In honor of my his 24th birthday, I want to share 24 lessons I’ve learned from my husband. His maturity far surpasses his age; I am so humbled and blessed by the many ways God has been teaching my heart and molding my character through Kevin.
It wasn’t easy to narrow this list down to only 24, so consider this a list of highlights! 🙂
1.) Confidence is a daily decision, not something you stumble across on a good day.
Kevin’s personal confidence is an inspiration to me- he’s my role model when it comes to cultivating boldness in the context of humility and grace.
2.) It’s okay to laugh at my own mistakes.
I laugh a lot more now, and I’m still learning not to take myself TOO seriously. As I grow in confidence (see item 1 above), I will feel less insecure about my silly little mistakes, and more prone to find the humor in them.
3.) Gentleness takes a LOT of strength.
Kevin treats me with a gentleness and tenderness that surpasses all of my hopes and expectations. His strength of character enables him to love me so well.
4.) How to structure a budget.
I’ve always been careful with finances, but Kevin has taught me more that I ever thought I would learn about financial concepts, budgeting, investing, biblical stewardship, and more. And, shockingly, even as a right-brained person, I feel really good about how much I’ve learned!
5.) How to disagree agreeably.
It doesn’t happen often, but we’ve had our moments of disagreement. We’ve even debated. But we’ve never ‘fought’. An argument shouldn’t feel like a ‘battle’, it should feel like two people who are fighting alongside each other to reach a peaceful resolution. Kevin displays nothing but respect and grace as we work through our issues. Before I dated Kevin, I had experienced the intense fear of angry outbursts, broken things, and verbal abuse, so I began to believe that arguments were a thing to be feared. God used Kevin to help ‘rewire’ my perspective: he has taught me that healthy relationships do “fight”, but in a healthy way- as a team, and never as opponents.
6.) Failure and success are a matter of perspective.
This is something I am still learning, but Kevin provides me with a powerful and constant example of how important perspective truly is. Failure isn’t something to be feared, yet neither is accomplishment something to be worshiped. The lessons learned along the way are the stepping stones to meaningful success.
7.) Organization is often much more effective than just ‘winging it’.
I’d still consider myself a spontaneous person, but all my closest friends have noticed a definite increase in my organizational skills. I have my husband to thank for that! Now I can enjoy the best of both worlds. Who knew that an increase in organization would be so helpful?! 😉
8.) Love covers a multitude of sins.
This is something I was always taught growing up, but never has it been more deeply poignant truth than in the context of marriage. Kevin’s love keeps no record of my wrongs, and he provides a constant example of how to reflect God’s grace when I fall short.
9.) The best moments together don’t cost a penny.
I’ve always known this in my head, but Kevin brought this reality to my heart. I treasure the simple moments now, more than ever before. Sure, the occasional date-night-splurge is lovely, but the quality of our time has nothing to do with the quantity of money we spend.
10.) You must be lavish in your forgiveness so that you can be unconditional in your love.
Those who are forgiven much, love much. It’s a biblical truth, and a concept proven true, time and time again, by my gracious and forgiving spouse.
11.) Communication is so much more than words.
I’m a ‘words person’. Yet, there are so many situations where words are cheap, and words fall so short of the full breadth of effective communication.
This is a lesson I’m still learning!
12.) The world is complex, but joy is simple.
Life doesn’t slow down, and it doesn’t get easier.
But joy is simple, and it’s always worth pursuing.
13.) Shared values should always be discussed, never assumed.
We grew up in very similar ways, and we discussed our values and goals throughout our dating relationship to make sure we were on the same page with the ‘essentials’. However, this kind of communication should NOT stop after marriage! It’s so important to continue to have deep and meaningful conversation, and make the time to discuss our values and ask tough questions. Don’t just assume you’re on the same page- take the time to listen to one another often!
14.) Laughter truly IS the best medicine.
My husband’s sense of humor brightens my life, and even makes me physically FEEL better even if I’m sick or upset. We’re talking about the laugh-til-you-cry, smile-til-your-face-hurts, giggle-til-you-snort type of laughter! No one makes me laugh like he does.
15.) Tangible goals matter.
I didn’t often write down my goals before Kevin encouraged me to do so. I was afraid to write them all down in detail, making them REAL and concrete, because I was afraid I’d fail. (See #6!)
