To my future wife, whom I love even now:

It is said that composing a letter helps focus your thoughts more clearly, bringing a greater understanding of yourself, your perspective towards others, and how you view the happenings of life. By writing a letter, a natural, long-form composition, you are forced to write carefully, contemplating every word choice and delivering the message you intend to give. In a way, a letter is old-fashioned compared to today’s world of 280 character tweets, text messages written primarily with emoji, and filtered Instagram images. While this letter is written on a website that you are likely viewing on your smartphone, the markings of a traditional letter are still present. Yet, despite its seeming antiquity, I believe there is no better way to write what I wish to say to you.

I love you. I probably don’t say that enough. I keep coming home tired, worn out, and just want to relax. I may not seem to show you the same amount of affection that I did when we were dating. Sometimes I wonder if you think I still care about you. Let me reaffirm to you right now that my love for you has not weakened nor grown cold. In the time since we became as one in the eyes of God Almighty and the government that He has put in place here on Earth, my love for you has only increased. What at once I claimed to be love pales in comparison to what it actually is now, at this time in life.

After all, at one point , I thought I knew what love was. I thought I loved that girl. I had a few other crushes too. And in some form, I loved them all, in an immature “first love” fashion. I thought about so many things, I put in so much effort, and it all ended in heartbreak. I saw it not as a waste, for through it I learned much, but it still hurt. After all, lies and excuses had to be crafted in a way that I would believe them as justification to cover up the truth that I was never supposed to learn. Can you blame me for feeling like an exam being taken by a person who does not know the material but instead copies it from the person next to them? I was devastated. My entire demeanor was altered. The next month was filled with many thoughts, tears, questions, and revelations, enough that I penned a poem claiming that we only love once in our life. While in truth I did not believe what I wrote, that is how childish my perception of love was. While my heart was broken and I contemplated how to pick up the pieces and move on, God began to teach me what love really was, starting with loving Him more deeply. Only then did I start understanding love more fully, and as I continued to love Him more, He finally lead me to you.

You see, everything happens for a reason. We go through storms in life not because God hates us, but to refine us into the person we are supposed to be. Everybody we cross paths with, as purposed in God’s plan, is to reveal character traits that help define the one with whom we belong. Some are placed specifically in your life for a time (be it for a season or life) while some you merely interact with. Contained in each person’s character are traits, good and/or bad, that your brain recognizes and uses to form your perception and expectation of that one person. Some traits are blatantly obvious. Others are recorded subconsciously. But there is always a reason.

I do not know what exactly lead me to loving you. Maybe it was the way you carry yourself: tall, strong, and independent. Maybe it was your heart, full of compassion and concern for others. Maybe it was your soul, focused on God and what He would have accomplished in your life. Perhaps your looks played a part in it (after all, physical attractive is a factor but is not the end-all reason). Just the same, I do not know why you initially loved me. I am just a guy from nowhere, living life, treating others with respect, wanting to live God’s love and reflect His light everywhere I go. It certainly could not be my looks. With a receding hairline since I was 19 and a body that looked like a 19 year old even when I was 23, you could have easily mistaken me for someone much your junior. Yet somehow you saw my heart and the depths of it and considered it to be good. Nay, not good, but best. You determined that I was best for you, to complement and counterbalance you in life forevermore. Clearly, I saw the same thing in you. Of course we are not perfect but we don’t need to be. Where we both fail, God shines. Daily we are sanctified, becoming more like Christ in all things. We will never get it right but if we will trust God and keep Him first, He will fill in the gaps.

Since we officially “became a thing” (as the kids say), my love for you has changed from real but showy to considerate and intimate. I already cared for you, but now it is more personal than ever before. By the grace of God, He has blessed me with the privilege to take care of you as He takes care of us. It has been a humbling experience, a magnitude of change I could not have imagined. I cannot help but give thanks for the blessing you are and ask God to continue to shape me to be the husband and companion (and maybe one day, father) I am to be, constantly surrendering all to Him. I pray for you, for me, for us, daily and repeatedly. As we continue to walk this path individually yet collectively, may we love the One who loves us purely and completely first, before each other. We cannot love each other if we do not love the perfect Love. May everything we do be first surrounded and rooted in prayer, seeking council from the only wise Providence. We will not always know precisely what to do next, but that is where trust comes in. Is that not what the Word means when it says that we walk by faith and not by sight? May we continue to be individuals in this world, following our God-given dreams and using our ordained talents, yet working together to spread the Kingdom everywhere at all times, disciplining others in the Word and following God more fully every day.

I will admit that there have been some days when not been easy to continue. The enemy knows God’s hand is upon us and he does everything he can to prevent us from fulfilling our callings. As head of our house, he starts with me. He uses people’s personalities to push his principalities. He creates situations where I could easily throw in the towel and walk away. He sets up trials at work designed to send me home in a bad mood, unable to be the man you want and need. He places people that, should I fall for the trap, could be a bad influence on me and cause me to tarnish my story, discredit God’s work, and harm you in the process. Daily I pray for strength to endure, to stand strong, to remain upright and walk in integrity and honestly, always being willing to take up the Armor of God so I may withstand the attacks. Daily I pray for you, too. I know he also messes with you. Doubt, insecurity, self-image, lack of perfection, inability to match the cultural "expectations" of a wife. It is a lot of pressure. Resist the thoughts. Break the expectations. Replace doubt with confidence. Be only yourself, doing what you do best, doing what God has commissioned you to do. Sometimes we crack under the heat of the battle and fight. Believe me when I say that that is nothing more than the enemy seeking to divide us. Do you remember the words of Jesus in Mark 10:9? “Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.” God has ordained us. Therefore, let neither I nor you or anyone else on earth or in the heavens divide us, but let us stand form together in all things, not letting the sun go down on our anger but resolving our issues and living in peace and harmony.

Life is too short to not speak. We cannot hold our tongue forever. Sometimes God gives us blessings on a silver platter and all we have to do is step forward and take them, but fear stuns and strongholds prevent us from acting. Afraid of what is to come or what may happen, we stubbornly sit where we are, watching our blessing leave, while our hearts burn from within from the Spirit’s urging to move.

Therefore, I will speak. I will write. I will pen words that exist for your eyes only and sentences that are for the benefit of others. I will not be silenced by my fears and insecurities. This day, I resolve to you that I say what I need to say and not withhold my words.

And so I have written you this letter.