At the beginning of my junior year in college, I started dating this guy with super buff arms (I mention the arms, because they were often a part of the way I would describe my new boyfriend: “I’m dating this amazing guy named Ryan, and he has really great arms!) Parent weekend was coming up, and I was beyond excited for my mama to come to Newberg and spend time with Ryan and me together. My mama was my best friend and my life compass, so I needed her to see us as a couple and give me a report. In his typical, wonderful way, Ryan asked me what my mama’s favorite thing to do was and planned our day around it: waterfalls! The three of us spent a beautiful misty day hiking Silver Creek Falls.
Mama and I went out to dinner after we dropped Ryan off, and I waited expectantly for her verdict. She smiled, rolled her eyes a little, squeezed my hand and said, “Oh my goodness, Caitlyn, I think he’s the one! All you two do is laugh and kiss! And you were right; he does have really great arms.” Thus my romantic path was set.
You don’t have to know me very well to know that I am totally smitten with my husband. I mean, I really think he’s swoon-worthy. I don’t say this in an I-have-a-perfect-marriage-and-you-should-be-jealous kind of way. I’m not trying to portray a false image of perfection, because Ryan and I definitely have our flaws and our disagreements (I won’t mention right now that for some reason getting out of the door to go to church brings out the worst in us…oh the irony!) We have issues, big and small, just like every marriage. But, honestly, I caught myself a spectacular guy.
My husband is a daily representation of Christ to me. In Ephesians 5:25, Paul tells husbands to “love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.” While I know that Ryan would die for me without hesitation, it is the way that he lives for me that continues to win my heart: waking up early to make coffee for me every morning (now that I’ve given up my beloved mochas), installing a detachable shower head in our bathroom after my mastectomy so that he could give me showers, making me a part of pursuing his dreams while putting numerous days and nights into pursuing mine, biting his tongue countless times when my forgetfulness gets the best of me and I forgot that one important thing he asked me to do, demonstrating to the boys how to treat me with respect, being there for my mom and our whole family during the best and worst of times, and finally helping me see the humor in whatever situation comes our way. In these things and just about all things, he makes the choice to deny himself and give himself up for me.
And that is why I am writing this post. I want to give a public shout-out to my hubby for being the best for me that he can be. I want to take this opportunity to praise him for the way he strives to daily follow the Lord in all that he does. I want to thank God for the wonderful, sexy man he put in my life.
Last spring, Ryan and I got matching tattoos (pretty cheesy, I know…but I love cheesy!) We got them based on a poem I wrote to Ryan in an effort to show him how important his support has been throughout our marriage. As part of my public love declaration, I thought I would share it:
My anchor, my love
keeping my feet on solid ground,
and my soul bound to hope
during the tempest of this life.
You did not let me drift away on winds of despair
or get crushed by desperate, doubting waves.
Ominous, dreadful clouds of pain and suffering
did not break your hold on me.
You stood firm and secure even as we were pulled, pushed and pressed in every direction.
You kept me tethered to the foundation of truth until the winds slowed, the waves subsided and the clouds floated away…
until we could see the clear night sky and the breaking of a new dawn,
my anchor, my love.
Thank you, my love, for filling my life with laughter and kisses, and for always holding me up with those great arms of yours!
Note: For those of you who don’t have a Ryan in your life, I pray that his example can do for you what it does for me: turn our eyes upon Jesus. Jesus is the reason that we have the hope of salvation that is “an anchor for the soul, firm and secure” (Hebrews 6:19).