Sunday, March 6, 2011

The perfect marriage...

Dear reader,

I was looking through my photo library last night, focused on pictures of my beautiful wife. I came across the above photo and I noticed something I've never noticed before, Sara and I are wearing the exact same colors, just in reverse and, believe it or not, it's a pure coincidence. It got me thinking about our marriage, about this blog, and some of the comments and emails I've received from people. More than one person has made the observation that we had the perfect marriage. Perfect may be stretching it a bit. We had a great marriage, a wonderful marriage, and a blessed marriage; however, I could fill pages with all the things I did wrong that kept it from being a "perfect" marriage.

Much as we are dressed in this picture, Sara and I were opposites, even in our sameness. We really didn’t share many of the same interests; our passions were often very divergent. The colors of our lives may have been the same, but the layers were definitely different.

  • Sara loved gardens and flowers…I always felt like grass was easier to maintain.
  • I love to ride my motorcycle…Sara had no interest in feeling the wind in that way.
  • Sara liked HGTV…I like ESPN.
  • If we went somewhere on vacation, I wanted to see the sights...Sara wanted to curl up with a good book in the warm sunshine.
  • I argued…Sara listened.

The list is a lot longer than that, but you get the idea. So, what was it that worked for us? We both believed the other was a gift from God.  That the most important part of love was choosing to love each other, even when we didn’t feel “it.” Even when we got angry at each other, couldn’t stand to be in the same room, couldn’t even talk to each other, it was the choice of love that would eventually bring us back together. Love fueled not by some chemical reaction in the brain, not based solely on physical attraction, but by the simple belief that we could choose to love each other because God loved us.

Did we ever get bored…yes; but, we could change it with a choice.
Did we ever fight…yes; but, we could fix it with a choice.
Did we always see eye to eye…no; but, we could choose the common ground.

It’s no big secret, it’s not out of your reach, it wasn’t out of ours…and for 15 years it worked wonderfully.



  1. I read your entire blog today like a book (and maybe one day it could be). It truely is a beautiful story of God's riches and the grief this world brings us. Though I didn't realize the timing of it being exactly a month since I origially heard of your story. As a parent, I can't even imagine what you've been and are going through. I wish I could help you carry your grief. Instead, I will continue to pray and lift you into much more capable Hands.

  2. Chad,
    Thank you. We too have been told that our marriage of 23 years seems perfect and yet since reading your blog i find myself looking more at the color of his eyes, the pattern of his hands etc. In the greatness of your loss please know that the Lord is using you to reach thousands of others turning them toward Him in their personal lives as well enriching their marriages. I pray for you to be strengthened day by day and that you may continue by God's grace to say, "The Lord gave and the Lord hath taken away...blessed be the name of the Lord."
    Wishing you strength,

  3. Chad, I have been reading your blog for weeks now. Sometimes when I am doing the dishes or other day-to-day items I find myself wondering what you are doing, how you are doing. Please know that you are being prayed for and thought of from so many complete strangers that you will never meet.

    Your story, Sara's story, Miranda's story has touched many hearts.

    Thank you for this particular post. My husband and I could of written the same post...the difference is that we have not had to experience what you have the past month. May you continue to feel God's arms holding you, supporting you.

  4. Chad, I have been reading your blog for a few weeks now and I just want you to know that through out my day I find myself praying for you and wondering how you are doing. You have touched so many lives with your story. I hope you can find comfort in your writing it is beautiful!!

  5. Chad, Thank you for this post. I think that far to often people look at just the surface of other's marriages and think that they are perfect, only the two that are married know the "struggles" they face each day. I am so happy that God blessed you and Sara with 15 wonderful years together, and am so heartbroken that it was taken away so suddenly. You two had a love so great, one that you knew came from God and one that you knew you chose eachother! That is very special, and I can only hope that someday I will find that kind of love, one that eventhough you have to work at it everyday, in its own way really is "perfect". It looks and sounds like you and Sara complimented eachother so well, and didn't mind putting the "work" into your marriage.

    I continue to think of you, your family, and Sara's family, and I also continue to bring you all before the feet of our most gracious Lord. I pray daily that you will all feel his comfort and his peace, that it may wash over you. I read your new updates, and although I don't comment each time I just want you to know that I still pray. I hope that you find some comfort in the fact that thousands of people that don't know you, your brothers and sisters in Christ are upholding you in prayer.

  6. I have posted before Chad. I still think of you daily. Today at church listening to the message, riding around in my car, doing laundry or dishes. I pray for you, I am sad for you, and I am in awe of you. You have such a great faith and I believe in God and I had thought I had great faith. I wonder though when I read your words, if I could be as strong as you. You are an incredible man of faith and character.

    Your post about marriage is absolutely correct. Thank you again, for reminding me how precious our time and choices here on this Earth are.

