14 years of Marriage: Time Well Spent

On November 22nd, my handsome husband and I will celebrate our 14th wedding anniversary.  OH, how I love that man!  It totally doesn’t feel like 14 years.  More like 5.  Except that things were harder at year 5 than they are now.  BUT, what I mean is that it feels like we were married just yesterday!  Except that I love him more.

Isn’t that just incredible?  I mean, you think you love the person you are going to marry more than any other person/thing on the entire planet on the day that you stand before your friends and family in a gorgeous white dress (the skinniest you will ever be).  You can’t imagine loving anyone more.  And then, you find out your lover is human and imperfect.  Once you get over that (and mature a little), you learn to love his faults (while gritting your teeth) and you figure out how well you compliment one another.  He is so much better at some things than I am, and I am better at others.

Life, over fourteen years of marriage, is full of ups and downs, highs and lows.  You ride the roller coaster together, unwilling to let go of one another’s hand.  Clinging to his hand, actually.  Because getting off the ride is not an option . . . it will only result in destruction (and lots of tears and perhaps a bloody mess).

Then, one day, not suddenly, but gradually, you feel a different hand in your own – the Heavenly Father’s hand. You look across and see your husband holding that hand as well.  The roller coaster isn’t so scary with a third person in the seat with you, with his arms around both of your shoulders drawing you together.  In fact, it is more exciting than scary.

This is our story!  Oh, how I love my husband.  I can’t imagine going through life without him.

I recently listened to a wonderful sermon preached on marriage.  The pastor quoted some statistics that really got me thinking.  Most divorces occur in the first 7 years of marriage.  In fact, according to the dude, years 5-7 are the worst.  Why do you think there is something called “the 7 year itch”?  The first 5-7 years of marriage are the most difficult years, as you are learning about one another, facing challenges and obstacles together (or apart?) and learning more about how the other person deals with strain. The interesting thing is that those who get divorced in the first 7 years of marriage usually remarry . . . and then they have to go through the terrible first 5-7 years of marriage all over again.

As I thought back to our first 7 years of marriage, there were certainly ups and downs.  We had a lot of fun in our pre-kid days, living lots of adventures together.  I loved those days, but they were not easy, that’s for sure.  We both grew up considerably as we learned how to treat one another.

Then, our first child was born at year 6 and I became a stay at home mom (a huge transition), and at the same time my husband switched careers.  It was HARD. It’s still difficult to think about those days, because it brings back the stressful and anxious feelings.  I had NO idea what I was doing with this sweet, precious bundle of boy that I loved with every fiber of my being.  I didn’t have any family close by to give me 10 minutes away from him so I could unwind and relax a little, and my husband was working long hours, often out of state for weeks at a time.  I experienced postpartum depression with a smile on my face and a freaked out look in my often teary eyes.  Of course, no one knew about this except my husband who, bless his heart, was also trying to hold it together as he tried to soothe his wife while experiencing the stress of a new job.

Those years of baby, miscarriage, anxiety, another baby and starting a new business (and the unbelievable stress associated with that) were the worst.  Those were our years 6 through 9.  We like to mess with statistics.  Of course, you never would have known how much we were struggling, because we are quite private people (with a blog! Yeah, I know!).  We smiled a lot.  Everything was just fine.  It was great.  Life was good.  If you say it often enough, you begin to believe it, right?  (Side note: I do believe very strongly that smiling is better than frowning and that there is power in positive thinking and that no one likes a whiner.  Imagine how much worse things would have been if I had complained to everyone I knew!  Yikes!  My marriage would NOT have survived that.)

BUT, we got through it.  We focused on God, which is something we should have worked harder on in our pre-kid days, right?

And then, for some reason, in year 10 or so, God decided to bless us by giving us back those often elusive wedding day feelings of bliss.  Oh, it’s true that those feelings came and went over the years, but I’m believing that they are here to stay.

My husband loves me.  He really, really, truly loves me.  I can’t imagine life without him.  I can’t imagine giving up all that we have fought for over the years.  I can’t imagine wasting those memories on divorce.  LIFE has happened with my husband by my side.  Children have been born to us: our precious boys who complete our family in amazing ways.

If your marriage is struggling, CLING to your husband.  CLING to God and seek him together.  Work through this time and know that there is light at the end of the tunnel.  Marriage is not easy, but it is so worth it.  It takes hard work, but it is so rewarding.

(Layout credits: Photos by Kellie Parry Photography, Time Well Spent by Elise’s Pieces)

Happy Anniversary month, my dear Mitchell Grant.  I’d do it all over again.

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