On February 1, 1997, Minhee and I exchanged vows and committed ourselves to Christ, one another, our families and community – the journey of loving, serving, and growing as followers of Christ and as husband and wife – in mutual submission to one another.
Today, we celebrate our 15th anniversary.
Wow. 15 years of love, mutual submission, forgiveness, and love.
I know that it is customary [and wise] to speak well of your spouse on your anniversary but Minhee truly is an expression and embodiment of God’s grace and beauty to my life. Our marriage – while clearly not perfect – remains focused on the three pillars I often share with others:
Passion. Vision. Mission.
Here’s our wedding photo that still continues to amaze people. Minhee looks her usual photogenic self and I’ve been told I look “very different” – so different that people ask if it’s her “first husband.”
We’ve learned a great deal and have much more to learn. We’ve loved and have much to love. Couple years ago, I wrote a post and taught a sermon (with Minhee) about some of our best & worst practices and decisions in marriage.
Marriage is important. And while I’ve had the great privilege of officiating numerous weddings, I’ve also experienced the devastation of destructive relationships, marriages and divorce. There’s just too much at stake to worry about your self-image preservation and projection of marital bliss.
And it’s not just merely for the sake of others. Marriage is important to Minhee and me. She was a counselor when I first met her nearly 17 years ago and after taking many years off to be home with our children, she recently went back to grad school and completed another Master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy last year. But this isn’t about being a pastor or a marriage counselor, marriage is important to us because we have a covenant with God and with one another as husband and wife.
You can watch the entire sermon below but here are the three biggest mistakes I’ve made in our marriage:
Solo Decisions & Convincing
This is pretty dumb and insulting. My wife and I are a team but there have been several occasions where I’ll basically make a decision on my own and then I’ll take it to Minhee and attempt to spin it as a group decision when what I’m doing is…trying to convince her to agree to my decision.
Who can resonate with this? Raise your hand.
A Secret – aka Lying
During the 2nd year of our marriage, I made one of my worst decisions that to this day, I’m not quite sure why I made that decision. Bluntly, I lied. I made a financial decision alone (see above) but this time, I withheld it from my wife until that financial decision backfired and I had no choice but to tell her.
The incident set us back and devastated Minhee. It wasn’t the financial aspect that she was distraught over but the fact that in essence, I had lied to her. Needless to say, we had some very intense conversations and I needed to apologize, repent, and re-build trust.
Don’t lie. And don’t have secrets.
Not being fully present
As a long time recovering workaholic, it’s easy for my mind to wander about ministry, cafe, church, ODW, my ‘to-do’ lists, etc. On top of that, I’m equipped with my smartphone – both an ally and an enemy. While I’ve gotten much better, I’ve made the mistake in my marriage of not being fully present when we’re together and that’s not cool.
Be careful folks. The smartphone can make us look like stupid fools. Not cool at all.
Love & Forgiveness
Through it all, we’ve learned again and again that marriage is a rhythm of love and forgiveness. Love endures. Love heals. Love redeems. Love reconciles. Love pursues.
And yet, we all know that our love isn’t perfect. We all make mistakes…which is why the commitment to forgiveness may be one of the most significant pursuits in marriage. In fact, I feel very strongly that you can’t love without forgiveness.
I deeply resonated with this quote from Ruth Bell Graham who was married to Billy Graham for 63+ years before her passing in 2007:
“A happy marriage is the union of two forgivers.” ~ Ruth Bell Graham
So true. So true.
Here’s the sermon we taught together last year about some of our best and worst: