Today at 2pm I will officially celebrate 18 years of marriage to the most compassionate, passionate, purpose-driven, Godly, kindest man I know…Jeffery Walton Hickman. Not to sound cliche, but I honestly, at some point in my day, stop and think, “What did I do to deserve him?” I mean, I can be pretty selfish and unloving, driven fully by my emotions, and God gave me a very logical, lives in the reality, husband that doesn’t generally let emotions rule him. He grounds me, yet at the same time, has pushed me off the ground to soar. He gives me more courage to face life head on than I could ever do on my own.
I’m in a time of my life that almost every week I hear of marriages around me crumbling and homes are becoming fractured. It scares me sometimes. I’ve been the one to say, “That wouldn’t be me,” but the reality is that it certainly could be me. This is why a day like today is such a big deal to me, because in the busyness of life, the managing of schedules and the inevitable allowing of ourselves to be sucked into the humdrum routine of life, I have an anniversary – an opportunity for a new beginning; an opportunity to sit back and reflect. In our marriage the one phrase I have heard my husband say thousands of times is that we must pray everyday for God to keep us “clean and close”. Praying about it is only part of it, and applying it…LIVING it…is the other part! I have had that moment of amazement that people say…you know, the “I made it to….” statement? Well, I guess in those terms, we made it to 18, but I don’t see it that way.
I see each day as another day that I get to say, “I do”.
I don’t wake up everyday liking everything about my marriage. I don’t honestly know anyone who does, but rather than camping out in the land of “I don’t like this or that” I want to live my days camping out in the “I’m choosing today to love you all over again…and again…and again.” When I don’t always feel like I’m getting the quality time I crave, I still choose to love him in spite of that. When he feels like I’m complaining too much and can’t take another second of it, he still chooses to love me in spite of my moodiness. Getting up, choosing to love my husband like Jesus loves Him is the very best decision I can make everyday, and it’s the very reason why I feel like marrying him was like it was yesterday! This man God has blessed me to love with my whole heart is WORTH IT!
I recently had a friend ask me to do something on a Thursday, and she immediately stopped and said, “No, not Thursday. That’s your date night.” I loved knowing that that part of my life is known by my friends – that they know it’s a non-negotiable in our lives. For me, I can hardly get through my day because I’m so excited about spending time with Jeff. It’s another choice we’ve made to make our marriage the greatest priority in our lives. It’s another piece of the puzzle of choosing to make things work. I believe in marriage. I abhor the fact that here on my 18th wedding anniversary what consumes my mind are the marriages that are dying, but what I refuse to ever utter is a death sentence over marriage in general, and I certainly will not utter a death sentence over mine. I want to live today choosing Jeff again, and tomorrow, December 18th, I’m gonna choose him once again. Is your life full of so many distractions and disappointments that choosing to love your husband or wife has taken a backseat, or even just become hopeless to you? Don’t give up! Never, ever give up! Do whatever it takes to make your “I do” worth it…it IS worth it!
Jeffery Hickman, I love you with all of my heart. If we were to go back in time at Charleston Southern University and I was faced with having to choose you all over again…I would in a millisecond! I believe in you and the man God has called you to be. There will never, ever be another to compare. I got the best of all the rest! ;) Happy Anniversary to the love of my life.