5 things learned in 5 years

Over the weekend Brittany and I celebrated our 5th wedding anniversary.  We saw the Broadway show Sister Act at the Fox Theatre and stayed at a hotel in downtown ATL.

It was awesome.  Figured I’d jot a few things down.

5 things I’ve learned in 5 years of marriage:

1. Being married is either one of the best things, or it is one of the worst things.  There really isn’t much middle ground.  People either constantly “joke” about how much they hate their wife/husband, or they never joke about it.  I can’t imagine painting Brittany in a negative light to someone at my job who doesn’t know her.  Even Especially for the sake of a laugh.  I honestly think my wife is awesome.  And I have no problem telling people that.  Even if they don’t believe me b/c of their own experiences with marriage or their parent’s marriage.

2. The most influential person in my life is Brittany.  Even though I love to read/listen to great communicators/artists, none of those people have the influence on my life that Brittany does.  Every week at church we hear a sermon and pretty much every week I think “that was one of the best sermons I’ve ever heard.”  And yet I’ve learned more about Jesus through the relational interaction with my spouse than the best sermon I’ve ever heard.  I can listen to people talk about the love of God and yes, it is moving to me.  But only 1 human has to live with and be in a relationship with all of the junk that I bring to the table day after day.  And knowing full well I don’t measure up, she continues to accept me and love me for real.  Great acceptance leads to great influence. And Brittany is far more influential in my life than any famous person ever could be.

3. How I define success.  Before I was married I wasn’t really sure of what I thought “success” was.  I thought it was something like “being a good person”.  But now I’ve come to better understand what success really looks like for me personally.  For Jason Avera success is defined by how much the people who are closest to me…love me.  That if you know me the best/most, you love me the best/most.  It is a real and measurable way for me to measure success/failure in my life.  Brittany knows me better than anyone else on the planet does.  She has a clear view of who I am.  All the strengths and all of the failures that make up me.  And with that in mind, she loves me better than anyone else on the planet.  In the same way my kids will one day know far more about me than anyone else will.  And if they don’t love me more than people outside our home, than that will be 100% my fault.  Not theirs.  Brittany loves me deeply.  Not simply an emotional feeling.  But day after day continues to show me that she loves me.  I am incredibly successful.

4. I’m selfish.  Marriage isn’t nearly as “hard” as people in my life led me to believe beforehand.  I’m kind of bummed at the wrap that it got.  Hanging out with my wife on the couch all day isn’t hard.  It is quite enjoyable.  We have gone though several difficult situations since we have been married, but I’ve never mistaken that for our relationship being difficult.  The only time that things are tough is when I come to understand how selfish I can be and I’m not getting what I want.  Being married kind of forces you to see the depths of who you are.  And if you don’t want to honestly look at who you are, then I’m sure that marriage could be a battle royale.  But if, from time to time, you are willing to own up to being selfish and decide to be a little more selfless…than things are pretty great.

5. Jesus is my only legitimate option for complete fulfillment.  If I place that burden on Brittany, she will never measure up.  Because Brittany was not intended to provide me with a peace that transcends all understanding.  On occasion, we can wrap our clenched fists around something other than Jesus and try to wring out of that thing/person the joy/peace/acceptance/love/fulfillment that they were never intended to bring to us.  Being married can make you do this to your spouse more often than any other person/thing.  And in doing so, you strangle that relationship to the point of near death.  And it isn’t even the other person’s fault.

Hebrews 12

“And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,  fixing our eyes on Jesus (not your spouse/parents/boss/children/siblings/friends), the pioneer and perfecter of faith.”