Dear Lauren and Lydia,
Almost a year ago now…we married Dane Spencer. I know it sounds strange to say ‘we’ because it is actually me that wears his ring and me who repeated vows and me who changed my name…but it was ‘we’ because you two are so part of me that any decision of that kind had to be a ‘we’ or I wouldn’t have done it.
At your age you know far more about things than I did in many areas. You have grown up in a larger town than I did and times have surely changed. The internet gives you access to just about anything and everything which is great and also terrible. I never wanted you to grow up as clueless as I did about the birds and the bees, back in my day we didn’t talk about any of that kind of stuff and I was extremely clueless. That wasn’t exactly healthy either…but in today’s world it’s the complete opposite extreme. It seems like every movie, every tv show, every ad, everywhere all the time is trying to make things sexy and show you what ‘love’ looks like. It would be very easy for your view of sex, intimacy, love, etc. to be off base.
I love Dane. And I know you two do too. Even if you at times have wanted to not like him…he’s so likable you couldn’t stop yourself even if you tried. I am so thankful that he came into your lives while you are still at home. You need to have a clear picture of what an amazing, Holy Spirit filled man looks like in a loving relationship with a wife. You need to see what marriage can be. So much better than any pretend love story on tv or in a movie.
Last night as I lay in bed going to sleep I thought about the past year and the qualities that I see in Dane and in our marriage.
These are my random thoughts…
- Yes there is a physical attraction. There has to be or it would be like being with your brother or just a friend. The friendship is important…vital, but there also has to be some chemistry and you two know good and well that we have chemistry. We enjoy holding one another and kissing. Even the way we look at each other is charged with something special.
- But physical attraction is just the tip of the ice berg. You know…I was most attracted to Dane back in the beginning because he is kind. I know that sounds wimpy and not very flashy…but kindness is beautiful. I can’t think of one time in the past year when he has ever been rude to me. I can’t think of one time when he has gotten angry with me or said anything unkind to me. I can’t think of even an action on his part where I felt treated unkindly. He deliberately and daily goes out of his way to show kindness to me and it comes naturally to him, it’s not as if he has to work hard at it. Watch other couples, pay attention and sadly you’ll often see people who treat each other unkindly. Girls…physical attraction is needed and wonderful…but kindness…wow it’s like having Jesus in the relationship with you and it’s amazing.
- Dane is loving. I’ve told you guys often about the five love languages (Acts of service, gifts, physical touch, words of affirmation, quality time). I used to think that you were good at one or two and you should just focus on those. I now realize that’s a bunch of hullaballoo. The most beautiful love stories are multilingual and daily speak all of those languages to one another. Literally…we do acts of service, enjoy physical touch, give words of affirmation, spend quality time and even often give gifts on a daily basis. We are both ‘all in’. None of this…”I’m just a physical touch person so you won’t get any acts of service from me…” stuff. Real love is 100% on both sides. Dane gives me 100% of his love daily and I give him 100% of my love. Which adds up to 200% and that’s the kind of love story we have, it overflows.
- Just as important as the issue of physical attraction and even more so really is the fact that you need to have at the core of your relationship a friendship…a best friend. You two can surely tell by now that Dane is my best friend. We spend every day together. And it doesn’t grow old. We miss each other when we’re apart and that’s never more than an hour or two. When we go anywhere…we sit by each other, we hold hands. We have literally walked hand in hand this past year for easily over 500 miles in our community. Sometimes we talk, sometimes we walk in silence, often we just take in nature and whatever we might see together. We have watched countless sunsets and even a few sunrises together. We share our story with one another daily. We enjoy working together, playing together, resting together, and overall just doing life together. Conversation is easy and natural. Dane’s first nickname from the first week he knew me was ‘huck’ from huckleberry fin and tom sawyer. We adventure together all the time. This is the soul to soul part of love. It’s hard to know who you will feel it with but when you do it’s undeniable. Friendship is so important that on our wedding rings we have the words engraved “My huckleberry friend”. It’s amazing to us to think about what we have at this stage in life, how beautiful, rare and unexpected it is.
- Jesus is at the center of our relationship. I’m pretty sure that neither of us would think our marriage was nearly so awesome if He wasn’t. I tell Dane often that I see Jesus in him. What I’m saying is that I see the fruit of the Holy Spirit. Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self control. We both love Jesus and want to hear from him. We both desire to be filled daily by the Holy Spirit. We both are very aware of the grace and forgiveness that Jesus has given each of us personally. We are thankful for the bible and still students of it. Still growing in our understanding of who God is. We are both in awe of creation and worship God as we experience it’s beauty. We have both experienced loss and have learned to live in the mystery of not having all things figured out.
