Rebekah has always liked words, and she's especially fond of mine; so my BIG gift for her today was a carefully crafted letter that I poured my heart into.
Then I realized a lot of the content might be helpful to other married people, so I'm going to sample and reword some of it for a more general audience as today's posting.
When I asked Rebekah to marry me (October 7, 1978) it meant that I knew I wanted to spend the rest of our lives together. But I didn’t – we didn’t – have the vaguest notion of exactly what that kind of commitment would look like. Not five years down the road; certainly not thirty.
Between then and now – Tuesday, August 18, 2009 – we have managed to raise two amazing children, send them on their way with joy and blessings, and re-invent what it looks like to be in this kind of long-term covenant relationship as husband and wife. But we never lost sight of the heart of our relationship along the way, even when it was difficult.
In fact, we learned a lot about effectiveness by being ineffective, naïve, overwhelmed and out of our depth - right along with being faithful, deeply in love, well-resourced by God, and living the adventure together - often just a day or so at a time.
So, today - thirty years along, Rebekah and I are in one of the best “places” ever. It’s a better view from here than the view we have when we’re struggling – but the struggles are very much a key element of what it means to be authentic. The struggles have built a lot of the steps that we eventually used – and still use - to climb back out.
Consequently this marriage is (by definition) a positive life-giving struggle with and on behalf of, itself.
Because – as Jacob found out when he met God at a place in the desert called Piniel (Genesis 32) – you’ve got to wrestle with someone in order to be intimate enough to grow together. And, just like Jacob, we both steadfastly refuse – ever - to let go. And, possibly even more than Jacob, we are blessed.
- So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak. When the man saw that he could not overpower him, he touched the socket of Jacob's hip so that his hip was wrenched as he wrestled with the man. Then the man said, "Let me go, for it is daybreak." But Jacob replied, "I will not let you go unless you bless me."
Reinvention is one of my favorite elements to our life together. The 50’s have – thus far – been a most amazing decade, defined by new beginnings, revitalization, and reformation. I’m looking forward to journeying into our future together.
What a gift! The gift of a creative, reflective, purposeful, fun-loving relationship with the most beautiful woman I have ever known.
All my love – and all the love I have yet to learn - DEREK