This past week, I would guestimate that I was in several thousand pictures and videos. Lisa and I were at Hilton Head Island, South Carolina with our kids, and while we do take a bunch of pictures each vacation (Lisa’s still trying to get that perfect family photo on the beach), we probably only took a hundred or so pics on our own. So why was I in thousands more photos and videos?
Obviously, we live in a digital age. With smart phones everywhere, virtually everybody carries a camera and video camera with them at all times, ready to capture that perfect moment of silliness, sweetness, fun, adventure, or even embarrassment. So, whether it was a parent wanting to capture their baby’s first experience at the beach, or teens acting goofy in the ice cream shop, or a honeymooning couple taking a selfie at a restaurant, or a child’s excitement at looking off the top of the lighthouse, I was in the background of hundreds upon hundreds of pictures and videos. In a very real sense, we are all background players and extras in other people’s world.
So why is that important? Because in every photo that I show up in, I communicated something about my marriage, about the love and respect I give to Lisa, whether or not I put my wife first, and most significantly, where God is within our relationship. I can live with being the stranger in the background who people laugh at because I have a goofy expression, or because I’m falling down, or because I have something on my face. But I don’t ever want to be the guy in the background who is yelling at his wife, or ignoring her, or being disrespectful and selfish.
I don’t want to be mindful of the image that I am (literally) projecting just for the sake of others thinking I am a good guy. I want to do it because I want my love for my spouse to flow from the very core of who I am. I want her to know that whether we believe someone else is watching or not, she can be confident that I will be intentionally kind, and patient, and loving, and joyful, and forgiving, and responsible, and honest, and caring, and gentle, and peaceful with her. I want every projection of my marriage to say something about our relationship, but also about our life in Christ. When people see me and Lisa together, whether it is talking to friends face-to-face, or as the background players in a photo or video, we want them to see Christ in us, lived out in our marriage relationship. After all, that is the call of Christian marriage—to use our marriage to show Christ to the world through how we love and interact with our spouses.
I’m a background player, an extra in someone else’s life—and so are you. But you get to choose what you convey about your spouse, your marriage, and Christ’s redeeming love with every picture you show up in.