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20 years ago today, I married my college sweetheart. In those two decades, we have had days of unimaginable joy. Days where I want to quote songs and lines from movies – You complete me! – You make me wanna be a better woman! – From this moment, I live only for your happiness! Marriage seems effortless on those days.

Then there are the days when we can’t even stand to be in the same room. I’m sad and disillusioned and while I love him, I certainly don’t like him. And because I usually love myself more than anyone else, if my needs and wants and desires aren’t being met, it makes me mad.

My mom has asked me on two occasions “what is the most important character trait in marriage?” Both times I answered, “humility”. If I have surrendered my life to Christ and have stood in awe of His ability to forgive the wickedness that only He and I know is inside my heart, then I can forgive Ryan. It’s like the parable in Matthew 18.

The Parable of the Unmerciful Servant

21Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?”

22Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.g

23“Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. 24As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand bags of goldh was brought to him. 25Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt.

26“At this the servant fell on his knees before him. ‘Be patient with me,’ he begged, ‘and I will pay back everything.’ 27The servant’s master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go.

28“But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred silver coins.i He grabbed him and began to choke him. ‘Pay back what you owe me!’ he demanded.

29“His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay it back.’

30“But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt. 31When the other servants saw what had happened, they were outraged and went and told their master everything that had happened.

32“Then the master called the servant in. ‘You wicked servant,’ he said, ‘I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to.33Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?’ 34In anger his master handed him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed.

35“This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart.”

I have heard people say they wanted to pursue divorce because they weren’t happy. And doesn’t God want us to be happy? NO! A resounding no! There is not one verse in the Bible that says that God wants us to be happy. God wants us to be holy. God wants us to be obedient. Jesus said over and over that if we truly love him, we will obey him. The most amazing thing is that obedience brings great joy — and happiness!

In the darkest days of our marriage, we chose obedience. Ryan chose to love me when I was a selfish, unlovable brat. And I chose to respect him, even when I didn’t feel like he was worthy of my of respect. And you know what happened?! I became more lovable. And he became more respectable. And we learned that obedience brings great joy…and happiness. So maybe God DOES want us to be happy. But I think he wants us to to do it His way.

Happy 20th anniversary to my favorite boy. I still do ❤️

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