When I first met you in Starbucks over 5 years ago, I really couldn't have predicted that it would land us in an 800-square foot apartment in Virginia with two kids and a cat. (Okay, the cat maybe, you were forced to inherit her) After meeting you for the third time, I am glad I finally remembered your name. Day after day, sitting in Starbucks at the same table did something to me. You showed me what being a man hungry for the Lord looked like on a daily basis; for the first time in my life I witnessed what it looks like for a man to be intentional in dating. I saw what a platonic relationship formed from conversations on the pages of scriptures looked like, and got to feel that first hand. You were everything I did not want to lose, but everything I told myself I wasn't worthy to have. So friends I convinced myself that's all we'd ever be.
On the night of my 23rd birthday you asked me if you could "pursue me in a dating relationship the way that Christ pursues the Church." After picking up my jaw from the ground and scooping up my melted heart, I obliged, but wanted to take it slow. So naturally, you thought 9 days later for our first date was slow. Thank you for not going at my pace.
I am so grateful you didn't count my messy life before Christ against me. I am so glad you only saw who Christ saw me to be: new, pure, whole.
Mark, your passionate and aggressive pursuit of the Lord is what I find so abnormally attractive in you. Of course, there's your washboard abs, perfectly styled Hollywood hair, and those legs.....oh I'm sorry, I digress. But when all your physical attractiveness fades from the world's standards, there you will be absolutely brilliant in Christ. That is what is so unnaturally attractive in you, it's Christ.
I see the way you read your bible first thing in the morning. I would be lying if it didn't irritate me to a degree. Here I am slaving away trying to get Ezra to stop screaming, and all you can do is read your bible. And then I have to stop myself and repent, because it is so incredibly beautiful and manly to see you seek the Lord. There is nothing I would rather see you do in the morning. I see the way you pray every night on your knees beside our bed. And I would be lying if I didn't feel convicted watching you as I scroll aimlessly on my phone. But again, that is what I find so attractive in you. It's your ability to trust Jesus with not just our kids, not just our marriage, not just our finances or job, but it's literally the way you trust Jesus with your entire being.
Now is the part where you are too humble to accept me thinking all this of you, but this is what I see on a daily basis. Now is the part where you say, "Yeah, but I know my heart, and I don't trust the Lord as I should." But Mark, that's not what I see.
You challenge me daily to grow closer to the Lord. I wish every marriage could have this element. I wish every husband could offer as much encouragement as you offer me. I wish every husband offered as much support to their wives as you provide for me. Your plate is fuller than most, but still you find time to set aside specially for me. I wish every husband could see their wives body language they way you see mine and talk it out. I know you're not a mind reader, and I am sorry for trying to make you one. Thank you for being patient with me, I know I am not the easiest person.
Thank you for listening to me, and not just for listening, but also hearing me. You really hear me and it causes you to act in love in ways people drool over in movies. I know we're not perfect and we don't have a perfect marriage, but as I see it, it's really close to what a lot of people probably dream of. I know we have our disagreements, but thank you for not getting animated or heated about them. Thank you for being a rational man and seeing me as your equal in marriage and parenting. Submitting has always been a struggle for me, but being married to a man of your caliber sure makes it not only easier, but super enjoyable. I wish all women found the joy in submitting to their husbands the way I have with you. I am sorry for some of the words I say in anger or the numerous eye rolls and huffs under my breath in frustration.
I want to effectively emulate the porcelain the bible says women are. I want to have the quiet and gentle spirit the bible commands women to embody. I want to be diligent in seeking the Lord and raising our children to love Christ. I want you to know I respect you, and I want to honor you in front of all, because you my Husband, are unmatched.
So thank you for seeking the Lord, for loving him far above any one else or any thing. Thank you for loving coffee as much as I do, for it is partly responsible for the last 5 years. Thank you for being the most thoughtful husband and kindest dad. You are so adored.
I love you,