16.) Seek to understand before seeking to be understood.
I like to get my point across. I like to feel understood. But this often comes at the cost of loving communication; truly taking the time to LISTEN first and speak LAST. It’s always worthwhile to make the effort to understand someone’s viewpoints and allow them to use their own voice, instead of assuming that you already know where they are coming from. Kevin is the best ‘listener’ in our relationship, and I’m trying to be more like him in this area.
17.) You are a “professional” when you call yourself a professional.
In your life and in your career, other people will take me seriously when I learn to take myself seriously. There isn’t a magical moment when I cross the line between ‘regular person’ and ‘professional person’; professionalism isn’t a ‘line’. It’s a direction.
18.) Silence really IS golden.
I used to feel the need to fill every silence, but over the course of my friendship with Kevin (and now in our marriage), I’ve learned that silence isn’t something to be feared. It’s healthy and beautiful to be able to enjoy the silence together, and not feel the least bit awkward or insecure about it.
19.) Over-thinking is toxic.
My habit of “over-thinking” isn’t something I am proud of. I even occasionally find myself over-think about over-thinking! Kevin has taught me that although it is always important to be thoughtful, to analyze carefully, and to consider the effects of a decision, there is such a thing as ‘analysis paralysis’. Overthinking can freeze up your ability to make a decisive action, cause you to make mountains out of mole hills, and ignite unfounded negativity when your imagination runs wild in the wrong direction.
Thinking is good, but over-thinking is almost always NOT good.
20.) Words without action are meaningless.
Kevin’s integrity really stands in stark contrast to so many other people I’ve observed. I’ve always put such an emphasis on the importance of words, but I realize now more than ever how cheap words can be. It’s NOT okay to speak out against something while secretly indulging in it behind closed doors. It’s NOT okay to use your voice to portray yourself as a ‘super-spiritual Christian’ if your actions don’t glorify God when no one else is watching. If your actions don’t match your verbal sermons, then all of your words are worthless.
21.) You are the average of your 5 closest friends.
People are like tofu- we absorb the ‘flavor’ of whatever (or whoever) we are surrounded by. We should be friendly to EVERYONE, but reserve our closest friendships for people who will build us up and challenge us to grow- NOT people who will drag us down and damage our reputations.
22.) Wisdom is much more than knowledge.
I like to know things. I like to be ‘right’. I like to ‘win’ the debate. But Kevin has reminded me and gently encouraged me with the truth that wisdom is SO much more than what you know. It’s how you apply what you know. One applied truth is more beneficial than 100 truths that you keep inside your head without allowing them to transform your actions.
23.) True romance makes Hollywood look completely lame.
“Puppy love” looks like a little plastic kiddie pool next to the vast ocean of true romance. Our love has grown in such a richness and depth, and I praise God for that. The flutter of infatuation, though it was exciting in its season, seems so empty and shallow to me now. Hollywood romance is glamorous, but true romance goes so far beyond the moments when it’s ‘easy’ to love. It’s the simple, not-so-glamorous-moments that display the depth of an ever-maturing love: Moments when Kevin finishes my share of the chores, even when he is exhausted, just because he wants to serve me. Moments when he takes the time to pray with me every night before we fall asleep. Moments when he shows up with flowers and ice cream when I’ve had a particularly trying day. Moments when he makes the effort to write me letters and notes of encouragement, even when he isn’t a ‘words person’. Moments when we work through disagreements with respect, when we are quick to listen and slow to speak. Moments when we recognize that, regardless of our emotions in the moment, our commitment to one another is unwavering against the backdrop of an ever-changing life.
24.) God’s timing is ALWAYS better than ours.
More often than I like to admit, I am stubborn enough to believe that my ideas are the BEST ideas, and my timing is the BEST timing. But, time and time again, God shows me that His timing is always best, and he has used my relationship with Kevin to prove this truth in my life, time and time again.
To anyone who read all the way to the end, thank you SO much for reading! I would love to hear about some of the lessons you’ve learned/are learning through your spouse- it’s always so helpful to take a moment to reflect on the ways we’ve helped one another to grow.
And to my sweet husband, Happy Birthday, my love!
Here’s to 365 more days of lessons learned, jokes told, adventures embarked, music made, confidence built, struggles shared, songs sung, and dreams chased. Together. ❤