Dear Child of Mine,
Over the past decade together, your mommy and daddy have done a lot of growing up. Life experiences force growth and pruning and newness we didn’t know possible, and yet the results sometimes go unnoticed. It’s like watching a flower grow. You plant the seed, you watch the green seedling push its way through the soil. You notice its increasing height, the leaves forming. And soon, somehow, as if you hadn’t been watching, it’s tall and hearty and blossoming beautifully.
That’s what has happened to Kevin and I in the years since we just 17 and 18, high school graduates, college freshmen, new love birds. The look in our eyes speaks of smitten admiration, purest joy, sincere commitment. We were children, really. Mature, yes. But still children. We hadn’t yet bought our own toilet paper, chosen a life insurance policy, settled into a home, decided which side of the bed to sleep on. Yes, we’d stay up late talking about our dreams for the future, contemplating marriage, watching moves like Hitch and Tommy Boy and The Sandlot. Yes, we even discussed (and sometimes argued) theology and the age of the earth and the reasons to go to church. We learned how to let one another be an individual, doing things separately, not having to be a “couple” all the time.
More than anything those 4 years of college dating left us deeply in love and certainly a little (or a lot) smitten.
And now, six and a half years into marriage, I look at him like this. My eyes tell of an unspeakable depth, fervent commitment, and unabashed respect. There’s a decade worth of experiences, of church ministry together, of arguments and debates, of lingering kisses and long walks, of dreams faltered, and God’s faithfulness acknowledged. The look of contentment shines, a steadfast covenant of marriage. We can share an entire conversation with just a look; flowery words of “love you forever” now superseded by the day-in-and-day-out faithfulness of a husband and a wife.
I liked us then, the joyful looks we exchanged after 11 months of dating.
But I’m so thankful for now, the time-tested foundation formed after 10 years.
Whatever you do, Child, don’t forget that your Daddy and Mommy are always going to be working on their marriage, to be more unified, more respectful, more loving – more like Christ – than we were yesterday.
PS – I want to thank our good friend, Amanda, for selecting these photos (largely due to those glances exchanged) as poster-sized portraits we now hang in our bedroom. Thanks, Amanda, for noticing the difference a decade can make.
PPS – Another thank you to Brittney for taking our photo (this and many others) in college, and to Dad Eccles for capturing this moment at ordination service in May 2014.