Today my wife and I celebrate 23 years of marriage. That seems like such a long time when you say it but looking back it appears as the blink of an eye.
We are past the gazing longingly into each others eyes stage. At least I am which is probably not to my credit. Twenty three years is a long time, more than half of my life. Today I as often as not see my wife out of the corner of my eye. Or hear her voice from the next room. Or just know that she is upstairs sleeping. She might never know just how comforting that is to me, how much of a desperately needed anchor that provides me. As a guy I understand that might not make much sense to a woman with their longing for more direct and overt connection but for me there is little more comforting than seeing my wife out of the corner of my eye, always there just on the periphery.
Twenty three years. Eight kids. All those moves, all those places we lived. No matter what, whenever I think back on the years gone by as I went from a haughty 20 year old who had it all figured out to the place where I am today, my wife is always there, sometimes right there in front of me but often just nearby. Regardless of the trial or the trauma she was there, even before I came to faith in Christ she was there modeling what it meant to love someone self-sacrificially. She submitted to my often deeply flawed leadership in our family long before I knew what that meant but I understand and am humbled by it now.
I do love and cherish my wife. Not as Christ loved the church, no husband has ever loved in the same way our Lord loves His Bride, but that is what I aspire to do. Our first meeting and our blossoming love was as unlikely as you could imagine but I am as certain as I am of anything that God's hand was guiding it.
Today we are in the midst of a transition of our family. Three of our kids are adults and the rest are growing up fast. Perhaps marriage for our children, children-in-law to welcome into our family and grandchildren to love are not far down the road. Whatever happens, until one of us goes home to the Lord, we will be together. She will always be there out of the corner of my eye.