My husband makes me cry a lot. But this particular time, it happened on Thanksgiving.
Before you jump to conclusions, let me explain.
We started a tradition in our family a few years ago. Every Thanksgiving, we draw two names out of a hat and publicly share the things that we are thankful for about the people whose names we draw.
I will never forget this particular Thanksgiving, because it’s the year I got lucky. One of the names I happened to draw was the name of my husband, John. It came my turn to share, and as all the things I wanted to share swirled around in my mind- I found myself choking up, with tears streaming down my face, unable to say one word.
As all eyes looked to me for a response, it took everything I had to try and muster a sound. And I couldn’t. All I could do that year…was cry.
You see, my husband made me cry.
He made me cry because I am married to the most incredible man I know.
I couldn’t even put my gratitude into words, because words don’t begin to do justice to the way he loves me and to the kind of man that he is to both me and our children. He has a huge heart, overflowing with love and affection to those around him. He’s perpetually positive, courageous, warm, and forgiving. He’s generous, kind, honest, loyal, selfless, and sweet. He’s strong, yet gentle in every way.
My husband isn’t perfect (that’s a post for another day) but he strives to be an “imitator of God” in how he lives his life toward me and the world around him. God’s Spirit is at work in his life- and that is what makes all the difference.
A few years ago I visited a church in which the topic happened to be about love and marriage. Something the pastor said that day has profoundly impacted the way I live and will never be erased from my mind. He challenged us as married couples to be the “closest reflection to Jesus that your spouse will ever see” (Tweet it!).
Now any of you who are married can understand what an insane undertaking that really is. Your spouse is one of the only people who experience you at your “finest”–when you’re angry, hurting, fuming, worried and absolutely irritated (and yes, those things can all happen at once). When you’re broken, miserable, and downright selfish. They have an invitation to observe you and join you at your lowest points of life- as you take down the mask and reveal your true self.
And some days, that true self can be pretty ugly.
That day, we were challenged to really take a look at how we love each other and others. It’s something we’re continually working on in our lives, being refined and pruned (sometimes painfully) with each passing day. We’ve both got a long way to go, but I’m finally realizing that learning to love isn’t just about the destination, it’s about the process.
As I reflect on the greatest influencing factor within my relationship with John, it truly comes down to this one thing:
Our marriage hinges on how clearly we are reflecting Jesus to one another in our day to day life.
So, my greatest advice to you, is to become, and then marry someone that makes you shed tears of appreciation at the way they strive to reflect Christ, the greatest example of what it means to truly love.
I can guarantee you that there will be all kinds of tears in marriage, but be sure that yours is a marriage filled with the tears of admiration, laughter, love, and joy- more than any other kind (Tweet it!)
*To learn more about our story as well as how to find a healthy relationship for yourself, pick up a copy of my book, True Love Dates this Holiday Season!* This post was revised and rewritten from a version published previously*
Debra Fileta is a Professional Counselor, national speaker, relationship expert, and author of True Love Dates: Your Indispensable Guide to Finding the Love of Your Life, where she writes candidly about dating, relationships, and how to find true love. Her newest book, Choosing Marriage, is set to be released in the Summer of 2018! You may also recognize her voice from her 200+ articles at Relevant Magazine, Crosswalk.com, and all over the web! She’s the creator of this True Love Dates Blog, reaching millions of people with the message that healthy people make healthy relationships! Connect with her on Facebook or Twitter or book a session with her today!
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