Yesterday we celebrated 12 years of marriage. It hasn’t always been blissful and wonderful, but it has always been worth it! When we took those vows 12 years ago, we had no idea what LOVE truly meant.
We didn’t know the true meaning of loss until we lost our first child or deep heartache and pain until we lost our 12th child last December. We didn’t know the true meaning of “in sickness and in health” until I spent nearly 5 weeks in the hospital three years ago. We didn’t know the true meaning of “for richer or for poorer” until we lost everything. We didn’t know what it was like to comfort each other through the loss of a parent. Or the depth of love that would grow over the years as we walked this journey together. However, all of those trials have led to a few things that I have learned in these past 12 years of marriage.
- Praying for my husband is NOT an option – it’s a must. Never mind the fact that my husband is a pastor and bears a large load on his shoulders, he is my husband and I know my own flaws, so that in itself warrants prayer. But seriously, praying for my husband has helped me to see things in him that I never saw before. It has helped me to see him through God’s eyes. To love him through God’s eyes. To speak about him through God’s voice.
- He will never be a morning person. No matter what time he goes to bed, the man will never wake up cheery and ready to go at 6am. It just won’t happen. He’s more of a come to life around 10am type person. Another fact I have just accepted and moved on.
- He will never like coffee. I’m not sure how this is even possible, but it’s true. He has tried and tried, but he just doesn’t like coffee. It’s still a mystery.
- He will never learn to pick up his socks. If you ever enter our house unannounced, you will likely find shoes and socks that resemble the rapture. He leaves them everywhere. From the living room next to his side of the couch to the floor of our closet to the bathroom where he took them off to shower. It’s just a fact. I’ve accepted it and moved on (sorta).
- He will never be a romantic. It should have been a dead giveaway when his proposal was saying he would carry my books, if I would hold this – the ring box. Although I did get flowers, those are only 1 of 4 times in our marriage he has gotten me flowers. There is no pomp and circumstance for our anniversaries, just life…together. Have I dreamed of having a romantic husband, sure…but then I might wonder what happened to the one I fell in love with. Lived with. And laughed with.
- I really did marry my father. As much as I tried to avoid marrying someone like my father, I am glad I did. My husband has the best qualities that my Dad had, which I now treasure since he passed away. He is kind, gentle and truly wants people to know Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. He is not afraid to speak and share the Gospel message. And he loves his kids with an everlasting love.
- Letting the sun go down on your troubles is never good. Early on we discovered many differences in the way we thought things should be done about the house. There were several times we went to bed without resolving our problem and it made for not only a restless night of sleep, but a division in our hearts, which should have been one. Since then, we have promised never to go to sleep mad.
- Taking a cool-down break from each other is okay. Over the years I have learned that if we have a disagreement, it is best to give him (and I) time to cool down. If not, irrational things fly out of our mouth and things escalate to a level that was never necessary. I always thought it was “bad” to need a break from someone you loved so much, but I soon realized it was necessary to have time to evaluate the real issue. I would then be able to pray and allow the Lord to work on my own heart before I approached my husband again.
- It takes work to live with someone. Living with someone who grew up completely different than you will not be all ice cream and rainbows. It will take work to overlook each others quirky habits. It will take work to love each other on those hard days. It will take work.
- Talking about the hard stuff is never fun or easy, but it is necessary. There have been times in our marriage that we had to make some extremely difficult decisions, which we danced around for months until it finally became necessary to talk about them. Other times it was a parenting style that needed adjusting from one or both of us. And other times it’s been something we needed to confess to each other – something that maybe had hardened our heart towards the other for one reason or another. Whatever it was, we had to talk about it – whether it was fun or not – it was necessary.
- Backing each other up is important. As parents it is important that we’re on the same page with each other. Whether that means we need a conference before we make a decision or that we know the answer to questions before they are ever asked, we must be on the same page. It is also important to be on the same page in ministry as we minister together. Even though he is the pastor, people do come to me about things so it’s imperative that we are in agreement, so as not to cause confusion.
- Being married to my Best Friend, is the only way to do life. I love that he still makes me laugh until I cry. I love our inside jokes with each other that makes us both laugh hysterically. I love how he holds me close when I need to cry. I love that he listens to me vent, even when he’s had a rough day. I even love when he irritates me, because it shows me that we are comfortable with each other.
Our life together isn’t all peaches and cream. It’s more like rotten bananas. We are human and we mess up, but somehow the ingredients all come together as we work through the issues at hand and out comes a delicious loaf of banana bread with an aroma that fills the room. Our love has grown and blossomed into something I never could have imagined 12 years ago. And I am so thankful the Lord brought us together as friends all those years ago in college.
What have you learned in your marriage?
This post is part of the Marriage & Motherhood Mondays series. To see others in this series, simply click the image below.