June is a big celebratory month for JJ, my husband. Not only does Father’s Day occur in this month, but also his birthday and our anniversary. This past week we quietly celebrated ten years of marriage. Ten years. We’ve been together for that long. When I try to wrap my mind around that fact, all I can say is … that’s amazing!
I don’t know that JJ has changed a lot since we’ve been married, but I know that I have definitely changed. It is to my husband’s credit that he has never asked me to change. He has merely set an example for me, and when I was ready, I followed. Yet he never bossed me around. I knew I didn’t want to be married to someone who would dominate me, but neither did I want a husband who I could run over roughshod. For better or worse, I have the kind of personality where, if a man lets me, I’ll just run him over.
But somehow, even from the start of our relationship, I know JJ was different. I was so serious about him that once I realized that we were getting serious, I told JJ, “Don’t let me push you around. You have to stand up to me, because if you let me run you over, I’ll break up with you.” JJ took that seriously, and ever since then, when necessary, he quietly stands up to me.
I knew that when I married, I would change. Everyone says that’s what happens. However, I had no idea just how much and in what ways. Moreover, I had no idea that JJ would grow to understand me as well as he does. Sometimes I believe he knows me better than I know myself. He truly knows what makes me click, yet he doesn’t mind how my personality is different from his. In fact, he seems to enjoy our differences. He is a better at that than I am, because, at times, I still struggle with our personality differences.
We had an opportunity at the recent district convention to attend an evening gathering/party together, and this particular gathering gave me the opportunity to be the center of attention in a very positive way for a little while. Being the Carcinosin personality that I am, I absolutely gloried in it. I was in my element; I felt wonderful. My dear husband did not insist on sharing the spotlight with me, but let me sparkle on my own. He told me later, “I enjoyed watching you have such a good time.” Seriously, how many men would say that? How many men would allow their wife the limelight on her own, while standing back and just enjoying watching her?
My husband is a rare and wonderful man, and lately I have realized that much of the growing up that I have accomplished after my marriage has been positively instigated and encouraged by him. In other words, the woman I am today is almost entirely because of the man to whom I am married.
I am profoundly grateful to my husband, and I love him deeply. There is no man quite like him in the world, and I consider it a miracle of God that we are together. Not that I always view my husband as a miracle of God; I’m still a sinner. But during rough days I often remember my husband’s standard wedding sermon, a variation of which he has preached at almost every wedding at which he’s officiated. The Bible says, “What God has joined together, let man not separate.” JJ has stressed the idea that it is God who joins two people together in marriage, and when difficult days come, a husband and wife can have confidence knowing that it is God who wants them to be together.
That knowledge is always an encouragement and inspiration for me on days when I fail to appreciate the gift that my husband is to me. God wants JJ and me to be together. We are meant for each other, and we each help each other continue to become the person God wants us be. For as long as God allows us to be together, we will be a blessing to each other, even through our failings and sins. All things, even the sins, work together for good for those who love God.
My pastor-husband taught me that — and so much more. I literally cannot imagine life without him, and I’m so grateful that God joined our lives together ten years ago in June 2000.
Dear JJ, happy birthday, happy Father’s Day, and happy tenth anniversary. I love you so very much.