I realize my posts on TTAF thus far have all been somewhat serious, proffering challenges to change the world or to lay aside external factors and pursue wholeheartedly our truest dreams. But at the risk of being the guy that just needs to relax a bit, I want to offer one more challenge this morning. I also risk being the guy who thinks his challenges are a lot more important than they really are, because I contend that this particular challenge could very well be the most important pursuit on which you will ever embark. I know, right? I said it. (I ALSO risk being the guy who tries to offer relationship advice, which is always a dangerous undertaking and especially so when you’re an amateur like me . . .)
Coming up in the beginning of June, my wife and I will be celebrating our fifth wedding anniversary together. That’s like the golden anniversary or something; man we’re getting old. Anyway, naturally, as we get closer to the date, I’ve started thinking about it more and more and have started reflecting on the times my wife and I have spent together. We met in middle school at a Jr. High church camp and I can honestly say that from the time I first met my wife to the time we got married after graduating college, I pursued her with reckless abandon. Seriously, there was no caution in my attempts to woo this girl. I sent flowers for no reason, passed letters at school, created artwork for her, walked to her house in the snow, would sneak out of my own house, would plan special dates, and would recite the most hopelessly romantic lines that I could think of. I even, at times, ignored the “bro code.” (And I didn’t care one bit . . . still don’t, by the way). She was beautiful, inside and out, and I was willing to do anything for my future bride. Stick with me here, this isn’t just to talk about how much I love my wife. I am getting somewhere.
The problem I face is this: Although she remains, and always will remain, the absolute joy of my life, for some reason I’ve let myself get complacent in my pursuit of her affection.
And I don’t think I’m alone.
Maybe this complacency is just bred by familiarity, the familiarity with one another that comes as we as we move together through the routines of life. Maybe it’s that life gets more and more complicated—we’re trying to advance in our career, or we have a kid (or kids), or a mortgage, or hospital bills—and as we deal with all of these things in life that can’t be ignored, maybe we find that the easiest thing to ignore is the pursuit of our wife’s affections. Maybe it’s just laziness. I’m sure the reasons are different for each of us. But whatever the reason may be, let me say this:
As men, we are not called to be complacent in our relationships.
We are not called to be complacent fathers or sons or brothers or friends. We are not called to be complacent boyfriends. We are not called to be complacent husbands. We are called to enjoy life with those whom we love all the days we have been given under the sun; for our love to abound more and more in knowledge and depth and insight
Last year I had the honor of performing a couple wedding ceremonies for friends and family. During those ceremonies, I offered the couples just one or two pieces of personal encouragement as they began their journey together. After telling a little of the story of how the couple had met and recount their first date, I would remind them of all the effort they had put into seeking one another’s affection. And I would tell them that after all that effort, and after all the thought and planning and energy they put into planning the wedding, that that wedding ceremony was not the victory. It was not the culmination or the finale or the end result. It was merely one step on their continuing journey together. And I would encourage them to never stop pursuing one another.
The reality is I need that encouragement. And maybe you do, too. Maybe if you’re married you thought the wedding ceremony was the victory, that the pursuit was then over. And no matter what your Facebook relationship status says, maybe you’ve for whatever reason just fallen into a trap of complacency towards those around you. Don’t let these attitudes continue one more day. Be a man. Love your wife. Proactively demonstrate to her the beauty you see in her and the lengths to which you would go to make your love known. Pursue with reckless abandon a vibrant relationship with those around you.