When I first started to realize that I was in love with Chad, I totally freaked out. I remember making a pro and con list about being his girlfriend. I mean, how romantic is that? I was sitting there listing all the bad things about him that I could think of and only came up with two:
1. He might be a democrat.
2. He is opinionated.
I was worried that his extended family were democrats and that he would wake up one day and decide to vote the big D. At 20 years old, this was my big concern. Nerd alert!
Number two came up because during college he had a talent(?) for writing contraversial letters to the university newspaper. I actually think he only wrote two, but the second led to a meeting with one of the college administrators who responded with some wise words: "I wouldn't give a nickel for ten 20 year old boys." And, on the surface Chad was the ultimate poster child for twenty year old boys who would give old men a headache.
He was a passionate about things. He had long hair, a rock band, and a great collection of thrifted clothes. He was funny. His professors loved him despite his 20 year old boy status because he was a nice guy. And, of course, he is the smartest person I had met then or have met since.
The pro list was long. I used up the whole front page of my paper and moved to the back. It was obvious that I was madly in love with him. And, even my reasonable self couldn't come up with enough reasons to deny it.
I ran across that list many years later and had to laugh at myself. I was so cautious. So nerdy. I was so dependent on my own reasoning skills, and hoped that they would trump my undeniably out of control love for this boy. But, there was no hope that would happen. I was blind to Chad's flaws as he was blind to mine. We chose not to see in each other what might be problematic in the future. We forgave shortcomings because we were so in love with all the good things about each other.
And, I've decided that's the key to a happy marriage. Let love overshadow those flaws that come out every once in awhile. Focus on what is good about your spouse and forget about what is bad. Chad and I have accepted so many things about each other that once drove us crazy (especially him, poor fellow), and we are letting love shine brighter than the glaring faults that could distract us. It's not easy to do every day, but it is a day by day choice.
If I had to make a pro and con list about Chad today, I could probably come up with a few more cons. After all, he is so good at Bible Trivia that I am almost refusing to play him anymore. But, I can honestly say that there isn't enough paper in our house to list all the things about him that I admire, love, and cherish. I've watched him grow as a man, a husband, and a father. He has taught me so much about God's love. He has given me three little mini-Chads to live with and for. God really protected me from my own ignorance when I had no idea what I needed or wanted in a mate.
I'm convinced it's God's grace that makes us such a good match. We are imperfect. We mess up. We argue. We laugh a lot. And, the good in our marriage comes from Him. What a miracle that in this world filled with sin, inside once wicked hearts that have been redeemed by Christ, this kind of love can live and endure and extend to three other little dolls who are loved by no one else in this world they way they are loved by us. This love grows and grows as years pass. This love is real. As real as a pro and con list. But, better.