I realize you’re at a different point in life. You’re 16 and 18. I married a 67 year old man who has lived a lot of life, experienced loss and been shaped by Jesus for many years. Kind of like a well aged wine I guess (from what I’m told :). When you’re young you have to work out a lot of things in a way that isn’t as smooth and polished, both growing towards maturity and towards Jesus. There are things that come along early that can cause real struggle and challenge. I don’t want to downplay that reality…life is hard, there will be days when unkind things are spoken and when love feels pretty thin. For sure you will have to rely on commitment to get you through on the days when you don’t feel it.
But…my point is…when you even consider a man someday…you now have a clear picture of what a good man looks like first hand. (You did with your dad too by the way…but I know you were so young that sometimes that picture feels hazy. My words about Dane take nothing away from Mark.)
I have prayed and will continue to pray that someday you find/are found by a man who is loving and kind. The best relationships submit to one another daily. That’s how love works. I pray that you find someone who is your absolute best friend, the person you want to do life with daily, the person you want to talk to and share the deepest parts of yourself with. I pray that the man you have come into your life someday loves Jesus and is filled with The Holy Spirit. And I pray that in all of that you feel great physical attraction that will continue sparking for the rest of your lives.
If you marry your best friend, and you are both 100% in when it comes to loving one another and treating each other kindly, if you both love Jesus and are surrendered to His leading…and if you throw in just the right amount of physical attraction…look out…you’ll have a far better love story than any tv show, movie or ad could possibly portray.
If I could bottle up what Dane and I have and sell it we would be rich…it’s so much more than anything this world tries to sell us, so much more valuable.
I said at the beginning of this letter that just about a year ago now “we” married Dane Spencer. You two are not my luggage. You are part of my heart and soul. Always will be. When I married Dane and got a best friend and lover in the process…you got a dad.
I know you have feelings inside both of you that are not always totally sure what to do with that reality. You want it but are scared of it at the same time. You’re still trying to decide if you can trust it and feel safe. You’re still adjusting to major change. It’s alright.
I know who Dane is as your dad and I know that his constant and patient love mixed with the power of the Holy Spirit will cause you to be amazed as you look back 5, 10 years from now. Someday I have a feeling that you will be making this list of what makes a good dad…and you’ll be describing Dane from a dad view. I look forward to that time. Love will win. It always does.
I am praying daily for healing. Praying that the Holy Spirit fill our family, our home and life. I am praying that our children (all five) sense the healing and wholeness that only God can bring after losing a mom/dad. I am praying that we would learn to all love one another in a way that can only be described as holy. I am praying for each individual in our family all nine grand children, five children, three spouses, and for Dane and I that we would be in unity and full of grace and peace towards one another. I am praying that God will do far more than I can ask or imagine in making us knit together in love.
I believe that God can do amazing things.
I see it in my marriage every day and am in awe.
I trust that in the fullness of time when we can look back on things we will all be amazed at how powerful the love of God is, as we witness it in our relationships with one another.
Girls…don’t be fooled one moment by what the world calls love. Don’t be fooled by the flash and glimmer of what you see. Love is about mutuality, two people who are in a partnership both loving one another 100%. It should feel as if both are ‘all in’. Love is about friendship…the kind that you don’t experience with anybody else. Love is about experiencing the Holy Spirit with skin on as you give and receive the fruits of the Spirit from one another.
Love is the most beautiful thing we ever experience.
If you look around, sadly you will see many couples and people who are really struggling when it comes to love. People who treat each other poorly. People who are indifferent towards one another. People who actually are enemies. You’ll see jealousy, insecurity, anger, lust, unkindness, rudeness, etc. You’ll see people who take each other for granted every day. That in itself is a crime to me. We don’t know how many days we have…no day should be taken for granted.
You were made for more. God’s love is rich and full. Immeasurable. You were made for soul to soul, heart to heart, mind to mind, body to body connection.
So what do you do until that comes along in your life…I think you focus on your love relationship with Jesus. Pure and simple that’s the best preparation you can make to be ready for love in marriage.
Seek for health emotionally, physically, spiritually, mentally…be the person that you would like to spend the rest of your life with.
If you had told me even a year and half ago that I would be married to Dane Spencer right now I would’ve thought you were crazy. I did not expect it in anyway. In fact…I was moving forward with my life as a widow and accepting the reality that I would probably be single for the rest of my life.
But here I am.
Here we are.
I want nothing less for you two. I don’t think I could accept anything less. It would break my heart.
Love your momma who has been a wife for almost a year now and it feels good.