I once had a student challenge me with a question disguised as a statement:
'Have you been married THAT long? I couldn't do that! I would get bored with the one person!'
To be honest, there have been boring times. There have been sad times. There have been tough times. There have been lonely times. There have been times where either one of us could have very easily packed our bags, (or the other person's) and walked out and away forever.
It would be that easy to do. Easy to walk away and find a life less boring.
We both have our own cars. We both have our own jobs. We both do our own things quite a bit of the time. We both have our own circle of friends.
But that is not what I signed up forâa separate existence away from my wife.
This week, 20 years ago, Belinda and I walked down the aisle as husband and wife. We became one ... and we were scared. Scared of the commitment. Scared with where this was taking us.
We were in love, so to speak.But after 20 years I am starting to know what love really means.
It means my wife will still kiss me when I come home with a grumpy look on my face, or I am sweaty and stink from playing sport, or even when I partake in Movember every year and sport an ugly moustache.
My wife will nurse me when I am sick and unwell. She makes me dinner. She makes my lunch. She asks for help and hugs when she is struggling. She lets me do my jobs in the ad breaks. She will pray with me and for me, even when I don't want to pray. She asks for forgiveness when she has done something wrong, but she is gracious and forgiving when I have to say sorry (which is a lot!).
She demands I look at her when she is talking and not stare off into space or at the TV or the book I am reading. She bore me three sons and allows me to teach them what it means to be men, but expects they treat her with the respect she deserves and has earnt as their mother.
Belinda and I have saved up for a week away from our boys to once again enjoy each other's company (thanks to family and dear friends for entertaining our boys for a week).
Yes, this is the longest we have been away from any of them for 15 years. We are once again like giggly school kids going on our first date, or maybe the giggly 20 somethings who went away on a honeymoon 20 years ago. If I had known what the first 20 years were going to hold for me, I wonder if I actually would have gone through with this marriage gig.
My wife promotes me. And I promote her.
My wife encourages me. And I encourage her.
My wife boosts my confidence in who I am. And I boost hers.
My wife loves me unconditionally ...
And I love her.
Russell Modlin teaches English and Physical Education at a Christian School on the Sunshine Coast. He is married to Belinda and they have three children.
Russell Modlin's archive of previous article can be found at www.pressserviceinternational.org/russell-modlin.html