A blog about the life of the Balentine family: Adam, Amy, Teddy, Simon, Thomas, Peter and Goldie

Thursday, October 10, 2013

4th Wedding Anniversary

Today, Amy and I are celebrating our 4th anniversary.  I am so very thankful for our marriage.  I love my wife dearly and appreciate that she inspires me to grow every single day.  She brings me so much joy.  Her spirit truly illuminates our home.

It seems like we have been looking back and discussing where we were in our relationship prior to being married quite a bit lately.  We have also been talking about our spiritual climb toward knowing God and understanding his Word together over the past 4 years.  As I reflect on this, I tried to come up with some wisdom that has come to me through experience, listening, prayer and reading of Bible scripture.  Here are 10 things I've learned in the last 4 years.  Not an exhaustive list, or a “top” 10 list.  Just 10 things that come to mind as I fill this page.

  1. Expecting her to be the source of my happiness sets her up to fail.
  2. Speaking gossip to each other causes a slow erosion of our moral fiber.  It takes training and discipline to not gossip.
  3. People around us have gotten divorced, and will likely continue to get divorced.  It feels incredibly more personal than I would have ever imagined when this happens.  It feels like someone released poison gas into our safe little world.  All Amy and I can do is put on gas masks, grab hands and try to run out of the unsafe area together.
  4. Loving your spouse becomes way more about effort than about passion after the honeymoon phase wears off.  Reading marriage books (“The Five Love Languages,” “Love and Respect” and “The Meaning of Marriage” to name a few) certainly helped shape my expectations and prepare me for this fact.  The great news is that passion reaches new depths when you both put in the effort to love each other.  No effort = no passion.
  5. We bring our own lingering wounds into marriage.  We need to foster an environment where those wounds can heal.  Wounds leave scars that can cause painful memories.  Jesus has scars just like us, and understanding his words together fosters this environment of grace.  Through Him we are able to leave the pain behind and grow in our marriage.  Without Him, and without grace, we let those scars re-open and become infected.  The infection spreads to our relationship and drags us into isolation and selfish mending.  
  6. Selfishness is the root destruction in a relationship.
  7. Vulnerability is a foundation that sustains relationships.
  8. Your first child wants to stay an only child.  He may go at great, strategic lengths to achieve this by (a) causing a lengthy drought in the lovemaking region toward the end of pregnancy, and up to two months following pregnancy, (b) making you too sleepy to want to touch each other, (c) causing your wife to pump between 10-10:30PM when a man’s window for sex starts to slowly close with each passing minute and each rhythmic moan of the breast pump (that “window” is painted and nailed shut at 10:31PM), (d) sleeping in your hotel room during family vacations, (e) reminding you of something funny he did so you both start talking and laughing about it for 30 minutes during a romantic date night, and (f) when you get a chance to get time alone with your wife while the child is with the grandparents, all you see is an opportunity for you both to accomplish 20 things on your to-do list that will be way easier while he’s away – when you should just go sit on a blanket in a park together with a bottle of wine.
  9. Be happy with your used cars.  Mow your own grass.  Paint your own walls.  Pull your own weeds. Time and sweat spent don’t leave you feeling empty.  We were built to work, not out-spend each other.  We have met the Joneses, and they seem miserable despite all the stuff they own.  Working creates an awesome common bond for you and spouse to share together.  It produces instant “fruit.”
  10. Do not convince yourself that you (as a couple) are somehow now “holier” than others now that you are comfortably working to make your marriage thrive.  Be welcoming to single people.  Invite in older married couples that can mentor you.  Don’t only hang out with like-minded Christians. Challenge yourself to meet those with differing viewpoints.  Remember that you all share a common characteristic – you are broken sinners!  We all need God just the same.  We just may happen to be at different points on the path toward righteousness, so don’t leave people behind.  Encourage them to keep climbing.


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