Family

15 years of marriage: What we’ve been doing all along that makes us work.

I’m an extrovert – He’s an introvert.

I’m sloppy – He’s neat.

I like Hallmark Movies – He likes cars.

I explode – He implodes.

A peek into the window of any marriage will always look different than the next. I can only speak for the one I’m in, but I know there are a few strange things we do for each other that make our marriage work.

Fifteen years after saying “I do,” Matt and I get along really well most days – mostly because he lets me run my big mouth – but there are some other things that we do that have been like safeguards.

When we got engaged at 19 and 21, we went though pretty incredible premarital counseling with a pastor we love and trust. He knows us well and really helped us see the things that we would struggle with, and prepared us to navigate them.

So, here is a little peak into just some of the things about us that might seem a little weird:

  • We don’t spend money on non-budgeted things without telling each other.
  • We don’t call each other names…like ever.
  • We don’t spend time alone with the opposite gender.
  • We do projects together. (i.e. He follows me around fixing my disasters until I quit and go watch Netflix)
  • We have regular dates (that usually include fro-yo)
  • We tell each other what we need. We can’t read minds.
  • We don’t talk about our fights to our families.
  • We don’t talk badly about each other to others. (This doesn’t mean we don’t get advice when we need it or talk about our struggles with people we trust.)
  • We never threaten divorce.
  • We don’t let the kids play us against each other.
  • We don’t talk badly to our kids about each other.
  • I laugh at his jokes…usually.
  • He laughs at my jokes…sometimes. (But I’m so hilarious, I just think he wants me to stay humble.)
  • We say we’re sorry – a lot.
  • Our phones, emails etc. are not off limits to each other.
  • We love The 5 Love Languages book (Chapman)
  • We honestly try to put God first – individually and as a couple. This is truly the main reason I believe our marriage works for us.

Don’t get me wrong. We have our disagreements, our “off” days. Sometimes we raise our voices. We both make mistakes. It’s not all sunshine and roses. No relationship is. During the hard times, we get stressed and cranky…quiet…loud. We are not exempt from the stress, pitfalls, risks or temptations that come with being married. NO ONE IS. Sometimes that scares me. If we forget that marriage is something that constantly needs tended to, we can set ourselves up for failure.

Marriage is hard. Our journey hasn’t been easy…and I’m certainly no expert. But, I can share my story.

Two college students with approximately zero dollars, sickness, miscarriage, stress and anxiety….We’ve been through a lot together.

2000 My high school graduation

I hate thinking about the negatives, but when I put it out to the world, I feel like it’s important to be transparent because I’m going to tell you some good stuff.

We have been blessed beyond measure over the years. I married the sweetest, kindest, fiercest, gentlest man in the whole world. He is selfless and thoughtful and funny – and he buys me Sarris Peanut Butter Meltaways instead of flowers. He is an incredible father and provider. He makes me believe I’m pretty.  He is the closest example of a man trying to be like Jesus that I’ve ever met – and I’m so glad he’s my husband.  Oh man – I love him.

Are there bad things? Sure. But I’m not going to list them for you. He wouldn’t list them about me either. I choose not to dwell on his weaknesses and I sure hope he doesn’t dwell on mine because they are many.

 

2002 Our Wedding Day

My point for you today isn’t for you to look over the fence at my marriage. You can’t see all the details…I want you to look at yours. Why did you first fall in love? Do you remember when you would drop everything to be with your guy/girl? Do you remember when you let the little annoying things go? Maybe they weren’t even annoying then?

If you’re far from that place – you can get it back. But YOU have to take the first step. Sometimes it’s a hard step to take. Don’t give up.

You’re still passionate? Awesome. Keep working. We don’t ever “arrive.” Don’t quit. Don’t give up.

Marriage is hard. But it’s beautiful. And no two look the same.

Water your grass and see what grows. Love is a choice not a feeling.

2017

Happy 15th Anniversary, my love. Here’s to many more beautiful years to come.

 

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