What 11 years of marriage looks like….

5 Aug

I felt a little dumbfounded the other day when someone asked me, “How long have you been married?” And when I replied “Eleven years”, she said with a look of surprise – “Wow that’s a long time! Congratulations, that’s an accomplishment.”

It is?

I mean, marriage is not all fun and games.

It takes hard work.

It takes dying to self.

It takes loving someone else and viewing the purpose of marriage as an opportunity to serve one person for the rest of your life, making it a goal to bring them fulfillment, happiness and excel them toward Christ daily.

It means allowing God’s marriage covenant to be more important than your own happiness on any given day by being an example to the world of the reflection marriage has to Christ and His Church.

It means making a CHOICE to love someone even when they aren’t loveable.

It means respecting someone even when you’re struggling to see anything respectable.

It means forgiving someone just as Christ forgave you (which I’ll never even be able to forgive someone enough to equal that amount.)

It means seeing the best in someone.

It means actively choosing to ignore annoying habits and quirks and focus on and encourage good qualities, character traits, and admirable behavior.

It means going to any cost to protect your spouses reputation and NEVER be the one dishing out the slander.

It means choosing your spouse over everyone – family/friends/co-workers — (remember this, if someone’s feelings are going to be hurt, as far as it depends on me, it is never going to be my spouse’s.)

It means saying “I’m sorry” quickly and meaning it.

It means a wife being submissive to the God-given leadership of her husband, and a husband leading with integrity and using the help of his wife to make wise and honorable choices.

It means keeping the marriage bed pure and giving freely of yourselves to one another without reservation.

 

The expectation of marriage has changed so much in the last 30 years. Eleven years shouldn’t be a long marriage. But today, it is. Sadly, men and women enter marriage both expecting to be the CEO of the company. In an effort to make it work, they try to be 50/50 share holders, but like with any business relationship, that only works for so long before the company splits and they go their separate ways. And we’ve bought into the lie that marriage is about finding that one special person who will make you happy for the rest of your life. First of all, LIFE isn’t always happy. And no one person can be responsible for anyone else’s happiness. Because if our eyes are constantly on ourselves and how “happy or loved” WE feel — how can they be on our spouse and how well we’re doing at making them feel happy and loved? If both our eyes are on ourselves, we’ll feel neglected. If both our eyes are on each other – we’ll be fulfilling each other.

What has eleven years of marriage looked like for me?

Not perfect.

And nothing like what you see on TV or the movies.
My husband doesn’t “romance” me everyday in extravagant ways to keep me happy. I don’t remember a time when my husband got off a plane to stay home with me. He’s never stood outside my apartment in the pouring rain. He’s never chased me down 30 blocks through the city to stop me from getting on a train. He’s never surprised me with a weekend getaway out of the country.  When we make up, love songs never start playing out of thin air.

We’ve fought. We’ve screamed. We’ve cussed. We’ve been silent. We’ve been angry for a couple of days. We’ve made accusations and thought the worst about each others intentions. We’ve been selfish. We’ve been proud. We’ve been ugly. It can really all be summed up by saying, WE’VE BEEN SINNERS.

And yet – it’s been more romantic and fulfilling than anything I’ve ever watched or could dream up, because it’s been real.

-He held me for hours while I wept and wept over being sick and missing our wedding and reception.

-He worked countless hours of overtime the first year we were married so we had enough money to survive.

-He forgave me for being insecure in the beginning of our marriage (traits I carried from a past relationship.)

-He taught me and challenged me to tithe 10% of our income from the day we got married and has insisted on being generous even when we haven’t had anything ourselves. (This has blessed us in a million ways!!)

-He has stood by my side even when others were against me and hurting our reputation.

-He has relentlessly believed in me and reminded me of who I am in Christ and that old sins of the past do not define me.

-He has forgiven me quickly every time I’ve hurt him.

-He held my hand, kissed my head, and shed tears with me as I moaned in pain and bore down to bring our four children in the world.

-He laid in bed and prayed with me when we mourned the loss of our three miscarriages.

-He has gotten up in the middle of the night with crying children.

-He has always willingly kept the kids when I need some alone time or girl time.

-He has always made it a priority to keep dating me.

-He keeps the vehicles kept up, and has always given me the better vehicle to drive.

-He holds my hand in public.

-He’s cleaned up puke, changed countless diapers, and giving tons of baths.

-He lets me talk and vent for hours about the same topics just to let me get all the millions of words and feelings out.

-He’s been patient for me to learn how to be a better wife and mother.

-He lets the kids sit with him in his chair and holds and kisses them daily.

-He has folded laundry and washed dishes.

-He has reassured and calmed my fears when I grow weary with finances, health or stress.

-He coaches the kids and works with them at home.

-He has always kept a steady job and received numerous promotions and raises.

-He wrote an incredible message and new vows and read them to me at our 10 year vow renewal last year which was priceless to me.

-He has made himself an umbrella of protection and refuses to let our family be in situations where we might be in any harm.

If I had days to sit at the computer, I could keep extending this list. My marriage has been romantic and fulfilling in the everyday ins and outs of life.
And I bet yours has too.

Practical Application:
Make a list of all the ways your spouse has served you, loved you, protected you, provided for you, and cherished you in your marriage. And then, share that list with them. It’s amazing how all those trivial, annoying habits and frustrations seem to pale in comparison when you actively choose to look for the good in your marriage and your spouse.

Here’s a picture story of us – Enjoy.  ((And I had to be real, I couldn’t just put up the ones we both look good in… it’s OK to laugh!!!))

 

005 001002008003004Us0060072009Two of usEaster 2010JaxonChristmasEaster 2011 Us 2009MarisaMarisa1Family2ReunionfamilyUs 2011CuteVow renewalknight004 (2)Graduationkids002 (2)Surf

4 Responses to “What 11 years of marriage looks like….”

  1. peacefulwife August 5, 2013 at 3:28 pm #

    Awwwww! I LOVE this!!!!!!
    You made me cry talking about all the things your man has done for you and gone through with you. Wow!

    And I enjoyed all the pics so much!

    You are a blessing and a treasure my friend!

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