What Our Marriage is Built Upon


Ole Hanson Beach Club | August 21, 2010

Today, my wife and I celebrate our nine-year wedding anniversary. This marks 17 years knowing each other, 15 years dating, and 9 years marriage.

Each year with her is a gift of which I am increasingly thankful for. Proverbs 18:22 has proven true with each anniversary, “He who finds a wife finds a good thing, and obtains favor from the Lord.” Chawna is my good thing, a token of God’s favor toward me.

In our marriage, we have made a habit of reading through our wedding vows with each passing anniversary. Our vows are very special to us not only because they are the promises our marriage stands on, but also because they encapsulate our best understanding of what God calls us to be for one another. In creating our vows, Chawna and I did our best to scour the Scriptures for what God calls husbands to be and do for their wives and vice verse. Rereading our vows refreshes us in what God calls each of us to be.

So, this year, upon Chawna’s permission, I thought it would be fun to share our vows with whomever would like to read them. We hope they bless you as they do us.

My Vows to Chawna 

I, Dana take you, Chawna, to be my beautiful wedded wife and I promise before God, His Holy Church and all His Creation that…

I will make every effort to be used by God to make you more like His Great Son Jesus Christ, Our Savior and Lord.

I will labor to bring you happiness all the days of my life.

I will strive to lead our family to the heart of the Holy Trinity where there is unity undivided, peace undisturbed and love unsearchable.

I will sacrifice to put your needs before my own, honoring you as a daughter of the King.

I will protect you with all my might and power.

I will fight to provide all that you need even if it means I go without

I will love you with Christ as my example. As He has given Himself for you, so will I. As He has sought your growth in holiness, so will I. As He fights to protect you, so will I. As He cherishes and loves you, so will I.

Chawna’s Vows to Me

I, Chawna take you, Dana, to be my wedded husband and I promise before God, His Holy Church and all His Creation that…

I will be faithful to you all the days of my life.

I will respect you and keep an attitude of submission in everything as you submit to Christ.

I will strive to be the helper God has created me to be as I support, encourage, and serve you so you may be the man God has created you to be.

I will labor to bring you good and never harm as I walk beside you.

I will freely give of myself for your benefit all the days of my life.

I will labor to make our house a home; where peace is known, love is given, and Christ is honored.

I will love you with Christ as my example. As He has given Himself for you, so will I. As He has sought your growth in holiness, so will I. As He cherishes and loves you, so will I.

Nine years ago we promised these things to each other. Nine years later, they still guide, instruct, encourage, and correct us. These are the promises that fuel our love, guide our lives, and anchor our marriage. These are the vows our marriage is built upon. By the grace of God in Jesus Christ, these are the vows that will steer us in the years to come.

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Best Quotes from The Tattooist of Auschwitz

I recently enjoyed The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris.

Here are some of my favorite quotes. Please note, I don’t necessarily agree with all the below quotes, but find them helpful, intriguing, or illustrative of certain ideas or points of view.

“The tattooing has taken only seconds . . . He grasped his arm staring at the number. ‘How can someone do this to another human being?'”

“His breath catches in his throat. He presses his back against the building as the officers pass him . . . As they disappear into the darkness, Lale make a vow to himself, “I will live to leave this place. I will walk out a free man. If there is a hell, I will see these murderers burn in it.”

“”Do you have a sister?’ asked Lale. ‘Yea. Two.’ answered Baretzky. ‘Is how you treat a girl the way you want other men to treat your sister?’ ‘If anyone does that to my kid sisters, I’d kill them.’ Baretsky pulls his pistol from his holster and fires several shots into the air. ‘I’d kill them!'”

“Lale’s mother sat down and he took a seat across from her. ‘You must first learn to listen to her, even if you’re tired. Never be too tired to listen to what she has to say. Learn what she likes and more importantly what she doesn’t like. When you can, give her little treats: flowers, chocolates. Women like these things.”

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Best Quotes from The Silent Patient

I recently enjoyed The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides.

Here are some of my favorite quotes. Please note, I don’t necessarily agree with all the below quotes, but find them helpful, intriguing, or illustrative of certain ideas or points of view.

“When we have sex, I always feel an insatiable hunger for him. For a kind of union between us. Something that’s bigger than me, bigger than us. Beyond words. For something that’s holy.”

“We’ve talked about this before, haven’t we? About fireworks. About love. About how we often mistake love for fireworks? For drama and dysfunction? But real love is very quiet. Very still. It’s boring if seen  from the perspective of high drama. Love is deep and calm and constant.”

