Today wraps up ThanksWeek on the blog. I’ve been checking off the list of people I’m thankful for, but you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to know I’d save my favorite person on earth for last.
I married up. Everyone who knows me knows that. Outside of redemption, Merriem is the greatest gift God has ever given me. In January we’ll celebrate 20 years of marriage, but this post was penned on the 20 year anniversary of the day we met (yes, I keep up with stuff like that). This post originally appeared on January 25, 2011.
It hasn’t been a great day. A sick kid, a busted van, a missed meeting, and appointments and emails that just won’t quit have made for a very hecticbusycrazyinsane morning and afternoon.
But it’s still an awesome day.
In about two hours from now, it will be twenty years to the moment that my life changed forever. On January 25, 1991, I walked into my high school gym and saw a 5’2″ beauty with whom I’d spend the rest of my life. Two weeks ago, we celebrated our 18 year wedding anniversary, but in some ways, today is even more special.
Today represents two decades of having someone know me better than anyone else knows me. It represents two decades of loving and being loved by my best friend. It represents ups and downs and highs and lows and the fact that I’m more sure than ever that she has been among God’s greatest gifts in my life. (Jesus. Merriem. Kids. Just in case you’re keeping score.)
Twenty years ago I happened to show up at a basketball game. I wasn’t a fan, but my buddy was the team captain and had been giving me flack about never supporting the team. When I walked into that gym, I immediately spotted a girl who made my world stand still. Blonde hair. Blue eyes. Gold socks…although we’re still arguing over the presence of those socks. I swear she was wearing them. She swears I’m crazy.
Her brother was on the team, but since it was a small Christian school, he commuted in and they didn’t live in my hometown. We had spent our young lifetime a whopping 23 minutes away from each other and never knew of the other’s existence. This was in the day before cell phones and cheap long distance, so our early relationship was marked with letters. Lots and lots of letters. Letters that now fill a couple of boxes in our bedroom closet.
We were 17 years old. We were babies. And yet it was only two weeks after I met her that I knew I would marry her.
And I did.
Ten months later in the romantic surroundings of our college’s student lounge, I popped the question and gave her a chip of a diamond. We were in our first semester of our freshman year. Fourteen long months later, we walked the aisle and committed our lives to one another.
I know why I fell for her: she loved Jesus. She loved me. And she was the prettiest thing that had ever crossed my path.
And I know why I’ve stuck with her: she brings out the best in me. She wants what’s best for me. And she’s still stunningly beautiful. Even today when we’re out in public, people look at us with surprised pity. Bless her heart. She must be legally blind. Look who she married.
In a few minutes I’m meeting with a couple who will get married just a few weeks from now. We’ll talk about what it takes to have a gospel-centered marriage. And then I’ll rush home to what will undoubtedly be chaos: a feverish eight year old, uncompleted homework, an annoying dog.
But when the kid is in bed and the homework is done and the dog has collapsed on the floor, I plan for us to kick up our feet – maybe she’ll be wearing gold socks again – and talk about that cold January night two decades ago. The first twenty has been incredible. I can’t wait for the second round.