Today while getting ready for the day, I happened to think back to 2006. My wife and I were completing our first year of marriage, she was in nursing school and I was starting my second year as a teacher. That fall, we wrote a document entitled The Wakefield Campaign, what can only be described as our family manifesto. In it, we articulated our vision for impact as a couple, and as a future family. We didn’t have any kids at the time, and it would be years before we took steps towards fulfilling any of these lofty aspirations. But that simple exercise set in motion for us the path that we’re now on. It created the purpose for habits and goals that we would later form. It reminded us why God brought us together in the first place.
Now, almost 10 years later as we approach our wedding anniversary (in May), this year is a both a year of nostalgia and growth for us as a family. I look at my daughters, and I think about the commitments that I made to them before I became a father. These commitments, drive my habits and actions. It’s the reason why I make breakfast for everyone in my house daily (and not those fake continental breakfasts, I mean grits, eggs, bacon, that kind of stuff!). It’s the reason why when I drop my daughter off at school, I remind her that she’s a leader, and we talk about how leaders make good choices. It’s the reason why daily we pray with our girls, and expose them to the power of faith. We’re building something here, and it’s so exciting to watch it materialize, in some ways better than we could have imagined.
This commitment to the family and the ministry what we’re building together is what keeps my wife and I here, working hard to strengthen our own relationship. Whenever I hear about couples growing apart, I’m not surprised. It’s the natural course of life, people grow. The real trick is learning to grow together. Embracing the other person as they change, inviting them into your personal journey of growth. The other day my wife got excited when I told her that I like German chocolate cake. Of course I was just kidding, and when I told her she figured as much, but she said she got excited at first because it was an opportunity to learn something new about me. Go figure. Ten years later, we’re still very much the same people, yet we each get excited when we have the chance to discover a new wrinkle in the other’s story.
There’s a saying, begin with the end in mind. I’m a fan of this philosophy. As long as it’s the right end.