“Remember, love that doesn’t include honesty doesn’t deserve to be called love.”

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Best Quotes From Natchez Burning

I recently enjoyed Greg Iles novel, Natchez Burning.

Here are some of my favorite quotes. Please note, I don’t necessarily agree with all the below quotes, but find them helpful, intriguing, or illustrative of certain ideas or points of view.

“If a man is forced to choose between the truth and his father, only a fool chooses the truth. A great writer said that and for a long time I agreed with him . . . But, put into practice, this adage could cloak almost any sin . . . Perhaps we expect too much of our fathers. Nothing frightens me more than the faith in my daughter’s eyes. How many men deserve that kind of trust. One by one, the mentors I’ve most admired eventually revealed chinks in their armor, cracks in their facades, and tired feet of clay or worse.”

“He didn’t blame Peggy for their rather perfunctory sex life. He blamed her parents and the long line of ancestors who had blindly embraced repressive strains of Christianity with their puritanical separation of body and spirit. The equation of pleasure with shame and the near deification of guilt. All that had led to generations of frustrated, lying men and guilt-ridden women.”

“The faith of children is an awesome thing to behold. If only we could all be worthy of it.”

“Pen would learn the most painful of laws in his own time. If a man lived long enough, his past would always overtake him. No matter how fast he ran or how morally he tried to live subsequently. And how men dealt with that law ultimately revealed their true natures.”

“Men are men and gods are for story books. And if you read your Edith Hamilton or Jane Harrison or the Old Testament for that matter, you’d know that gods acted like men most of the time or worse.”

“Forgiving somebody doesn’t mean they shouldn’t pay a price for what they’d done. That’s God’s business. Hating somebody just poisons you, not them.”

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Best Quotes From Outliers

I recently read the much appreciated and discussed book, The Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell.

Here are some of my favorite quotes and ideas. Please note, I don’t necessarily agree with all the below quotes, but find them helpful, intriguing, or illustrative of certain ideas or points of view.

“Living a long life, the conventional wisdom said at the time, depended to a great extent on who we were — that is, our genes. It depended on the decisions people made — on what they chose to eat, and how much they chose to exercise, and how effectively they were treated by the medical system. No one was used to thinking about health in terms of community.

Wolf and Bruhn had to convince the medical establishment to think about health . . . in an entirely new way: they had to get them to realize that you couldn’t understand why someone was healthy if all you did was think about their individual choices or actions in isolation. You had to look beyond the individual. You had to understand what culture they were a part of, and who their friends and families were, and what town . . . their family came from. You had to appreciate the idea that community — the values of the world we inhabit and the people we surround ourselves with — has a profound effect on who we are.”

“People don’t rise from nothing. We do owe something to parentage and patronage. The people who stand before kings may look like they did it all by themselves. But in fact they are invariable the beneficiaries of hidden advantages and extraordinary opportunities and cultural legacies that allow them to learn and work hard and make sense of the world in ways others cannot.”

“Practice isn’t the thing you do once you’re good It’s the thing you do that makes you good.”

“Superstar lawyers and math whizzes and software entrepreneurs appear at first blush to lie outside ordinary experience. But they don’t. They are products of history and community, of opportunity and legacy. Their success is not exceptional or mysterious. It is grounded in a web of advantages and inheritances, some deserved, some not, some earned, some just plain lucky – but all critical to making them who they are. The outlier, in the end, is not an outlier at all.”

“Successful people don’t do alone. Where they come from matters. they are products of particular places and environments.”

“The values of the world we inhabit and the people we surround ourselves with have a profound effect on who we are.”



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Hello, I Am Your Idol

It’s easy for the word idol to seem irrelevant; a bygone concept belonging only to pagan people of history. Idols and idolatry don’t have anything to do with modern folks like us. We’re past that. We’re secular. We’re enlightened. We don’t live our lives centered on silly little gods who are destined to fail us.

Now, all that’s easy to believe, only if you completely misunderstand the concept of an idol.

A Letter From Your Idol

To help clear that up, Nicholas McDonald wrote a letter to you from the perspective of your very own, personal idol.

Do yourself a favor and make sure you read all the way to the very last line.

Hello. I am an idol.

Don’t be afraid, it’s just me. I notice you’re turned off by my name: “Idol.”

It’s okay. I get that a lot.

Allow me to rename myself.

I’m your family.

Your bank account.

Your sex life.

The people who accept you.

Your career.

Your self-image.

Your ideal spouse.

