Tim and em at sunset 3 Yesterday, Emily and I celebrated nine years of marriage.
Today, however, is our actual anniversary. Yesterday, my parents were kind enough
to care for our daughters so that Emily and I could gallivant around some of
the Southern California beach towns. We ate and talked our way down the coast
from Long Beach to Balboa. When we got there, we rented bikes.

I bet I haven’t ridden a bike in 20 years. Who needs a bike
when you have feet to walk with and a car to drive? But, we thought it would be
fun, so we rented a couple of beach cruisers and rode up and down the Newport
Beach coast together on a PERFECT 75 degree, sunny, breezy, SoCal day. It was
so relaxing and fun—and as we rode we got to people-watch. We saw lots of
boyfriends and girlfriends, married couples walking and sitting together, and
lots of single people trying to attract each other—perhaps  with hopes of finding that special someone
some day.

All of this got me thinking about the blessing of marriage.

We Americans often use the expression, “It’s just like
riding a bike,” to describe things we can pick up easily again after not doing
them for some time. This is true of bike-riding—and maybe dancing or driving.
But, most of the things in life that mean much in life aren’t that way.
Discipleship isn’t. Morality isn’t. Marriage sure isn’t. While all can be “picked
up again” by God’s grace we can’t always pick up where we left off. When we
pick them up again, we will need to learn some things over again.
Many of the things of deepest importance take some degree of
consistency and effort. This doesn’t make them a sheer grind. It’s actually a
part of what makes them meaningful. Marriage takes a great deal of the strength
God provides and an awful lot of commitment to live faithfully and abundantly as a Christian couple. There’s
been a ton of romance and laughter in our nine years. But, those aren’t the
things that have carried us through. A mutual commitment to Christ and love for
one another has. I’m thankful to older, wiser Christians who told us such would
be the case before we committed to love one another for life.

Bill Cosby once joked, "For two people in a marriage to
live together day after day is unquestionably the one miracle the Vatican has
overlooked." I chuckle and then I think: Living with Emily for nine years has been an absolute joy, rather than
a drudge.
That doesn’t mean some days haven’t been much better than others,
or that we haven’t had some very
difficult seasons of life—even though we’ve “only” been married nine years. However,
I know without question that I am a far better man than I would be if God hadn’t
brought her into my life. I know that I have received far more than I could
have ever expected—and that I’ve probably given. I’m thankful for the joy that
she brings to our home, to my life, and to virtually every place she goes. And,
I’m thankful for her willingness to join me in ministry—often a very tough gig
for wives to participate in joyfully over time. And, I’m thankful for the
romance 😉

I’ll stop here lest my blog audience be led to vomit from a
syrup overdose. But, this week’s posts will offer some devotional thoughts on
marriage. If you are thinking about getting married, understand, it isn’t like
riding a bike. It’s more like following Jesus.