The following is a letter My Bride wrote me on New Year’s Eve. It’s something I hold very dear.
As I sit and think about the New Year that is coming, I am filled with hope and excitement to see what it holds. I am so ready to leave the year of 2013. Looking back upon it, the main feelings I had were those of fear, anxiety, stress, sorrow, uncertainty, exhaustion, and so many more negative thoughts. I will never overlook the good things that happened in 2013, but the bad certainly overwhelms the good. Almost from day one, we experienced so many tough circumstances. If it was negative, we probably faced it. But even though they were the most trying times of our marriage (and probably of our lives!), guess what? We’re still here. We’re still together. We’ve been blessed to be entering a new year together. That alone is something to be amazed by and thankful for. If 2013 did anything for us, it taught us. A lot.
I’m looking ahead to 2014 with anxiety, but it’s a good anxiety. More like an excitement and anticipation for what God is going to do in us and through us. At the beginning of each year, we are supposed to set resolutions. I learned years ago not to do that, because I always set myself up for disappointment. However, I’m going to look at it in a different way this year. I am setting “anticipations.” These are areas in my life in which I am looking forward to watching them become better than they are in the coming year. This time next year, when I look back, I hope and pray that I see even a tiny bit of achievement in each of these areas. If that happens (WHEN that happens!), I will consider my “anticipations” to be a success. The areas in which I am looking to improve, grow and change are:
My relationship with God (and in tandem, OUR relationship with God). I want him to be the major focus of my life. When that happens in both of us, we will have no choice but to see him become our partner in marriage, making us stronger than ever before. I want to figure out my problem with going to church and make attendance a habit. I want my faith in Him to grow. I want to become more regular and deliberate in my prayer time, and I want to listen for the voice of God (and figure out what that “sounds” like).
My relationship with you—as mentioned above, my goal is for God to come first and be an ever-present factor in our relationship. It has taken us 20+ stubborn and ignorant/naïve years to figure out that we can’t do this by ourselves. We’ve got a big wonderful future ahead of us, and while I know that there will be struggles, it can be so much easier and happier if we will just let Him in and let him be a part of US. I truly believe, that with that will come the trust, respect, openness, vulnerability, and intimacy that we are both so desperately craving. With His help, I want to become everything you need (and want) me to be as your wife and best friend. In return, I look forward to you being my rock, my security and my safe place (secondary to God, of course). I look forward to us learning not to put too many expectations on each other—we are only human, and if we trust in man, we will be disappointed. As you have said before, I look forward to becoming so “ONE” with you, that our relationship shines for others to see. I would love to be able to use the pain that we have experienced to help others. What an amazing testimony to the power of God that would be.
Being a mom—always looking to improve in choices I make and examples that I set.
Our finances—we are starting the year with a clean slate. I SO do not want to be one of those people we saw at bankruptcy court coming back for a second time. We have the opportunity to do it, and do it right. We can start now doing things that we should have done 20 years ago. Giving to God, securing our future, helping our children, and becoming debt-free are some of the goals I have for our finances. I am so thankful that you have taken this on—I cannot explain the sense of security that provides for me. You are doing an awesome job—keep it up!
Exercise and health—enough said. I need to just do it.
My job—I am looking forward to the prospect of a new career. If that is not in God’s plan for this year, I pray that God will help me find a renewed sense of urgency and enthusiasm for teaching.
That’s a pretty extensive list…a lot to work on. I feel a new sense of excitement and motivation to make these things happen. Bottom line is that I love you, I am committed, and I’m looking forward to great things in 2014!
I love you!
There’s a LOT of special stuff written in that letter.
But even though they were the most trying times of our marriage (and probably of our lives!), guess what? We’re still here. We’re still together. It has been easy to lose sight of that. We HAVE been through the worst times in our lives. We thought they were over in December. Little did we know, they were just beginning.
Instead of New Years resolutions she did something entirely different.
I am setting “anticipations.” These are areas in my life in which I am looking forward to watching them become better than they are in the coming year.
That’s friggin’ brilliant. She does stuff like this, a lot.
I had forgotten how much she had spoken about her relationship, and OUR relationship, with God. I had forgotten how she wanted to make God the focal point of our marriage. There was a time around February that I thought this had not been the case. Leading up to our separation, she was very cold whenever I prayed over us. That led me to believe she had abandoned her pursuit of God.
That was seriously wrong.
When I started talking about God being the center of our marriage again, her responses to me were beyond expectation. I thought she would brush it off and ignore it. Quite the opposite took place. She embraced it and showed tremendous joy.
Here’s another thing I had forgotten.
I truly believe, that with that will come the trust, respect, openness, vulnerability, and intimacy that we are both so desperately craving. With His help, I want to become everything you need (and want) me to be as your wife and best friend. In return, I look forward to you being my rock, my security and my safe place (secondary to God, of course).
I had allowed myself to believe the lie that she no longer desired an intimate relationship with me. That ain’t true.
Apparently I forgot 99% of this letter. Here’s ANOTHER example.
As you have said before, I look forward to becoming so “ONE” with you, that our relationship shines for others to see. I would love to be able to use the pain that we have experienced to help others. What an amazing testimony to the power of God that would be.
I have been beating the drum of helping for a loooong time. I want to use our story to glorify God. I think other couples could benefit in a major ways if someone has the courage to stand up, be real and give their honest testimony.
Last, but certainly not least, is the BEST part of her letter.
Bottom line is that I love you, I am committed, and I’m looking forward to great things in 2014!
I love you
I am committed
I’m looking forward to great things
What more could a man ever want?
My Bride is 100% correct in her writings. We did go through our worst times. We did learn a lot. We must make God the focus of our relationship. We must allow Him to do the heavy lifting.
My Bride is an astonishing woman. Incredibly bright, very insightful, very wise and incredibly loving. She is correct faaaaar more than incorrect. That lady is a modern day King Solomon, only she’s a woman. It would serve her spouse well to LISTEN to what she says and take heed to her opinions.
Baby Doll, as I return to sanity, I’m looking forward to great things. I know God will take care of us. We just have to let Him.