Can I Get a Witness?

After six years and many miles on my first, I just bought a second pair of Chaco sandals. If you know Chaco sandals, you are already nodding your head in approval. In you don’t know about them, think open-toed sport sandal as durable as a tank with the comfort and support to walk across Europe without even thinking of your feet.

There is one downside to them: Chacos tend to come with an exceptionally long strap that, when tightened, ends up dragging the ground as if your sandals have a tail.

Thanks to a tip from a shoe guy, I took my new sandals to a seamstress who cut and sewed the straps on each shoe to a likable length.

Aren’t you happy for me?

Actually, I don’t expect you to care. And that is precisely why I write.

But one person does care about my humble little sandal victory: my wife.

No, she is not turning somersaults or popping champagne. She probably hasn’t even thought about it since I first shared. But when I did tell her, she listened and smiled. She might have even mustered up a “that’s great.” She only cared because I cared, but for me that was enough.

In the movie “Shall We Dance,” Beverly Clark shares her thoughts on why people get married, “We need a witness to our lives. There’s a billion people on the planet…I mean, what does any one life really mean? But in a marriage, you’re promising to care about everything. The good things, the bad things, the terrible things, the mundane things…all of it, all of the time, every day. You’re saying ‘Your life will not go unnoticed because I will notice it. Your life will not go un-witnessed because I will be your witness.’”

Scripture says it another way, “It is not good for man to be alone…”

Whether you are married or not, the longing to have someone else validate your existence resides deep within you. Are you aware of this ache in your heart? It’s called loneliness. And it’s a good and terrible thing. It can be the most excruciating of emotions, to feel the reality of isolation. It can also be the catalyst which incites you to admit your heart needs a witness to its existence. When you do this, you accept loneliness as a God-given gift. While it hurts much more than a string around a finger, it serves the same purpose: to remind us we are made to be seen and known by another heart and pair of eyes.

Nike ran an advertisement a number of years ago marketing Lebron James with the tagline, “We are all witnesses.” Witnesses, I presume, to his greatness, talents, and skills which draw comparisons to the greatest basketball players who have ever dribbled. If you take Nike’s advice, one day you will tell your grandkids you were a witness. You saw. You experienced. You were transformed by Lebron.

Can you picture your spouse in the same light? Can you see him or her soaring across the front of a Nike t-shirt, defying gravity in a pair of red high-top shoes? And maybe no one else would buy the shirt. But perhaps that is what marriage is: the chance to see and be seen by someone whom no one else will connect with or appreciate at such a depth. Marriage is to look at your spouse, smile, and proclaim, “I am a witness.”

Photo Copyright: maridav / 123RF Stock Photo


Luke Brasel writes about relationships, intimacy, parenting, and Christian spirituality. He is passionate about the intersection of theology and the human heart. He has a counseling practice in Nashville, TN where he helps people follow their pain to understand their story and recover their heart. When he is not counseling, teaching, or writing, he is learning more about life and love from his wife and twin daughters. You can read his blog at and follow him on Twitter.

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