This is us on our Honeymoon in Lake Tahoe. We got married 23 years ago today. We were tiny babies. Everyone who met us that week thought we were teenagers that eloped. He was 25 and I was 20. All perfectly legal. 🥰 Sometimes people who know us tell us how cute we are together or say things like #relationshipgoals. Of course they don’t see all the hard parts, the stubborn hearts, the many ways we get it wrong. But what they are seeing is the fruit of many years of saying and meaning “I’m sorry I hurt you by….” and “I forgive you.” When we were first married and had some our first real arguments (funny topics as we look back. Feel free to ask one of us someday in person. I’m sure they are funnier when we tell them in real life), we would get into secondary or tertiary arguments about lame non-apologies like, “I’m sorry if I hurt you.” Ummm… if?! Yah, that’s not a legit apology. Round 2 (ding ding). 🔔 But if you’ve watched the whole series of The Office, you can’t forget the night when Pam and Jim decided they needed to fight for the sake of their marriage. I’m not saying that every argument we’ve ever had was in holy pursuit of a godly, lasting marriage. But the dogged fight to forgive has been. And it has prepared us and made us able to withstand some of the fiercest storms, storms that can often drive a couple apart, but instead drove us together. When you believe that God brought your together not because he just likes a good romance, but to change you, shape you, make you a single entity with a purpose in his kingdom, there is more to marriage than just sticking it out, though there is that on some days. I will be the last person to sugar coat marriage and presume it’s for everyone or that it’s the highest and best way for a Christian to be sanctified. Anyone who says such a thing is doing a grave disservice to the singles they know and love. But if marriage is something God has called you into, it is his desire to make you holy through it and to bring glory to him through every crack where the light leaks out.

Thank you, Shawn Doud, for giving me your life, your name, your apologies, and your forgiveness.

I’ll love you til the day I die.


We met in a forest, on a hike to a place called the Garden of Eden. Today we ate our favorite breakfast in our garden which we tend, like our marriage, with sweat, squabbles, forgiveness, and laughter. Thanks for saying yes to this long obedience in the same direction, Nan Doud. Happy 23rd as my wife and 25 as my girl.

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