Today I have been married for 11 years. It’s been the most believable ride of my life…. I can look back and now and say that it is obvious that God has been with my wife Cortni and I the whole time. There were really good times, really bad times…. and everything in between. We have 2 beautiful children named Avery and Haven that have made our lives a million times more fun and though they have a tendency to wear us out… there is no doubt in my mind that my children are an amazing gift from God. Today is a special day and right now I am on an airplane flying to Kansas City, while my wife and 2 children are on the bus headed to Buffalo, NY for a day in a water park together. Which I begs the question… what the heck am I doing? Leaving my wife on our anniversary. That question brought me to a better question… how did I end up with such an amazing, gracious wife who would put up with all of my junk?? That’s where the idea for this blog came from:
How did I know that I wanted to marry Cortni??
I watched her. The first time I ever saw Cortni I knew there was something different about her… she had no ego at all. She was playing volleyball at a church picnic with a bunch of youth and, as I remember it, she was focused 100% on them. Laughing at herself, making jokes about herself…. she was the life of the party and she wasn’t even trying. Before I ever laid eyes on her, her reputation had already preceded her. Everyone at the church was talking about who she was, how cool she was, and how excited they were to have her as the churches summer youth intern. The first day I met her I knew full well that I was in trouble if she was half as perfect as she seemed. But that wasn’t enough for me. So I watched her even more. I watched her serve the youth of our church without regard for herself. I watched her take them to the beach and then in spite of the fact that she was a dancer and was pretty much PERFECT on the eyes, she was modest and always wore a T-shirt over her bathing suit…. yeah it seemed weird to me then too, but I’m thankful for it now. I remember that she served the homeless… she led bible studies… she made me feel really insecure when it came to my relationship with Christ… mostly because she was so strong. The more I watched the more I knew that she was everything I could dream of… and then I really wondered for the first time in my life… am I a good enough man for a girl like her?? Then my prayers came simply to this…. “God if you’ll let me have just 1 chance with this girl, I promise I will never mess it up”. So I prayed that while I served along side of her for a whole summer. Over time our relationship grew out of a service to the Lord… that was the basis for our relationship. That basis has served us really well through the years. But if I could boil it down to just a few characteristics that made it obvious that I should marry Cortni I would say this:
She saw other peoples weaknesses and loved them any way. When the option was available and just to be angry with someone she always leaned toward mercy… which as it turns out has saved my tail a thousand times since we first started dating almost 14 years ago
She always had an unbelievable confidence in God, His provision, and His plans. When I would falter… she would not. When I would lose faith, she would turn to the Word and remind me who He was (as it turns out, this has saved my tail a thousand times as well) She has always been confident enough to let me lead our marriage even though we both know she was the stronger of the two of us.
Cortni always had this unbelievable mother like quality to her. This became obvious when I had my face shattered in a basketball incident at NC State. This loving, nurturing attitude is what sealed the deal. I knew it was hard for her to look at my face when it was swollen and bleeding and cut, but she did it anyway and she tended my wounds with a tenderness that only an angel could possess.
I’ve never known anyone more focused on serving others on the planet than Cortni. She doesn’t have a BLOG to talk about all the “great” things she’s doing for the world, because she’s busier DOING them than talking about them. My wife is not a self promoter… though she could absolutely dwarf many people, including me, with her accomplishments. You guys will never know about them, but I promise if you get close enough to her, you will feel what I’m telling you now. She LOVE’s people with a selfless love and she will receive her crowns in Heaven. I have no doubt that I will even be blown away by the things she never told me she did.
She is not a talker… You will not hear her bash another person who she is having a dispute with, (which again has really helped me out again) on twitter, facebook, or in person for that matter. She doesn’t have a dispute with me and then go talking about how horrible her husband is to all her friends… nope she calms down and then comes to me to talk it out ( and I always figure out that I was a moron!! haha) By the way that whole talking to other people about your spouses failures only breeds more of the same from them… before long you have 10 angry wives/husbands telling their stories which only breeds more and more frustration. Stay out of that… that is a marriage killer.
There was always a resolve in her to see things through no matter how hard it got. In everything she does, she WILL NOT QUIT. She finishes what she begins, and that quality may be the only thing that we shared when we began our marriage 11 years ago.
My one good quality !! She knew I was dead set that we would make our marriage work till death do us part. I didn’t say “we’ll see” when we got married, I said “I do” and I meant it. I was dead set that I’d stay by her side until I breathed my last breath, and that I would always do my best to provide for her and our family. Every other quality that she had…. I didn’t. I was the polar opposite to her in every other quality… Prideful, Arrogant, strong willed, big mouthed, selfish…. but there is good news for those of you out there like me. WE CAN CHANGE!!! I am so thankful for my beautiful wife and our wonderful family…. and I guess if I was writing this blog for anything I would admit that it is to let my wife know how much I adore her.
But in a world where the divorce rate is just as high in the church as it is in the secular world I wonder…. what if we actually looked for these Godly characteristics in the people we loved? What if instead of diving into a marriage with a person based solely on infatuation we decided that we would begin to challenge status quo and build these characteristics in ourselves and the one we hope to spend our lives with. If you’re already married to someone who doesn’t display these characteristics get on your knees and pray for them. Pray that God will soften their hearts to His calling on their lives and remember… they can change! That’s what the past 11 years have been for Cortni and I. She’s just been whittling away every day, challenging me in ways that you can’t imagine. Daring me to cry…. challenging me to love… holding me accountable to the word of God, in short, making me a better man. You want to know if you’re supposed to marry the person you’re dating??? Do they make you a better man or woman of God? There’s your answer… that’s what 11 years have taught me. I’m thankful today, and I hope today finds you thankful as well.