Five Facts from a Guy {about marriage} #4

Happy Friday, friends! I'm in Chicago this weekend to be part of my sweet friend, Jamie's wedding. Here to check in with you this week is my wonderful brother-in-law, Ryan. Below are five facts from him about why he loves marriage. Doesn't every girl love hearing about a guy who loves marriage?! I think so :)

And, in case you've missed them, catch up on the previous Five Facts from a Guy posts.

{Ryan is married to my sister, Courtney. Their sweet fam is expecting their fifth baby in November! They were high school sweethearts and I admire their relationship so much.}

When Whitney asked me to contribute to her blog, I was thrilled, honored, but not sure what I could bring to the table. When one of Atlanta's leaders asks you to do something (she's probably too humble to post this....), first you say yes and then you realize, those are some big shoes to fill! I have seen firsthand, the hurt that comes from failed marriages, but I've also seen that a marriage centered on Christ can be something truly wonderful. After having been married for 12 years (almost), I thought maybe giving a perspective on marriage from a guy's point of view might be a good place to start.

So, here are five reasons (there are many more) why I love marriage and why I think it makes men THRIVE!

1. It has made me even more adventurous. Adventure marks one of the core desires of a man's heart.  We want to LIVE!  Even as a young boy, I knew I was built for a larger story that wasn't just about myself.  I dreamed of being a mighty hero and having a beautiful heroine to share my adventures with.  God created this desire within us from the beginning to pursue and to share in our adventures.  Whenever I travel somewhere new or accomplish something I am proud of, I want to share the experience.  There is infinite value in having someone to share your life's story with.  Not that I wasn't adventurous when I was single, but marriage has brought my adventure to life!

2. It allows me to find truer rest. Life can feel insane.  And society tends to value those with a packed schedule and calendar.  I have found that I never feel truly at rest until I am at home with my wife and kids.  Home can take on a variety of meanings, but I've found it's not a place, but rather the people that compose it. I love exploration and change as much as the next guy, but there is so much comfort in coming home to someone who truly knows you and loves you for all that you are.  Home is where you can receive validation for who you are, all of you, and rest in it.  

3. It has given me a partner for everything. There is no doubt that life can be hard.  There is suffering, loss, guilt, demands and unmet expectations.  Four years ago, my wife was critically ill and we almost lost our unborn son.  It was the darkest and hardest stage of my life thus far.  We all need encouragement.  I live every day of my life with my best friend and biggest support.  As we walked through the months of fear and uncertainty, we had each other to rely on.  I was able to encourage and support her as she struggled through each week.  And she was able to give me hope and help me to lean on the Lord.  We balance one another so well.  When one of us is weak, the other is strong. We have laughed, cried and grown through 12 years of marriage. 

As a man, it can be so hard to admit that I need help.  But there is so much freedom is having a woman by your side who gives you the freedom to do just that.  She encourages me in my faith and leads when I need her to be strong.  God gave women a beautifully fierce heart and it blends perfectly with our own.  

4. It gives me the chance to constantly pursue my wife. I am always pursuing my wife's heart.  Some days I'm better at it than others.  Marriage brings with it an intimacy that I could not have begun to understand when I was single.  There is so much beauty in having someone know you completely and living with a free heart.  Marriage has meant for me a deeper communion with my wife and with God.  Every woman longs to be loved, to be chosen, to have someone value and fight for her.  Men were built to pursue and to fight for you.  Let us do just that.

5. It has helped me understand what love really means. Marriage is filled with beauty.  I delight in my wife.  I find beauty in the evenings when we are dressed up and out for the night.  I find beauty in waking up next to her and having us both look like we needed many more hours of sleep.  I find beauty in watching her raise our children and seeing who they are becoming.  The days can often feel mundane, but there is so much beauty right in front of us.  It is with gratitude and awe that I look at our life together. For a moment I get to see a glimpse of the love that God has for us.  Having four (soon to be five) children has allowed me to realize what a loving father would do for his children, just as our Father would do for us.  I could never have grasped this on my own.