Thursday, November 19

5 Things I'd Tell You About Marriage

This month, Jeremy and I celebrate the 20th anniversary of our very first date.

Back in 1995, he had hair, I had braces. He looked ready for his debut in a toothpaste commercial, I looked ready for the first day of seventh grade.  

We met at the weekly meeting of InterVarsity Christian Fellowship on campus at the University of Alaska Anchorage, a few weeks into my freshman year. A new friend of mine brought his oldest friend along to InterVarsity to meet me. He was convinced we'd hit it off. I was clueless about their plan, but was quite happy to see Jeremy, whom I'd recognized from my years living in the same area of the state as his family growing up. 

A couple weeks after meeting, Jeremy invited me to the movies to see the original Toy Story. We were adults, but just barely. We had the nervous tingles throughout night, the kind where your palms sweat and your heart pounds in your chest. When the date was over, he walked me up the steps to my apartment and presented me with my very own VHS copy of Little Women (the Winona Ryder version, of course.) He knew what I liked. Swoon. 

We were married three and a half years later in July 1999, after we grew up a bit (a lot.) Our marriage is a joy, but we're human, so not every moment is fun. But you know that already because you're human too. When you've got two people committed to the Lord and each other who are also on the strong-willed side? You've got us. But the good thing is that being strong-willed helps us fight fiercely for our marriage. Being strong-willed makes us stronger in our convictions about the covenant relationship we're in. Plus, we're in love. We appreciate each other. We complement each other. Jeremy is so good to me.

Last summer, as we celebrated our 16th anniversary, I wrote down what made our relationship thrive, even with a houseful of kids. Because let's face it, having children does not make this any easier. After thinking back over our life together thus far, I came up with this list.

If you were to ask me what has helped us arrive at place where we're stronger than ever, through trials and fire, I'd tell you these 5 things:

1.  Ask Jesus who He wants you to be as a spouse, listen well, and then be that person.

2.  Be willing to forgive, then gracefully give it with no bitter strings attached.

3.  Have a team mentality. You're in this together helping and serving each other and your family toward a common goal. Decide together what that goal is.

4.  Decide selfishness has no place. It will only divide, no matter how justified it feels and no matter how badly you want what you want.

5.  Love unconditionally in a way that mirrors Christ's love for us. Hard. Good. Worth it.

Being married has molded and grown us in some really uncomfortable ways. But we're better for it, and thank God for the gift of each other.

What have you learned from marriage that you'd like to share?

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