weaving a story that just isn't based in facts and leads to resentment and anger. If you are going to assume anything, assume the best and practice forgiveness!
Making time for real connection is vital! Life is so hectic in this world of instant gratification. We have forgotten how to be patient, how to be still, and how to connect with our eyes and spoken words. We are attached to our phones, tablets, and computers. We discuss important matters via email, texts, and facebook messages. I can't count the friends I've seen having serious arguments with their spouse via fast and furious texting thumbs. Ridiculous! Find time every week, at the very least, to connect as human beings. Leave the electronics out of the picture, turn your phone off, make eye contact, and open your mouths. Do you have children? Do them a favor and leave them with a fabulous babysitter! As your children see you making each other a priority, they are learning how to model successful, mutually respectful, healthy relationships. What a gift that is!
So, as I celebrate Seventeen years of marriage to Dr. B, I am thankful for the lessons we have learned and the lessons we are trying to master. I am thankful that God saw fit to put me in the right place at the right time. I appreciate the tender mercy of that one time when I had listened to the Moulin Rouge soundtrack so many times, that Dr B had his part to the medley down and I heard us make Broadway showtune harmony magic for a perfect moment (he really does have a nice voice!... I guess I could have been more specific). Here is to Seventeen-hundred more years of looking at those bright BLUE eyes and knowing there is no one else that could have made my list a reality.
Happy 17th Anniversary to the man of my dreams!