Nine Years Ago Today



It is rare that you can look back nine years to the day into the past and remember exactly what you were doing. It comes a little easier when the day you are looking back upon is your wedding day. Right at this moment nine years ago, I was waking up with my eleven groomsmen (yep, I had eleven) at a Days Inn in Radford, Virginia. We were about to hit up some breakfast and a matinee showing of “S.W.A.T.” (starring Collin Farrell).

I remember the day being fun, relaxing, and full of anticipation. I was going to marry the beautiful, blonde-haired, brown-eyed (with a hint of green on the outer edges of the iris, if the lighting is just right), spunky, hard working, dedicated, loyal, faithful, bit of a temper having (haha) woman that had come into my life just 15 months earlier. To say that I was pumped would be the greatest understatement of my life.

I realize that nine years is not that long, but take my word for it when I say that these last nine years have felt more like twenty. Why? Because we have (in the words of Red in Shawshank Redemption) gotten busy living.

Here’s the 15 second version for you:

  • We have moved 5 times.
  • We have traveled to 5 different countries.
  • We have been pregnant 5 times.
  • We suffered through a miscarriage.
  • We buried our second born son at just 5 and a half weeks old.
  • We lost a house to defective drywall (and subsequently a lot of money).
  • We have been sued (for walking away from said house with defective drywall).
  • We have planted multiple churches.
  • We have started a business (well, Ashlee has, at least).
  • We have been on several road trips all up and down the east coast.
  • We have seen friends come and go.
  • We have seen family members come and go.
  • We have had more highs and lows than most married couples at nine years.

It certainly has been a roller coaster. And we haven’t always handled everything with grace. But Jesus continues to handle us with His grace. Through it all, I have come to a place where I love my wife more today than I ever have before. And I think she would say the same thing about me. Now that is grace!

Here are a few things I have learned about being a husband over the past nine years:

  1. Find out how she receives love. For so long, I tried to fit Ashlee into some type of mold, thinking that I would determine how she receives love the best. That didn’t work out really well.
  2. Don’t ever stop dating her. Somewhere between the one year anniversary and the 283 children that show up all of the sudden (seemingly), the whole dating bit actually becomes a job. Well, clock in on that job like it’s your second full time job.
  3. If you tell your wife you are going to do something, you better do it. She has a much better memory than you.
  4. Don’t try to over-spiritualize everything. As a pastor, this one is huge. I have Jesus-juked my wife so many times over the years. She sees right through it now and calls me out on it. She always needs truth, but it doesn’t always have to be communicated. Sometimes, she just needs me to listen and then (maybe) say a little prayer for her.
  5. If you have expectations of daily super spiritual moments with your wife, where you are reading the Word together for hours, and praying tongues of fire over one another, you’ll probably be let down. Lower the expectations, see the grace in your failure as a spiritual leader (because it actually helps to point her to Jesus more), and repent of your pride and self-righteousness. Start by devoting two times a week to some sort of spiritual cultivation within the marriage (just you and her). Ashlee and I read Spurgeon’s “Morning and Evening” on Mondays and then on Thursdays, we either watch a sermon, read Scripture, or read a topical book that is gospel-based.
  6. Make sure you always elevate her above your kids. This might seem like a no-brainer but it isn’t. There will be times when loving the kids feels more instinctive and natural then loving your spouse. She needs to know that she comes before the kids. And the kids need to know that mom comes before them.
  7. Don’t be so darn practical all the time. Most of my decisions are made out of practicality (even when it comes to a date night). This completely eliminates romance from the marriage.
  8. Be ready for her to change (a lot). Ashlee has changed and developed in so many ways over the years. For example, when I met her, her color choices for decoration were blue and green. Now, she loves everything white (and I am not over-exaggerating when I say, she LOVES white. Our house is very quickly turning into a showroom for all things white).
  9. Don’t expect her to love everything that you do. At first I didn’t embrace this very well. I wanted her to love Kobe Bryant as much as I did and for some reason she had no desire to don the Lakers #8 jersey¬† and watch every Laker game with me (Hmm, Go figure!).
  10. Know that only by the grace of Jesus can you truly love your wife as Christ loved the church. Desire this grace. Pray for this grace. Know this grace. Receive this grace.

Happy nine year Anniversary, Ashlee! I am undeserving of you. And you are the greatest grace in my life here on earth. I pray that I can love you the way Christ loves His church, in even greater depths, to even greater lengths more than I have the past nine years, in the next nine years.


  • Laura Foote says:

    Love this post and am so glad we are in community with you all! Happy anniversary!!!


  • AP says:

    Thanks Laura! We love you guys and arelikewise so blessed to be in community with you. Hope all is well.

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