What Twenty Two Years of Marriage to One Woman Feels Like

Jen and Barrett2Jenifer and I celebrate 22nd wedding anniversary today and I cannot imagine being any more blessed. I will never forget that hot and humid evening in Houston, Texas when Jenifer and I said "I do." It was the start of the most unbelievable adventure that God could have ever dreamed up.

As I look back now as a 44 year oId, it was the exact mid-point of my life thus far. I have enjoyed the second half so much better than the first half...not because the first half was terrible or anything (I love you, mom), but because I have had the privilege of sharing the second half with Jenifer.

When I consider what twenty-two years of marriage feels like, a few words come to mind.

It feels rich. Jenifer has often said that we are the richest poor people in town. Though we always get our bills paid, having a family of seven people means that there usually isn't much extra money lying around. But while our bank account has never been fat, our lives have always felt rich. I have a satisfying marriage, five children who are trusting Christ and taking ownership of their faith, and even a new son-in-law who loves myDSCF7231 daughter better than I ever have. I am truly experiencing the Lord's blessings.

I love the Message translation of Psalm 128:3-4: "Your wife will bear children as a vine bears grapes, your household lush as a vineyard, The children around your table as fresh and promising as young olive shoots. Stand in awe of God's Yes. Oh, how he blesses the one who fears God!" I would never dream of exchanging the lavish blessings of the family that God has given me for the stockpiles of stuff that I see others collecting.

It feels exhilarating. Having a big, crazy, active family and marriage makes for some exhilarating times. We are typically going full speed with our lives so our adrenaline is often pumping. While this can be very trying on us (especially when activities are rooted in Kingdom work - which they often are), it's never boring. But with regards to my marriage, I can truly say that Jenifer exhilarates me. With regards to his wife, Proverbs 5:19 commands a man to "be exhilarated by her love." I'll keep this post PG rated, but it thrills me to know that my wife still rocks my world. She's never boring. Our marriage is always interesting.

It feels comfortable. Jenifer and I were discussing the other night whether or not we have become boring. (Nothing will make you feel uncool like raising a house full of teenagers.) As I thought about it, I came to the conclusion that we aren't boring...we're comfortable. Our relationship can feel like a bit like a favorite blanket or the hoodie you have had since college. Of course, comfortable can be dangerous if you begin to take each other for granted (which one of us is prone to do), but it can be wonderful if the stability of the relationship makes you feel safe and secure. 

BarrettNJen Fall 08It feels right. I don't believe in finding your "soul mate"and I'm not a big advocate for "finding THE ONE that God has picked for you." While I certainly believe in God's providence, I think we should focus on being the right person more than finding the right person. That said, what I have with Jenifer simply feels right. The way Jenifer and I compliment one another and balance one another is an absolutely beautiful thing. It reflects the wisdom and love and favor of our God. From what I have experienced in my life with Jenifer, I cannot remotely fathom ever being with anyone else. Twenty-two years later, this still feels so right.

What will the next 22 years feel like? Who knows? I don't know what words I will add to this list during these next seasons of life. We have plenty of new adventures and challenges ahead of us so God only knows how He will use our circumstances to draw us closer to Him and to each other. But I am thrilled that I get to tackle whatever comes with Jenifer by my side.


Jenifer, I hope you are reading this. Words cannot begin to express my love for you. My life with you truly has been rich. Our love is always exhilarating. I treasure the fact that "us" feels comfortable. And I am so glad that 22 years later it still feels so very right. You are God's most beautiful creation and my life's greatest joy. Happy anniversary to you! I can't wait to see what comes next...