The Brotherhood of the Second Cross was established on Father’s Day 2005 where 160 men stood before their wives and children to pledge themselves to purity, self-sacrifice, loyalty, and excellence. Today, hundreds more have joined the commitment.
Today’s my anniversary. Thirty-one years of loving to the best of my ability and being loved extraordinarily. Somehow, though the word “blessed” can cover even the greatest things from God, it seems a bit inadequate to capture the way my life has been enhanced and made perfect by my wonderful wife.
Last night, at the restaurant we chose for our celebration, the young man serving us brought us a ridiculously rich dessert to add to our evening and asked, “What would you tell a young man is the key to a successful marriage?” He confessed to no current dating relationship, but I resisted the temptation to suggest that finding a girl would be an important first step.
For a few minutes, we did our best to offer some ideas. Prioritize each other…don’t go to bed angry…talk to each other every day no matter how your travels might separate you…poor guy didn’t realize he’d asked his question of two people that have done a lot of premarital and marriage counseling.
But later I wished I’d said something else. Learn to cherish what you have. Like Solomon’s wise advice to “rejoice with the wife of thy youth” (Prov. 5:18), a happy marriage, and even a happy life, only grow from a focus on what you have rater than what you don’t.
By definition, lust is the thirst for something else. That’s why it’s never satisfied. When you lust after what you don’t have, you learn to never find contentment. Even when you lay hold of what you longed for, the joy is short-lived because you’ve taught yourself to always want something else. Like the child who tears through Christmas wrapping and then briefly celebrates his prize before asking for the next gift, there’s always a thirst for more. Then he ends up playing with the box, your tupperware, or something other than the high-priced toy he was so sure he wanted.
Thankfulness is the antithesis of lust. It rejoices in what already is. Thankfulness smiles at what is already under one’s roof and celebrates every gift already received. I’ve become convinced that happiness in any setting, especially marriage, depends on thankfulness more than any other factor. If you spend your random thoughts on gratitude for how you’ve been blessed, you’ll find those blessings growing even more special in our thoughts each day. Wishing you were someone else or somewhere else or with someone else are the main ingredients in a disastrous recipe you don’t realize your brewing.
So today, and every day, I choose to be thankful that I am blessed above all men. I’ve spent thirty-one years with the “wife of my youth” and she grows more beautiful to me every day.