Today is Robbie and my 3-year anniversary. On the one hand, it seems like it has absolutely flown by at lightning speed, and on the other hand, it feels like we’ve been married for 10 years because of how full these last few years have been. Nonetheless, it’s been wonderful, and I have fallen more and more in love with him every year!
This year is so significant as we become parents, and I am really looking forward to that season and adding a new little one to our family. :)
Here’s some of my fav photos over the years of me and my man! Happy Anniversary, babe!
Today is my husband’s birthday, and for a couple years now (since he turned 30), we’ve had an ongoing joke about him being “old”. Obviously, we are joking, and if I am really honest, I am very much looking forward to my 30’s.
Today we celebrate Robbie, though, and I thought it would be nice to write a little about why I think he’s so wonderful.
Robbie and I first became good friends when we did our Phase 1 together about 5 years ago. We had fun together and had similar interests. I don’t think we were on each others’ radars prior to that. (Disclaimer: there was a brief moment on my DTS when Robbie was emceeing something or speaking at Live, and I remember thinking, “Hmm…he’s a really good communicator. That’s kind of attractive…” The thought didn’t go anywhere from there for another year, but alas, I had to fess up to that early attraction).
As he started liking me, praying and processing with God about me and walking that out, I got to observe more and more of his character, which pretty quickly led me to liking him, praying and processing with God about him and walking that out. We were staffing a school together, and as such, we were spending quite a bit of time around each other. I remember at one point through the journey thinking this was so hard and crying out to God about how challenging it all was. God quickly reminded me about how I had asked for a “cool story” and cool stories aren’t easy.
When he asked me to be his girlfriend at the end of that year, I was so sure of what God had spoken and done through the whole process, and I honestly hope that for everyone getting into a relationship. We dated for a year, got engaged on our 1-year anniversary and married 3 months later. To say the rest is history would be entirely false, though, because I’ve learned more and grown to love Robbie more since this. What everyone says about loving someone more down the line than when you’re first together or first married – truth. Absolute gold. Hold onto that.
Over these nearly 3 years that we’ve been married, Robbie has been a wonderful husband. He is absolutely my best friend in the world, and we have so much fun together. I could list all the incredible husband qualities and such, but I want to speak more to what I observe of him and his leadership and influence.
Robbie is an incredible communicator. Some could say I am biased, but honestly, I think most people would agree. He’s clever and funny but packs a punch with his words that comes from an understanding and revelation of God. Sometimes when he speaks at church or on the base, I am blown away and find myself thinking, “Yep…that’s my husband.” #proudwife
Robbie is a man of perseverance and dedication. When we first got together, he had just taken on his role that he’s still doing now as the Creative Communications Leader. When he took it on, it was him and one other person. Now, if you know anything about that department from all that we put out on social media, websites, growth, etc. – Robbie’s had a part of that. Obviously he has this amazing team around him, but I think he really has stuck it out, gone the hard yards and believed for incredible results, which we are seeing. #proudwife
Robbie is a personal/relational leader. He’s not fluffy by any means – he will speak truth, even if it’s sometimes challenging for people, but they hear him because they know how much he cares for them. They know he is with them in the journey. I love watching Robbie lead his team, and even as I have started leading people, I’ve often looked at him for a model. He’s stirred up longevity and commitment in his staff, and he is a great vision caster. The way he goes after people and helps them see what can be is incredible. #proudwife
I really hit the jackpot with this man of mine, and I feel so privileged that I get to watch him become a dad this year. I know that he will be an incredible one because he cares so much about seeking after all God has for him and for us as a family. I can’t wait for the next 32 years of Robbie Willingham! Happy Birthday babe!
Robbie and I got engaged in 2011, and after our engagement party night, we went out for coffee with some friends. Robbie asked this married couple, “So lay it on us – what’s your advice on marriage?”
I don’t remember the entire conversation, but the piece of advice the wife spoke that night stuck with me and is still with me today.
“Don’t compare yourself to other couples. Make decisions together, not because other people did it that way.”
It wasn’t even a week later that an opportunity arose for us to do this – to make a decision that was right for us, even if some of our closest friends had made completely different decisions.
This area – comparison – it isn’t just about couples. It’s about everyone, and it’s something that I think because of media (and social media) is quite a prevalent discussion in our culture today.
The Usual Process of Comparison
As I was thinking about this area of comparison today, I was thinking about the process we go through when we compare. Some good things can lend to this common habit of comparing, and it’s discovering where in the process, it turns from those good things to bad ones.
Often it starts off with a simple observation. It can be an observation about someone else – “She has really nice hair” – or an observation of your own self – “I really need to get back into exercise.”
Observing someone’s nice hair or even your own desire for good habits aren’t bad. Those are both nice and ok things to observe.
After you make the observation, though, is often when the opportunity to compare begins. “My hair could never look that nice.” “Sally has a great exercise routine everyday when she trains for marathons! She’s really fit!”
We determine, negatively or positively, our course of action based off of what someone else is doing.
I want to make a point here that it can be negative or positive. Collaboration, sharing ideas, pinterest – I have no issues with these at all, and in fact, within the right framework, they are incredible ways to learn and grow from other people. We should be doing that.
So how do we know if we are just collaborating and sharing good ideas or if we are determining our course of action based on someone else’s?
I think peace or anxiety are good indicators to help us to discover where we are at in the comparison game.
A beautiful friend of mine! Sometimes we make similar decisions and sometimes we don’t, and we are both OK!
As an example, in my original story up top, I did not feel peace at the beginning. I felt quite anxious actually. I had some very dear friends to me, friends I respected and admired, who had made certain decisions, and because I respected and admired them, I put this pressure on myself that I had to make those same decisions.
We can laugh at the old saying, “If your friend jumps off a bridge, does that mean you will too?” but I find that although that example is quite extreme, there is truth, albeit subtle, in that compare/follow process.
After feeling that anxiety and sense of striving with a particular decision, I received that piece of advice from my friend, and the next day, when the rubber met the road and I had to make a decision, I took a step back. I took a breath, and I reminded myself that my own decision in this area is ok, and in fact, it was good and right.
It didn’t make my friends’ decisions any less right, but because I made the decision out of my own prayer with God and with Robbie, it was right for us.
I think comparison is a topic that could fill an entire blog, but one of the most simple revelations I had through this little piece of advice was that I was ok making my own decisions. I was responsible for the decisions I made. I was the one who had to feel the anxiety, or in this case, feel the peace.
“Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.” Galatians 1:10
What are the biggest areas you see comparison taking hold of our culture? What do you do when you find yourself comparing?