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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41 years ago today, our family immigrated to the United States from Seoul, South Korea. I was six years old; the youngest of three sons. My father, when he was also six, fled from what is now known as North Korea. Just recently, he shared with me that he and some of his family had been in a refugee camp when war and violence broke out on the Korean peninsula. It's emotional thinking about what my brothers and I went through coming to a completely foreign country. It wasn't easy. And then, I think about what my parents had to go through:

They fled their homes near Pyongyang which also meant leaving some of their extended families.

They experienced unfathomable hunger and poverty.

They experienced the pain of war.

They immigrated again to the United States as adults with minimal resources and a handful of English words.

All in hopes that their children would have the opportunities that were never afforded to them.

I'm thinking of my brothers today. I'm thinking of my parents and honoring them for their sacrifice and tenacity. And finally, I'm thinking of refugees and immigrants all around the world that are yearning for family, peace, hope, and opportunities. Don't reduce Martin Luther King Jr. to a yearly quote on social media. Live out the dream. Seek first the Kingdom of God. Confront evil. Be a truth-teller. Seek justice. Love mercy. Pursue reconciliation. Build bridges. Love your neighbors. Forgive your enemies. Pray unceasingly. Live a committed life of peace, love, and justice.

The God who deposited this dream into MLK is still speaking to us today.

Be brave. "Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that." ~ Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Here's the full context of his famous quote: "The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral, begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy. Instead of diminishing evil, it multiplies it. Through violence you may murder the liar, but you cannot murder the lie, nor establish the truth. Through violence you murder the hater, but you do not murder hate. In fact, violence merely increases hate. Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate. Only love can do that." An important word for the Church... Oh, how God loves the nations. The Scriptures make this so clear. No one - let alone, the leader of a country - should ever disparage other nations with such a disgusting comment.

To the beautiful people of Haiti, El Salvador, and of the many countries of Africa: We are so sorry. Please accept our apologies on behalf of President Trump.

I've had the privilege of being in Haiti twice and numerous countries in Africa including Kenya where I took this picture during an afternoon drive near Kijabe. In many of these visits, I witnessed such creativity, courage, leadership, hospitality and kindness. To follow Jesus without obedience, repentance, self-denial, and dying to self is an oxymoron. In other words, are we more in love with the idea of following Jesus than actually following Jesus?

Grateful for an incredible Sunday at @seattlequest of beginning our 21 Days of Prayer and Fasting.

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