19 Years of Together

Dear Paula,

Today marks nineteen years of marriage. Due to rainouts, we will spend it at a ball field watching our son run, jump, catch, throw and enjoy a game he has grown to love. But before we get there tonight I want you to know I’ve never been more thankful for you, my bride. This one carries a little more meaning. Not because of the number but because of what we’ve experienced in our marriage over these last five months.

For eighteen years and seven months our marriage has thrived under the pressures of pursuing and existing in vocational ministry. I wouldn’t trade those years for anything. We’ve grown up together, we’ve shared many struggles together, we’ve suffered through incredible losses together and we’ve also experienced life’s greatest joys together. Being together through these years has been a beautiful part of our lives.

But, as you know, five months ago we made the difficult decision for our marriage and our family to step away from vocational pastoral ministry so I could invest my entire focus on leading a small and growing business. What has occurred since then has been quite unexpected in our marriage. As you helped me process through the wounds and scars that came with pastoring a small community of believers that I loved so deeply, so too came a renewed passion for you. I have fallen even deeper in love with you. As the process has played out I’ve experienced a new freedom and happiness in our marriage. We have laughed, sung and danced like never before. We have cherished and enjoyed our children like never before. You helped me see that the privileged burden of pastoring for ten years had taken a toil on me that I didn’t fully comprehend until the burden was no longer mine to carry. And as the burden passed with our decision to move on, so too came a new joy, a new blessing of being married to you. I believe our marriage has always been Grade A solid. But now it has reached a new height at nineteen years. It didn’t take reading a book on the topic or attending a conference, it didn’t even take new actions on our parts. It just took a new chapter of life. It’s hard to talk about my love and our marriage without the cliches, but five months into this chapter and I’m so truly grateful and happy that our relationship has been set free to keep reaching for new levels. See you tonight at the ball field. I love you. 

Spence

P.S. I tried to make this less “cheesy” than an Ed Sheeran song.