Last week I shared 18 Things I Will Not Regret Doing With My Kids, and the time I spent writing that article got me thinking about the fifteen years I’ve been married to Aileen (and the three years before that when we dated). I felt it was only right to think of another eighteen things, and this time to do so in her honor.
Here are 18 things I know I will never regret doing with my wife.
1. Praying with her. It took too long for the two of us to begin to really pray together; even now, we have a long way to go. But we have learned the importance of praying together and never regret the times we spend together before the Lord.
2. Dating her. We have all heard a thousand times how important it is to keep dating, even after getting married. This is easier said than done when the children are young and high-maintenance, but we have found it much easier now that the kids are just a little bit older. I have never regretted these times alone together.
3. Serving with her. While the majority of my relationship with Aileen is lived out face-to-face, we have always worked very well together side-by-side. We’ve planned and executed all kinds of events and programs in the past, and inevitably grow closer as we have done this. I never regret the time we spend serving together.
4. Looking back with her. Some of our sweetest times are spent looking at relics of days gone by—the silly journals we kept when dating, the photos of our wedding, the children when they were infants. Looking back is a genuine pleasure and we never regret that time together, remembering what the Lord has done and where he has brought us.
5. Leading her in love. I am convinced God has called me to lovingly lead my wife. This kind of leadership does not come easy to me, but I know there is a high cost to refusing to take it up. I never regret leading Aileen, when I lead with her good as my goal and with Christ as my model.
6. Buying her flowers. I am fifteen years into marriage and still feel sheepish carrying a bouquet of flowers through a parking lot. But the flowers continue to be special, she continues to love them, I continue to enjoy giving the gift. I will never regret showing love that way.
7. Asking her forgiveness. It is a strange and ugly reality that the person I love most is the person I sin against most often. I have never-ending opportunities to ask her forgiveness. While it requires choking down my pride, I know I will never regret asking her to forgive me when I have sinned against her.
8. Forgiving her. Of course it works both ways, and she sins against me as well. Like me, she can struggle with asking for forgiveness, so when she does ask, I never regret immediately and sincerely forgiving her, and putting that offense out of my mind.
9. Holding her hand. It is so easy to allow what used to be special to become unremarkable and forgotten. Holding hands is one of those sweet habits that can so quickly be lost. I will never regret reaching out and walking with her, hand-in-hand.
10. Planning her hobby time. Aileen gives so much of herself to home and family, but tends to be at her best when she has a hobby to give some of her time and attention to. I never regret the time we carve out to plan how she can give time to the hobbies she loves.
11. Washing her with the Word. The book of Ephesians makes it clear that one of a husband’s joyful responsibilities is washing his wife in the water of God’s Word. As our marriage has progressed we have seen more and more clearly the value and beauty of doing this very thing. I will never regret those times we spend together, hearing from God through his Word.
12. Listening to her. I am far too quick to give my own opinion, to make excuses, to speak without really listening and hearing. But I am learning that I will never regret the times when I patiently listen and allow Aileen to speak without interruption, without interjection, without having me become all defensive.
13. Reading with her. If you want to talk about compatibility within marriage, well, Aileen and I are very incompatible when it comes to the books we love to read. But when we do find one of those books and when we commit to reading it together, I never regret the time or the effort.
14. Delighting in her. In all the sin, stress and strain life can bring, it is so easy to lose that sense of wonder and delight in the gift of a wife. I will never regret thinking about her, thanking God for her, and increasing my delight in her.
15.Enjoying shared interests. One of the first things I did when when I began dating Aileen was learn to like tennis; that was just the first of many interests we learned to enjoy together. I have never regretted learning to enjoy something she loves for her sake and for the sake of our relationship.
16. Worshipping with her. One of my great joys in life is worshipping the Lord side-by-side with the one person I love more than any other. This is a little foretaste of heaven, just a glimpse of eternity, where we will worship him perfectly forever. I never regret prioritizing church and worshipping with Aileen.
17. Getting away with her. We love our family vacations with the five of us sprawled out at the beach or huddled in a cabin. But Aileen and I also find great benefit in vacations alone, whether that is a couple of days somewhere nearby, or a week somewhere far from home. I will never regret interrupting normal life for these sweet times together.
18. Saying I love you. Yes, even the “I love you” can become an empty habit rather than a meaningful declaration. When I pause for just a moment, when I think about what I am saying, that little phrase takes on much greater depth of meaning. I never have and I never will regret looking Aileen in the eyes and saying, “I love you.”
The joy of this list is that I could so easily have come up with another eighteen items, and another eighteen beyond that. The Lord has blessed me so far beyond what I deserve.