I once heard Pastor Robert Lewis say that the key to a long marriage was “a commitment to serial monogamy to the same person.” By this, Lewis was saying that both people and circumstances change over time, and couples who are still happy decades into marriage are those who maintain their commitment in each season of life.
Today, we are celebrating my wife Kimberly’s birthday. Amazingly, God has blessed Kimberly and I with the opportunity to celebrate nearly 3/4 of the birthdays of our lives together. Over that span of our lives, many things have changed . . . but my love for her continues to grow.
When you get married, you exchange a set of vows which basically say, “I am committed to you no matter what.” No one can see the future clearly through the veil on the wedding night, but that commitment and God’s faithfulness have seen us through many changes. Just some of the seasons of our life together:
- From friends, to dating, to friends, to dating (better), to engaged, to married, to married without kids, to married with wanting kids, to married with kid, to married with trusting God with our future. We have learned what it means “to have and to hold.”
- From having a year where our combined W2 was less than $13,000 to years where we can have a conversation about where we want to go on vacation. From times when eating out meant the dollar menu at Wendy’s to dates eating the Chicken Club salad at Charleston’s. We have learned the meaning of “for richer for poorer.”
- From the day Kimberly nearly died on the operating table due to complications, to months of preparation for and recovery from a kidney transplant, to watching Kimberly fly through the ropes course at summer camp (fully recovered). We have learned the meaning of “in sickness and in health.”
- From seeing our son born at 31 weeks and spend the first 6 weeks of his life in the NICU, to watching him score a goal in soccer and dance in celebration. We have learned the meaning of “in good times and in bad.”
- From deep long talks staying up way too late, to putting up with my selfishness. We have learned the meaning of “forgiving one another as God in Christ has forgiven you.”
Over the 27 years I have known Kimberly, and the 17 years we have been married, I can honestly say that we have both changed. This is not a bad thing. This is a great thing! I have never understood why people write “don’t ever change” in people’s High School yearbooks. I remember my high school days. I needed to change! (And by the grace of God both of us have.)
Over our time together many circumstances have changed. This is not a bad thing. This is a great thing! It means that we are living life and trusting God as we press forward.
Over the past 27 years, even my love for Kimberly has changed. I love her more and more deeply now than ever before. You get to know someone better over time, and the more I know of Kimberly the more I love her.
I am so glad that Kimberly and I have a commitment to “serial monogamy to the same person.” My life is much richer as a result.
As a Pastor, I have had the privilege of serving as the officiant at nearly 100 weddings over the past dozen years. At most of those weddings I say to the bride and groom, “one of the greatest gifts God will ever give you is your spouse.” I learned that, not just through a study of Scripture or reading a Tim Keller book. I learned that by being married to the most wonderful woman I know. Happy birthday Kimberly. My serial commitment to you is the best decision I have made since trusting in Christ.