15 Lessons My Saintly Lion Taming Ninja Warrior Wife Has Taught Me

Since we met in 1997 no one on earth has had a bigger impact on me than Jill Erin O’Hara. 

Seventeen short months later we were married. Life hasn’t been the same since that wonderful day, November 28, 1998. 

We’ve served together across the country and around the globe, lived in household with over 70 young adults, been blessed to be foster parents to 13 little ones, and honored to call 4 of them sons as adoptive parents. 

Jill is an unwieldy mash-up of wisdom, grit, beauty, holiness, athleticism, and awkward. I love her to pieces. 

She is my best friend and the greatest wife-mom-magician I’ll ever know. And in honor of Mother’s Day (and our fifteen years of marriage) I wanted to share the 15 most important lessons that I have learned from her, so far. 

1. Love acts. I can hear her thinking “Ryan, your words are nice, but actions speak much much louder. Do something already!”

2. Saving is sexy. She is one frugal son-of-a-gun. And I’m so grateful. 

3. Giving is sexier. She has taught me the joy and freedom of giving generously.

4. A hug is always better than a handshake. Hug and kiss the ones you love, often. 

5. Dare to do great things for God. From sharing the Gospel door-to-door to lifelong ministry to Christian community to foster care and adoption, Jill has challenged me out of my comfort zone. 

6. Ask God for small things too. God is aware of every last need - no matter how insignificant.

7. Fear is for fools. She is absolutely fearless and calls me on in this area big time.

8. Love unreciprocated is just that. She has taught me to love others (especially our sons) regardless of their response. 

9. Don’t over-relate to your emotions. She has taught me that emotions are unreliable indicators of most everything (except what you happen to be feeling at the moment).

10. What someone else thinks of you is their problem. She has taught me that people pleasing is for suckers.  Still working on this one

11. Worrying is a big waste of time.  Her question: “What’s the worst thing that can happen?” always changes my perspective.

12. If you really want to do something, have the courage to be honest and talk about it. She has taught me not to be a passive aggressive punk. 

13. If you are in charge, be courageous enough to lead (or get out of the driver’s seat).  She has encouraged me to lead with confidence and trust the authority that’s been given to me

14. It’s better to go deep with a few friends than shallow with many. She is a friend’s friend.  She’ll give an arm and a leg to those she is closest too (me especially). 

15. People before screens. Our devices are a means to an end, not an end unto themselves. 

Which of these lessons do you need to heed? What lessons has your spouse taught you? Share in the comments section below.