A letter from Steven Curtis Chapman, "It's All About Love"
I never imagined being in love and staying there would be nearly as hard or as wonderful as it has been. Nowhere else is my own selfishness exposed so painfully clear than in my relationship with Mary Beth. Without my marriage I may have actually been able to get through life under the illusion that I'm a pretty decent guy. I'm only half joking about that. In a way, marriage is like holding up a mirror to your heart. The bad news is you see all that is there; the ugliness and scars that might have otherwise gone relatively undetected. The good news is you see all that is there; you get a clearer view of what our hearts were made to be, with a capacity to love and care and feel more deeply than we ever imagined. That's great news if you ask me, and the wonderful paradox is that the only way to get to the "good stuff" is to expose and recognize that "not-so-good-stuff."
"Ultimately, this recording is a celebration of what I still believe to be one of the most mysterious, wonderful, exciting, challenging and beautiful of all the goods gifts God created for us to enjoy and experience true love.
by Steven Curtis Chapman
Obviously this mystery called marriage is not the neat and tidy, "happily-ever-after" business that the fairy tales make it out to be. Unfortunately, Cinderella and the Prince didn't go on to write about how they dealt with coming to the realization that they were two very different people with quarks and warts that they would carry to their graves. We never got to find out how they dealt with in-laws, diaper duty, challenges with careers and callings, different seasons of life and the devastating changes they can bring, past wounds and scars, an the list goes on and on.
Then again, maybe in fairy tale land things like that aren't an issue, they probably just spend all their time going slipper shopping and attending balls. If so, I would really have to challenge the whole "happily-ever-after" idea and you can probably guess why. The greatest joys in our marriage have not come without a fight. In fact, there's not much in our marriage that hasn't come without a fight. Coming home with your wife and 5-week old daughter to an apartment that has just been destroyed by fire, and having no insurance or savings to speak of, doesn't exactly qualify as the makings of a "happy time." However, we wouldn't change it even if we could because of how it tested and tenderized our hearts. It seems like we've both cried a few rivers full of tears through the years trying to figure out how to respond to each other's longing and the needs of our family, while also trying to respond wisely to the myriad of opportunities that have come our way because of my career.
But it's been this journey together that has brought us to the place we are now where I can truly say, "I'm more in love with my wife than ever." It's still far from easy and we've still got lots more to learn, but seeing how far we've come is a source of joy that goes deeper than words can express. To reach over and hold Mary Beth's hand as we drive along in the car without saying a word, knowing the flames and the floods that we've walked through together is a "happiness" that I'm afraid Cinderella and the Prince will never know in fairly tale land.
So why did I want to make this record? I did it in part as a gift to the girl of my dreams, my best friend, and the love of my life (who incidentally all happen to be the same person.) A couple of these songs I didn't write, which is unusual for me, but Mary Beth personally requested them so they are here just for her ("500 Miles," "I Will Take Care of You").
Of course you're welcomed to listen to them too! Some of these are songs that have been written through the years at different points along the journey and you may have heard them before. These are really special songs because they represent important chapters in our life, and from what I've heard through the years, they've been a part of some of your lives as well.
Finally, some of these are new songs that I've written over the last few years kind of like musical love notes to my sweetheart. In fact, some of them started out as notes inside of anniversary or birthday cards and just kind of evolved into songs ("11/6/64"). I made this recording for the same reason I make all the music I've made through the years, to share my journey of exploring and experiencing the grace of God as it shows up in every part of my life. -Steven Curtis Chapman.