Your law-keeping.

I’m whatever you want me to be.

I’m what you think about while you drive on the freeway.

I’m your anxiety when you lay your head on the pillow.

I’m where you turn when you need comfort.

I’m what your future cannot live without.

When you lose me, you’re nothing.

When you have me, you’re the center of existence.

You look up to those who have me.

You look down on those who don’t.

You’re controlled by those who offer me.

You’re furious at those who keep you from me.

When I make a suggestion to you, you’re compelled.

When you cannot gratify me, I consume you.

No—I cannot see you, or hear you, or speak back to you.

But that’s what you like about me.

No—I am never quite what you think I am.

But that’s why you keep coming back.

And no—I don’t love you.

But I’m there for you, whenever you need me.

What am I?

I think you know by now.

You tell me.

For more about idolatry, see Tim Keller’s incredible message below or pick up his book, Counterfeit Gods.

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6 Reasons Why Reading the Whole Bible Should Excite You

In thinking about 2019, I have a hope for you, my beloved reader. I hope you read the whole Bible in 2019.

Before you let feelings of guilt and anxiety arise, know this this isn’t a whip crack to duty, but an invitation to delight. Reading the whole Bible is not burden, but blessing. Here are six reasons why.

1) It Will Make You Read More Often

Having a Bible reading plan of some kind (see here for loads of plans) will help you read the Bible more regularly than you would if you didn’t have a plan. I have seen it with students and I have seen it in myself. I am far more motivated when I know what I am to read that day than if I just intend to flip around randomly until something catches my eye. Reading the day’s section of Scripture is much more exciting than playing another round of Bible roulette. Having some kind of plan should excite you because it most likely will mean more frequent and consistent receiving God’s Word.

2) It Will Introduce You to Undiscovered Sections of Scripture

For many Christians, there are still major sections of the Bible they haven’t yet been introduced to. In a sense, these sections of Scripture are unopened letters from their King. They’re unexamined treasures! They’re unheard words with unheard messages. These unread passages should excite you like unexplored terrain would an adventurer. Make a plan to read all the words of Your King. Don’t let 2019 be another year where major sections of God’s life-giving Word are still left locked away between unopened, crinkly pages.

3) It Will Surprise You

I don’t care if you have read the Bible a hundred times through already, it always surprises. Each time I begin reading through the Bible I find myself frequently taken back by freshly realizing some truth I had yet to uncover in God’s Word or, as more often happens, I am freshly convicted or comforted by some truth I had already known, but held loosely. Regardless if it is new truths found or old truths reapplied, reading through the Bible will bring surprise after surprise to the Godward heart.

4) It Will Change You

The Apostle Paul once exhorted the Colossian church,

Since…you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.” Colossians 3:1-2

You see, we Christians are supposed to live looking down, but up. Our spiritual necks are designed to be cranked upward. For the Christian, the most significant realities are not the ones we see, but the ones we don’t (see 2 Cor. 4:18). However, this is near impossible if we are not coming to God’s Word and having our reality informed by Him. If we are never in God’s Word then we are never exposed to the unseen realities of the gospel. If we are never pouring through the thin, tissue-like pages of our Bibles then we will not have our hearts or eyes in heaven. God’s Word alone gets our eyes looking up. A Bible reading plan will help you live 2019 like a citizen of the heaven and not of the earth.

5) It Will Nourish You

Romans 10:17 says, “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.” In commenting on this passage, Steve Fuller illustrates,

“Many mornings I’m tempted not to seek God because my faith feels weak. But that’s like not going to the doctor because my body feels sick. Just like doctors heal sick bodies, so God strengthens weak faith, as we hear his word. Weak faith is like a weak battery. But God’s word is a battery charger. So when your faith is weak, open his word, and plug in your weak faith. God promises that as you do that, he will recharge you.”

God’s Word is your spiritual refrigerator filled with endless, soul nourishing food. Open, take, and feast.

6) It Just Makes Sense

God has spoken to us fully and finally through His Son Jesus Christ (Hebrews 1:1-3) and has recorded all His beautiful revelation in the Bible through the Spirit’s ministry (2 Timothy 3:16) so that His people would be fully prepared to do all His holy will in all their holy lives (2 Timothy 3:17). God has spoken through Jesus and has, through the Holy Spirit, written it all down for us to receive, live by, and entrust ourselves to. A Bible reading plan is simply a proper response to such a wonderful gift.

I hope you will seriously consider engaging a Bible reading plan for 2019. Only joy awaits.

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