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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Thank you, Brooklyn, for the reminder. Umm, @jlin7 is a Christian but he wasn't very Christlike with me on the basketball court. He muscled me into the paint, dunked on me, mentioned my momma, and then said, "Stick with preaching." Just kidding. Kind of.

If you haven't heard, Jeremy Lin is donating his one games wages (approximately $140,000) and an additional $100 for every 3 pointer made to support Girls' Empowerment and Education through @onedayswages. That game is this Friday vs the Boston Celtics!

Join his campaign as he's inviting his fans to donate just $7. - http://onedayswages.org/jlin

Did you know that 32 million girls of lower secondary school age are not enrolled in school.

Did you know that every year of secondary school increases a girl’s future earning power by 20 percent.

Did you know that if all girls in Sub-Saharan Africa, South and West Asia had a secondary education, child marriage would fall by 64 percent.

We can't change the entire world but we can impact the lives of one, few, and in some cases...many.

#jeremylin #jlin #linsanity #onedayswages Don't be held captive to either praise or criticism.

Know who you are.
Know what you're about.
Know WHO you serve.

The answer to who you serve makes all the difference... It's the day after International Women's Day - and it's still important to celebrate the contribution of women in our lives, society, and world. As we honor women all around the world, I'm also reminded of how women and children are those who are most deeply impacted by injustice - especially poverty.

Sadly, I have witnessed this reality in too many places. ​In 2012, I traveled to a remote area in Eastern Kenya as part of a @onedayswages response to a famine that struck the Horn of Africa region. This famine impacted nearly 13 million people and according to some sources, took the lives of about 250,000 people. During my trip there, I had the chance of meeting many people but the person that still remains in my memory was a Muslim woman named Sahara.

She was so hospitable in inviting us to her small and temporary home. During our conversation, I learned that ​Sahara traveled 300 kilometers (a little under 200 miles) – some by cart and some by foot – as they sought to escape the worst drought that has impacted East Africa (Kenya, Somalia, and Ethiopia) in the past 60 years.

This is not a misprint.
200.

She traveled about 200 miles on cart and foot. ​And all along, she was ill. If you look closely ​at the photo, you might notice the large lump in her throat - likely a large cancerous tumor.​ She did not travel alone. She traveled with her husband who I was not able to meet because he was staying with one of his five other wives in this polygamist community.  She did not travel alone. She also traveled with her six children – the youngest being about 1 and the oldest being around 8. She had just given birth to her sixth child when they began her journey. Her youngest was severely malnourished when they arrived to this new settlement in a town called Benane. 
Sahara and her children all survived this journey. They survived because she persisted. 
In honor of Sahara...and so many other women who keep...keeping on. I have to remind myself of this every day...because I can forget every day:

Don't be lazy and make assumptions about people. Ask about their story. Then listen. Be humble. Be teachable. Be human. Be a good neighbor. It's a sad reality but our society runs on the currency of fear. Don't feed into this frenzy.

Rather, invest in faith, hope, and love.

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