Celebrating 12 years of marriage today with Jennifer ‘Good’ Filipiak, as well as Father’s Day on the same day. A lot to reflect on and be grateful for. A lot of times on Facebook anniversary posts, we tend to make things sound like every second of our married lives is total bliss. This is seldom (ok never) true, but it feels like we are obligated to write such things, like our lives are that of Ken and Barbie, lest we put our spouse in a bad light, or even God in a bad light. “Praising God for his faithfulness of 12 years of utter bliss with my awesome Barbie of a wife. I’m such a lucky guy!” Like there’s never been a day I was tempted to sin, to run away from it all, to rebel against God and my wife. That I’m so lucky it’s all come so easy. I don’t think this put God in a good light at all, but I think being honest does. Here’s the thing, as I look back at our 12 years of marriage, there’s been a lot of ups and downs, but the downs are precisely where God’s faithfulness shines through the brightest. It’s often a fork in the road where I get to decide, “Do I do what feels best in my mind? Or do I do and love the way God wants me to love?” If I’ve made a covenant to choose the latter, what happens is I then get to see the fruit of God’s faithfulness over 12 years. Decisions I didn’t want to make in year 4 bear fruit in year 11. Decisions I didn’t want to make when I was single bear fruit now. I get to see my two daughters and a woman I genuinely love and have learned to appreciate after repenting of so much entitlement and selfishness in my life. A woman I at one point wanted to run away from so I could worship myself. I see that God’s way is right. God’s way is the best. It is THE way, though all along the way there are times I want to choose my own way. Writing something flippant about the utter bliss of 12 years of marriage is deceptive and it makes other think that choosing God’s way and my way are the same things. “Oh that lucky dog. God must really love him (more than others). Some guys have all the luck.” No it has nothing to do with luck. I don’t live a Ken and Barbie life. My life is hard. Parenting is hard. Husbanding is hard. Depending on God to fulfill me instead of my marriage to fulfill me is hard. My sinful self wants to do a whole lot of other things. Am I extremely fortunate, blessed and given grace upon grace that I don’t deserve? Yes. But could I have thrown it all in the gutter and led a life of sinful selfishness instead? Yes, about 1000x over yes. But by the grace of God, here I am. Doing my best to allow God’s Holy Spirit to keep me on his path. I’m not saying if you haven’t been married for 12 years with 2 kids, you did something stupid to throw it in the gutter. Though I will firmly say if you are looking at porn, having premarital sex, letting your lust run rampant and living for yourself, you are only setting yourself up for failure and heartache both now and in the future. What I am saying is the cards I was dealt were the cards of marriage; you may have been dealt something else. I’m far from perfect, but I can honestly look at my marriage now and say I love Jen more than I ever have before, am more content than ever before, and I appreciate her more than I ever have before. And this has nothing to do with some silver bullet to make your marriage better in 4 easy steps. It has to do with learning that I don’t deserve anything from God (except hell), but he’s given me so much instead. And learning to take such joy and gratitude in that, rather than to throw a fit to him that he owes me something or that he’s holding out on me. This is a far cry from the guy who wanted to escape from it all 3 years into our marriage and go live a life of sin. This is God’s faithfulness. His way is true. His way is right. I’m doing my best to continue to show my kids and my wife the same sacrificial love Jesus has shown to me, giving himself up for me on the cross. When you walk in the path of Jesus, you can look back over 12 years and SEE God’s faithfulness. In a marriage, you can see children, you can see memories, you can see inside jokes, you can see all the times you were there for each other through surgeries, miscarriages, C-sections, and just plain old bad days at work. You can see that obeying God instead of obeying sin was worth it. It’s always worth it. You can see how God changed your own heart from one of selfishness to one of love.
With all my heart, I love you Jen, and I always will!
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