Eugene Cho

“A happy marriage is the union of two forgivers.”

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.”

wedding-003-copy.jpg

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:


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22 Responses

  1. What a classy looking couple. Thanks for your ministry and for leading by example.

  2. Being a husband to one woman, my wife, throughout my entire life, and being a dad to my children — what an honor and privilege! I would never trade that even with the whole universe. Praise God who is the true designer and architect of this precious thing that is called marriage! Thank you for the post, Eugene.

  3. Jennifer Kay says:

    Happy Anniversary Eugene! I looked up to you as a kid and I still look up to you now. I really loved this blog post!

  4. Chris Park says:

    Just for some humor, Ruth Graham also said, ““No, I’ve never thought of divorce in all these 35 years of marriage, but I did think of murder a few times.”

  5. […] “A happy marriage is the union of two forgivers.” (eugenecho.com) Share this:FacebookEmailStumbleUponTwitterLike this:LikeBe the first to like this post. […]

  6. Drew A. says:

    Nicely put, and congrats!

  7. Tyler says:

    Well done. I’m 10 years behind and am always encouraged by those who have gone ahead of us paving the well toward a rich and healthy marriage.

  8. Jen Walters says:

    Happy 15th anniversary Pastor Cho and Minhee! Loved hearing your sermon together. We miss your teaching, encouragement and friendship. God bless you both in the 16th year of your marriage
    .

  9. Thanks for sharing this brother
    God bless on your marriage with you and wife!

  10. Jm says:

    축하합니다 to both Minhee and you.

  11. […] Click here to read Eugene’s post. Share this:TwitterEmailFacebookLike this:LikeBe the first to like this post. […]

  12. Jason says:

    Well said brother Eugene! Marriage is a partnership, period. We need to find that balance that makes it all work. Thanks for being so open about the topic, and honest.

  13. […] “A happy marriage is the union of two forgivers.” (eugenecho.com) […]

  14. […] “A happy marriage is the union of two forgivers.” (eugenecho.com) […]

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One Day’s Wages

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Collaboration.

col·lab·o·ra·tion
kəˌlabəˈrāSH(ə)n/
noun

the action of working with someone or a group of others  to produce or create something.

May we hold our logos, egos, and tribalism have their place. May we hold them loosely for they too shall pass. May we collaborate for the sake of the greater Kingdom of God ... which endures forever. As we honor Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., don't forget the God behind the man. The one true God who deposited this dream into MLK is still speaking to us today. Are we listening?

Be courageous. Be brave.

Being invited by the King Family to speak at the MLK worship service at Ebenezer Baptist Church in 2016 remains one of the most unexpected honors of my life. On the right is his daughter, Dr. Bernice King and his sister, Dr. Christine King Farris. Walking throughstreet markets in different parts of the world is the best. Soaking in the culture. Listening to the local language and music. Enjoying the amazing cuisine. Meeting new friends. Praying for the Gospel to penetrate. #ChiangRai Blessed be the local, indigenous leaders for it is they who live in the very communities they seek to love. For it is they who understand their context and culture...better than a Westerner ever will. For it is they who will continue to tenaciously pursue a better world with hope, justice and love when visitors like me leave.

Yes, blessed be the local, indigenous leaders. What an honor and privilege to celebrate with the on-the-ground local @thefreedomstory team to celebrate the recent opening of their Education and Resource Center for the local youth in Chiang Rai, Thailanf. This was made possible through a partnership and matching grant by @onedayswages and The Freedom Story.

While it was an honor to be there to cut the cord and say a few words, this is an example of collaboration. Much love to the Freedom Story team including their co-founders Tawee Donchai and @Rachel Goble, to their staff who live in the community, who understand their context and culture, and who tenaciously pursue a better world with hope, justice and love. And of course, much love to the students themselves for they each matter. Finally, to each person that donated to @onedayswages to make this grant possible.

May hundreds and even thousands of youth be impacted, encouraged, and mentored. May they capture a glimpse of God's love for them.

Photo: @benjaminedwards Part 2 on my wrestling with the complex issue of human trafficking. In part, documenting my trip to Thailand for @onedayswages...to listen, learn, and visit one of our partner orgs @thefreedomstory. More to come.

There's such painful and poignant irony in pursuing justice...unjustly. One way we do this is when we reduce people into projects...and thus, propagating the dangerous power dynamic of US as heroes and THEM as helpless and exclusively as victims. So dangerous.

Human trafficking is not just an issue. It’s ultimately, about people. Depending on the sources of statistics, there are anywhere from 29-40 million people in some form of forced labor and slavery, including sex trafficking.

And one thing I’ve learned, personally, is how easy it is easy to reduce people into projects which is why mutuality, reciprocity, and dignity are so vital. These are critical because God never intended people to be reduced into projects.

We forget this and we indirectly foster a culture and system of victimization or worse, the pornification of the poor or in this case, "the trafficked." And when you start dehumanizing the poor or trafficked, you have no genuine desire to build relationships with them. You believe or build stereotypes in broad strokes, singular, black and white narratives that have been told about them. You believe the lie that they have nothing to teach us and are incapable of contributing to the larger society.

Lord, break our hearts for the things that break your heart. Give us eyes to see others through your eyes. Give us humility so that we acknowledge our own need to learn and grow. (Photo via @thefreedomstory)

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