I said “I do” to the woman of my dreams. I’m really, really, really glad that for some crazy reason, she reciprocated.
Melissa and I met in the ministry—she was an Iowa farm girl who had been teaching second-graders in South Bend, Indiana. She answered a call to serve in the newly-formed Revive Our Hearts radio outreach of Life Action Ministries. I was a young pastor from Ohio and an aspiring writer who was just getting involved in Revive magazine (then called Spirit of Revival).
Our first date was at a Mexican restaurant (a date we repeat frequently, by the way). Five months later? We were tying the knot and moving to Florida. A few years later? We’d served in two churches and begun the journey of foster parenting in Ohio. And a few years after that? Seven children to raise, exciting work to do, a beautiful place to live in Michigan, and plenty yet to accomplish.
It’s been fun, it’s been fast-paced, and at least from our perspective, it’s been filled with purpose.
And for us, that last part is a big deal. We’ve always wanted our relationship to be purposeful—to really accomplish something important for God. We’d met far too many people who, after a brief flame of love, ended up in permanent “survival mode” or who just lived with a “let’s work for retirement” mindset. We wanted more than that, and we got married because we thought we could have more than that.
I knew Melissa was the one for me when I realized something big about life’s purpose. I realized I could fulfill it with her—and better with her than without her!
The light bulb went on: “We could really help each other tackle God’s mission for life!”
And so, the anticipated day arrived, and for better or for worse, we were married. The purpose of our lives didn’t change that day, but our purpose pronouns absolutely did.
Because for any of this to really work—for all the mushy-gushy, lovey-dovey talk to actually add up to purpose—something fundamental would have to change for both of us. “ME” would have to flip over and become “WE.” “Mine” would have to become “Ours.”
The moment I put a ring on the finger of my new bride, it was no longer about “my gifts” or “my dreams” or “my ministry” or “my work for the Lord.” All of the “my’s” of life suddenly became “ours.” Our dreams. Our burdens. Our money. Our time. Our friends. Our mission.
Changing those purpose pronouns has made all the difference; in fact, it’s one of the most important ways we can demonstrate oneness together.
So, a few encouragements:
If you aren’t married, get immersed in the type of work God wants you to do, the calling He has placed on your life. That’s the best way to find the best one—live your mission now, and see who ends up living it with you.
If you are married, take a moment to thank God for your spouse. Remember all the crazy reasons you fell in love? Yeah, that actually happened!
But your marriage isn’t just about love—it’s about destiny. You have to have purpose in the midst of your passion, and that’s where changing your pronouns can help. Perhaps you could start by praying:
What priorities do You want us to maintain, Lord? What good works do You have in mind for us? What mission should we be preparing for, together?
Dan Jarvis is the Managing Editor of Revive magazine.