I first met Danny Silk when I was 23 and living in LA. He came to town for 2 days, shared a couple thoughts at a small gathering on how to truly love people, and completely changed my paradigm on relationships. Five years later—post-ring and babies—I picked up a book he authored about raising kids called Loving on Purpose. He, once again, offered a better way to think about what it means to love and it changed mine and Analee’s entire approach to parenting.
I think Danny’s understanding of relationships and the practicality with which he talks about love is unrivaled in most modern thinkers. That’s why when I recently asked 25 leaders for their best piece of marriage advice, Danny was on my short list.
If you haven’t seen it, I published these 25 pieces of advice in a free eBook called Marriage Hacks. The following 2 minute read is Danny’s short, but brilliant, contribution to the book about how marriage isn’t just a one time choice. Hope it helps…
It was June 16th, 1984—my wedding day. The main event had arrived at last.
Sheri, my bride, faced me as we stood between Pastor Bill Johnson and our guests, ready to pledge lifelong devotion and love to one another. Moments before, Bill and his wife, Beni, had sung a beautiful duet, preparing a perfect atmosphere for the exchange of solemn vows. Then Bill turned to me and began to ask the old, weighty questions, leading me through the promises to be faithful through sickness and health, for richer or poorer, till death do us part.
Finally, Bill asked me,
“Do you choose Sheri as your wife for as long as you shall live?”
Little did I know the significance of what I had just said.
Like anyone else on his or her wedding day, I really had no idea what I was signing up for when I chose Sheri. Only as I journeyed through the first twelve years of our marriage, which challenged and invited me to hold to that choice again and again, in the most difficult of circumstances, would I come to understand that speaking these words had ushered me into the test of a lifetime.
We echoed this language later in our wedding ceremony, when we exchanged rings. After I put the gold band on Sheri’s finger, Bill asked me to repeat a further set of vows.
“My chosen, Sheri,” he began, “with this ring I commit my life to you…”
“My chosen, Sheri.”
To this day, I use this phrase to communicate my most intimate and devoted message to my wife. Every time she hears these three words, she lights up. It’s as though I have pumped fresh blood into the connection we established on that day nearly thirty years ago, easing her anxieties and administering a life-giving dose of comfort, affection, and security to her heart.
These words remind her that I not only chose her on our wedding day, but that I also continued to choose her—even through the rough early years of our marriage.
Yes, there were times in those years—too many times—when I wrestled with that choice and how to play it out. I even considered going back on that choice on a few occasions. But each time, I returned to the words I had spoken. I now know that I will always do so, no matter what.
I’ve signed numerous notes and cards with “My chosen, Sheri” to remind her of that choice— and to remind myself as well.
Those words may have ushered me into the test of a lifetime, but they also brought me through it. Holding to them is what taught me to keep on loving, even when everything in me wanted to quit.
The beauty lying right below the surface of these three words is that marriage isn’t just a choice—it’s choosing the same person a million times.
For 24 other brilliant insights like Danny’s, download Marriage Hacks for free now.