I walked in from a long day at The Barn to the smell of dinner and to my husband standing over the stove making dinner.
I had to smile at the sight of him flipping through the binder of recipes he’d put together the week before. He was not only cooking dinner, he had also done all the grocery shopping and meal planning.
My Lord, is there anything sexier?
It’s a new season in our house where we are taking turns with who is working from home and who’s at the Mercy House barn, while I work on another writing project and we juggle family, travel and work. At the start to the New Year, I was feeling overwhelmed and Terrell asked how he could help and I pointed to the kitchen table, pantry and refrigerator.
Dinner was delicious and I had to bite my tongue at how many times he asked if we liked it. Mostly because he sounded like me.
He winked at me from across the table and opened our Advent book. Yes, it was the second week of February, and we may be late to the party, but we aren’t quitters.
During dinner, I kept thinking about a quote I’d read by Francis Chan that day, “Many people will tell you to focus on your marriage, to focus on each other; but we discovered that focusing on God’s mission made our marriage amazing.”
While we put away dishes, he grabbed his (adorable) white recipe binder and said, “I wanted to ask you about a couple of meals I was planning to make sure they sound good to you.”
I put my hand on his chest and shushed him, “Honey, anything I don’t have to cook sounds amazing.”
Terrell needed to run back to the store for a couple of things he’d forgotten. I ran after him and caught him at the backdoor and put my hand on his arm. “Hey…”
“Yeah?” he said.
All of a sudden, I felt a little shy at what I wanted to say, “I just wanted to say thank you. I, mean, dinner was great and it’s so nice for you to take care of it all right now, but what I really want to say is thank you for unleashing me.”
He closed the door and leaned against it. This was going to take some explaining.
So, right there in the laundry room, I said, “Thank you for accepting me for who I am. I know I can be a lot to handle and I take on too much.”
He smiled and nodded.
“But you don’t just support my crazy passionate ideas, you challenge me to go after them. I think the temptation for a lot of men would be to hold wives like me back, but you don’t. You unleash me. And I just wanted to thank you. Because pursuing God’s mission together has made us a pretty amazing team.”
He kissed the top of my head and drove off with this grocery list.
I stayed in the laundry room for a minute and thought about the last 22 years with this man. There have been devastating years and delightful ones. We have hit rock bottom and stood on mountaintops. We’ve learned that Marriage is not a quick sprint, it’s a slow, long, and sometimes painful marathon.
But something really unexpected happened in our marriage when we stopped focusing so much on trying to meet each others needs and instead directed all that energy to pursing what God had for our family. It drew us together. Closer, stronger, better. And for us, this is the heart of marriage.
So, today, friends, whether your marriage is having its best day or its worst, move closer to God. It might just move you to closer to each other.
Today’s devotion is in partnership with Revell Books. On Valentine’s Day, The Heart of Marriage, a collection of stories that celebrate the adventure of life together releases. You’ll find some touching stories (a few of my own) inside. The best marriages are not necessarily the most perfect and picturesque. Marriage is about walking together through all of life’s ups and downs, its challenges and triumphs. And no relationship offers more chances for personal and spiritual growth, love and support, and just plain fun. Get your copy here.