  7. went back thru your blog, and clicked on the link to Up North-the photos of sunsets and bridges and lanes and roads struck me as journeys and stages of life. Your wife has the most beautiful smile, the pic of her and the wooden horse portrays much of what you have told us about Sara, I thought about that tender, loving (mom smile) now focused on your little girl in heaven and on you here on earth

  8. Chad,
    A friend sent me the link to your blog right after the accident. I posted it on our blog and facebook page to ask for prayers for your family. I know the Lord was listening to those prayers, even if it seems so terribly hard to understand now. You don't know us at all, but please know that we have been praying for you, Sara, and Miranda daily and trusting that God's purpose will be revealed. I was reading these verses and was encouraged...Romans 8:28
    And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. [29] For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. [30] And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.
    Romans 8:38
    For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, [39] nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
    (Romans 8:38-39 ESV)
    Your family in Christ, The Carlsons

  9. You are an overcomer! Praise God for your faith!

  10. Thank you for your encouragement on marriage! It's always good to hear. Praying for you!

  11. Chad,
    Your words touch me every day but this post brought tears to my eyes. God placed a beautiful man in my life a little over 7 months ago. It has been a journey. One that I am very thankful for but also one that I feel is a blessing.

    This post put into words everything I believe about my relationship. M and I are very different - we have different views on many different things; we both like different things - but it works. And I believe, as you believed, that God placed him in my life.

    Thank you for sharing your life, feelings and journey.

    May God continue to bless you.

  12. Makes me realize that I tend to take my loved one for granted. Life gets so busy w/ the day to day things that life throws our way....and I forget to stop and smell the roses.
    This past week I realized I had not stopped and thanked my husband for his hard work that he does @ work and the love and support he gives me and his boys even though he's had a hard day @ work, that I appreciate the fact that he leaves his work problems @ work and comes home with a great attitude even IF he has had a bad day.
    I will definitely be making an effort to let my husband know how much I appreciate him as a husband and a father. We all need some stroking to know we are appreciated.

    Chad, as you stated that "you and Sara were opposites"...but yet I see you both fit like a glove.

    God bless you and thinking about you.

  13. Chad,

    You are such a remarkable man. You never stop amazing me. To take time out to encourage the rest of us when you are in such pain. I have been reading 'What Did You Expect??' by Paul David Tripp and I've thought more than once, I wonder if Chad 'learned' something like this or if it just came naturally to you since your priorities are in order.

    Your words have been such an inspiration to me. I wish I could more in return. I hope knowing that so many are praying for you and benefiting from your wisdom comforts you just a little bit.

  14. Hello Chad,
    Funny, but I think this is my first post to you. I have been reading your blog for only a few weeks now, but when I read this posting, I had to tell you how it brought back memories for me.
    I lost my husband Dec. 26,2008 suddenly from a massive heart attack. John had never been sick a day from the time we met in 2003. We married in 2004 and I too felt we had a marriage like yours. Not perfect, but perfect for me.
    The day we first met, John and I were dressed alike as well! This makes me smile today. I didn't think that day would ever come again. We both wore, denim shirts over a yellow shirt, and jeans. We often laughed about that, saying it was our sign that we were meant to be. OH, and we were so meant to be.
    I wish I had the kindness you do and the assurance that we were blessed by God. Even after a little over 26 months, I still find that I am angry with God at times. I am not as gracious as you. I admire that in you, especiallly with your loss being so recent and double the loss.
    I am truely VERY sorry for your losses. You have lost the two most important people in ones life, and my heart aches for you. I am sending hugs to you. Lorry

  15. Someone else wrote that he/she finds him/herself praying for you at different intervals throughout any given day. I frequently find myself wondering how you are making it through today. Grief is a very personal thing but, hopefully it helps to know ,in the most loneliest of moments,(calming yourself in a bathroom, maybe} people are thinking of you and praying for you. Having lost someone myself, I dislike the phrase "It will get easier" and prefer the phrase "One day the grief will feel less foreign" Hold tight and keep putting one foot in front of the other.

  16. I don't know when you will feel unbroken, but I pray that that day comes for you. I pray that you will be happy and have joy again in your life. I know, as a wife and a mother, that your wife and daughter want that for you too.

  17. What a nice photo. Hubby and I camped alot, hiked alot when we were younger so it made me smile and remember those times.

    We often, unintentially wore flip colors. He might have red on top and tan on the bottom and I've the reverse. We never planned it, but like you it happened. He'd laugh, and say...oh no we look like twins. lol

    We are very opposite. He's a numbers cruncher, I'm a bit of an artist. He likes sports, I like the history channel. He uses a computer at work so doesn't much enjoy using one at home. I LOVE my computer. He likes noise, loud music, I like peace.

    But, a cross stitch I did long long ago says it. Something I believe you can relate to. "Choose thy Love, and Love they Choice".

    You are in my thoughts,

  18. Thank you for writing about your choices in marriage. I have been reading your blog for awhile. I have cried and cried after reading your words. I have felt ashamed because you have lost so much and I sit here wanting more. I have a husband and three beautiful children but I still feel so empty when it comes to the relationship between my husband and I. I know he loves me but he just does not show it. I am always wanting more when it comes to my marriage. From this day forward though I am going to remember your words about choices.


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