Four years ago today, this picture was taken:
September 21, 2008 John and I said “I do.” We entered into a covenant marriage in front of about 60-70 family and friends. We had met on MySpace 18 months before and knew almost immediately that God had brought us something special in each other.
A lot has happened in the last four years. We’ve survived major health problems (including me having a life-threatening illness), job losses and just the general stress of life. We’ve also bought our first home, adopted four pets and through all of it, the good and the bad, grown more in love every day.
We’ve both learned a lot (did you know that when you go from a one-person household to a two-person household you use twice as much toilet paper as you did before? Shocking, I know).
Neither one of us is foolish enough to claim we’re good at marriage. Or that we have all the answers. But through it all, I think we both have learned lessons and made conscious decisions that have made us “work.” It’s what we believe will continue to make us “work.”
- We both work to never publicly criticize or put down the other person. This includes on Facebook and it includes even jokingly making fun of the other person.
- We both work to be polite to each other and to others when in each other’s presence. Sound like a weird connection to marriage? It’s about mutual respect.
- We try to communicate and when we are obviously miscommunicating, we stop and literally say, we are not communicating. What are you actually trying to say? We usually find that we are going for the same goal but coming at it from such different angles that it initially looks like we’re on different planets.
- We give each other space. We make sure that we spend time away from each other pursuing our own interests, our own hobbies.
- We make sure to spend time together. Just as it’s important to give each other space, it’s also important to be intentional about spending time together. Some may notice I don’t commit to doing much on Sundays. It’s not a religious thing, it’s a John thing. That’s the day we usually try to spend entirely together, just us and our animals. We watch movies, cook, talk, whatever.
- We put God first in our relationship. This one is tough, because it’s more of a decision that we made early on rather than something that we physically, actively do. But in all of our decision-making, in how we treat each other, we put God’s will as first and foremost.
- We don’t harp on the little crap in life. So what if John leaves his socks lying around. I use our entire couch as a “desk” and leave all my freelance work all over it. It’s important to decide what battles are important (most aren’t) and what should just be dealt with in a manner of grace.
- We put each other’s needs first. It might be easy to say “well why put the needs of your man first, how unfeminist of you.” The thing is, John puts my needs first. I know he has my back and I have his. I don’t have to look out for my own needs, because John is doing it for me and vice versa.
- People need to be loved in the way that they need to be loved, not in the way that we are best at showing love. OK, this one is the hardest for me. I know how I want to be loved and I know how love has been expressed to me in the past. That doesn’t necessarily work with John and the same goes with how he loves me. We are learning to love each other how the other needs to be loved.
As I said, we don’t have all this “down” yet. We know that we’ve been blessed so far to be as happy as we are. But we also know that life has thrown us curve balls and we’ve survived…in fact, we’ve grown stronger because of it.
We look forward to as many more years as God sees fit to give us together. Even in the hard times we will choose to be grateful for the blessings.