I could give lots of reasons for why I asked her to marry me (here's 11), and many more for why I'm glad she did.
We have learned a lot over the past 16 years -- about each other, about our gracious God, and about ourselves. We've learned how selfish we can be, and we've learned that God can transform our minds and hearts. Even more, He transforms our hearts to want to be changed.
If there is one thing we have learned, and are still learning, it's that marriage is not about "fairness." Marriage is about sacrificially putting your spouse first. Marriage is about truly knowing that you are "one flesh" (Genesis 2:24).
Marriage is not 50/50. It's 100/100. It flourishes when both spouses give 100% of who they are, regardless of how they feel and irrespective of return expectations.
Here's what others have to say on this topic:
Jen Pollock Michel (Is This What Love Looks Like?): "Fairness cannot be demanded in marriage. Unfortunately, many refuse this advice, entering marriage today like collective bargaining. . . . The only biblical model for marriage we have isn't equity; it's self-sacrifice."
Philip Holmes (She Is Me): "Refusing to nourish my wife by providing for her is more foolish than not feeding myself. . . . God empowers me to see that she is me, and to love selflessly and sacrificially as I have been loved."
Matt Chandler (The Importance of Marriage): A 12-minute video, worthy of your time. My main take-away: If you want your marriage to stand out in this culture, make sure it's covenantal, not contractual. Here's the video:
Brett and Kate McKay (The Surprising Benefits of Marrying Young): A little off-topic, but applicable since I was 23 when I got married, and Joanna had just turned 25. "My goal with this article is to simply provide some reassurance to the young gents out there who are in their early to mid-twenties, have already met the right person, and feel like they’re ready to get hitched, but are scared to pull the trigger because they’ve heard the constant drumbeat of “Marry young and you’ll regret it!”"
Of course, we should always listen to Paul's words, in his letter to the Ephesian church:
Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body. But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything.
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless. So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself; for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church, because we are members of His body.
For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and shall be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church. Nevertheless, each individual among you also is to love his own wife even as himself, and the wife must see to it that she respects her husband.
Finally, I highly recommend What Did You Expect??, the best marriage book I've ever read.
Happy engagement anniversary, Joanna!