My heart is heavy and I want, no need, to write this letter to you. You won’t be able to read it or really understand it for a long time, but I have to get these thoughts down on paper for you. I am so saddened by the sheer number of couples we know who are currently walking thru divorce. Daddy and I talk a lot about this and talked a lot about it before we got married. We are adamant that we will not get divorced ever…so much so that we don’t even speak the word. We truly believe that the Lord brought us together and we believe our vows are sacred.
Now, let me stop right here because other people are reading this too – please know that this is in no way meant as a judgment against anybody else. I know first-hand that nobody knows what goes on in a house except the people who live there. I also know that most people don’t enter into marriage with divorce as an option. I just want to share my heart (and Daddy’s too) on how we view our marriage. Just the fact that so many people we know are currently walking thru this has stirred up my heart to write to you.
Daddy and I have foundations for our marriage. We have the obvious ones that everybody goes into marriage with: fidelity, love, trust. We also have others that I believe are as important, or maybe even more important. The core of who we are as people, spouses, and parents – we are Jesus followers. We are FAR from perfect, but we live in the grace that Jesus provides for us. Our desire to serve Him and look like Him drives us as individuals and a couple. We believe that Jesus is our main foundation of our marriage. We pray for each other, we pray together and we pray for you. We go to church together and study the Bible together. We pray that we instill this faith in you and demonstrate it for you so that you will choose Jesus too. We also pray for your husband. We pray that his parents are bringing him up to love the Lord and to protect his heart for you someday…you know, in like 30 years!
We also have a foundation of friendship. There is nobody we would rather spend time with then each other! Daddy always laughs at me because I tell him I like him. But I do. I love him. But I also like him. He is my favorite person and I am his favorite person. Now, we are still what most people consider newlyweds, so we are still in ga-ga love with each other. But we are also old enough to know that feeling can fade away and there better be more to a marriage. So, we work hard to grow our friendship as well as our marriage. We learn about things the other person likes. You know, like how I have learned ALL about softball and baseball when all I ever thought before were that baseball players were cute. (See that’s one of the reasons I think Daddy is cute – he played baseball…anyway…) And how Daddy has learned ALL about jewelry because I love it and have a jewelry business. We play cards together and watch sports together and do other stuff that fosters our friendship so that we will always have that in common.
We value each other and our relationship more than any other relationship (except with Jesus- He always comes first). Because of the value that we place on each other, we do things to protect our marriage from allowing Satan a foothold. We don’t spend individual time with people of the opposite gender alone. We know each other’s passwords and share our phones with each other openly too. We aren’t friends with any ex’s in person or on Facebook. We don’t take separate vacations. We take an active role in protecting our marriage and not even allowing openings for other people to swoop in. As somebody once told me, nobody gets married with the goal of getting divorced and nobody starts a friendship with the idea that they are going to have an affair. We know that we have to actively protect our marriage so that we don’t become passive. We also look for friends who place the same priority on their marriage so that we are surrounded by other healthy relationships. We have friends who have been married longer than us as role models.
We believe that we are on the same team and we are each other’s greatest cheerleaders…no, don’t worry, Daddy isn’t putting on a skirt and picking up pom-poms…neither am I for that matter! With our words and actions, we are to lift each other up more than anybody else other than the Lord. We have learned each other’s love languages and we strive to love each other in the way that makes them feel most loved. You will witness this throughout your life, so I won’t give away all the details here, but I will address some of it. Daddy’s love language is words of affirmation, so I tell him I love him a lot. I need acts of service to feel loved, so Daddy always takes the trash out. These things are little, but make us feel loved. We also ALWAYS speak positively about each other in public. This is a big one for me. I want to lift up Daddy and make him feel loved and valued and so I refuse to speak negatively about him in public. This is sort of a soap box for me, so I will step down now. Just know that we take our role to lift each other up very seriously.
This one is so cliché, but we don’t go to bed mad. Now, I have to be honest…I definitely have a faster and hotter temper than Daddy and, (don’t tell him this) I usually pick/start our arguments and am usually the slowest one to get over it too. Now, I am going to go with that is because I am a girl and that I am more emotional and definitely more hormonal and that is how God made me…ok, maybe I should leave that last one out, but anyway… We firmly believe that each day should start and end with I love you and with everything resolved. So far, we don’t argue much – thank the Lord! Hopefully, that won’t change over time. We really work to understand the other person and give them the benefit of the doubt. Remember the grace that we live in from Jesus? Well, we believe that if he can love us enough to die for us and cover all our sins with His grace, we should work to offer that same grace to the people that we love the most. This is where Daddy is much better than Mommy! I can honestly admit that to you and the rest of the world – he is much more grace giving than I am. I am working on that though. With all that said, because we love each other, value each other and don’t want to allow anger to settle in and turn into resentment, we resolve our issues before bed.
My prayer for you is that you grow up in a home that is happy more times than not, filled with love and laughter and that you witness what a Godly, healthy marriage should look like. I pray every day that you will grow into the woman God has made you to be. Selfishly, I pray that means that you will one day be a wife and a Mommy and that you will believe that you had a good role model in both of those in me. I am so far from perfect and know that I will make many mistakes, but that’s ok. I want you to learn how to kindly speak your heart and mind and know that you can disagree. I want you to learn to stop and think about the other person’s perspective. I want you to realize God’s abundant grace and learn to be a grace giver. I want you to be such a better person than I am and know that the only way that is possible is if I work to be the woman God created me to be and teach you to be the woman God created you to be and we both allow God to love us, mold us and grow us! Daddy and I long for you to grow up feeling secure and loved. We long for you to look for your value in Christ first. We pray you will protect your heart and your body for your husband. I pray you marry a man who loves you as much as Daddy loves me.
Girly, this life is hard. Marriage isn’t always easy. Parenthood isn’t always easy; you aren’t even one yet and I have already made mistakes. We just pray that we instill the values in you that you learn to navigate them all. The Opdenbrouw house is going to be filled with lots of love, laughter, mistakes and grace!