On June 11, 1988, I married the love of my life. I met Chris the summer before my freshman year of High School and we have been together since then.
To be honest, Chris and I have very little in common. I like hiking, biking, kayaking, and sun bathing on the beach. Chris likes air conditioning, watching football on TV, reading in a comfortable chair and chatting with fellow football fanatics in internet chat rooms. I like movies and read only non-fiction books. He reads fiction and rarely watches movies. I love fresh fruits and vegetables, he prefers meat preferably hot off the grill. I like lively conversations with people of all backgrounds, he prefers the silence of his own living room. The one thing we have in common is that we both believe we are right all the time!
I know this sounds like a recipe for disaster but somehow it works. In our early years of marriage, I believed that strong marriages were built by spending time together, doing things that both parties loved. I figured out pretty quickly that if that was the way to build a strong marriage, I was in big trouble.
We have both made concessions through the years. This year for our anniversary, I am buying Chris tickets to an Aggie game and he is taking me to the beach. I have learned to enjoy football in very small doses, occasionally read a fiction book that he recommends and now love meat hot off the grill. Chris has added grilled vegetables to his grilling menu, indulges my love of nature by spending time with me on our property (in the shade of course), and accompanies me during community gatherings (though he is always the first to bolt toward the door at the conclusion).
While learning to enjoy things for the sake of one’s spouse is a part of a healthy marriage, loving the same things is a far cry from loving each other.
While I love that Chris will walk with me in the woods and that he will occasionally watch a movie with me, what I love most is that he lets me be me. He accepts me just the way I am and that is not always easy.
You are not likely to see Chris paddling or peddling beside me, but he is the one who likely loaded my bike or my kayak in the truck. He is the one who sent me off with a smile and a command to “stay safe.” He is the one who will call me in the middle of a rain storm and offer to come get me.
After 27 years of marriage it’s clear we do not need to spend time together. We are both fulfilled not by another human being, but by our own inner life. What is beautiful is that after 27 years of marriage, we both still want to spend time together.
I often use the word “dream releaser” to describe my role in my ministry. I spend a lot of time asking people what they would do if they could do anything and then encourage them to do it. Chris is my “dream releaser.” I have had a lot of crazy dreams through the years and he supported me in all of them, including moving our teenage daughter into the inner city in the middle of her high school years.
We have three young adult daughters. My dream for all of them is that they find a love like ours. A love that celebrates who they are and does not try to make them conform to some worldly mold of what “a good spouse” is supposed to be, or look like, or act like. Lord knows, I never fit into that mold, even though I tried.
Our youngest daughter will be a senior next year and Chris and I have been thinking about how our life will change when we enter the “empty nester” phase of life. For the past 27 years, the girls and I have been the dreamers and Chris has been the one supporting all of us. As the last of our chicks leave the nest to follow dreams of their own, I know they will soar because of the support of their father.
The past 27 years have been a grand adventure that has taken us to some interesting places. Our dreams for the next season are a bit less bold. We dream of spending time on our property, staring up at the stars, doing the Texas two-step around the porch and simply enjoying one another’s company.
Happy Anniversary Chris! Thanks for making our crazy life together such a sweet adventure.