God put love in our hearts at a young age. We met at age 16 in Junior Year of High School. He also taught us what it meant to wait and be patient and just how important prayer can be.
Love is never easy. There is so much sacrifice and dying to one self. Marriage is a lot of work, but when God knits two hearts together, and you are willing to keep Christ at the center it can truly be such a blessing.
When we went through pre-marital counseling our pastor stressed 3 very important things that we have kept at the crux of our marriage.
First of all marriage is not 50/50.Marriage is 100/100. You give it your all. It's two people vowing that no matter what they will give their spouse their best. At our wedding we wrote and read our own vows because we wanted our families to hear our love story and our testimony, but many people read the traditional vows which state "...for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health, til death do you part." No matter what you go through in life, through the good times and bad times, (especially the bad times) it is all about sticking it out, staying together, and supporting each other. I love the concept in the movie Fireproof: "You never leave your partner." When times are hard that is when you stand closer and hold on tighter and pray through it. Fire refines and we have found through difficult situations that our love proved even stronger and made us closer.
Never Go to Bed Angry
Our pastor told us that it is crucial to have good communication and to forgive quickly and not let anger simmer or fester. Easier said than done, especially for someone like me who doesn't forgive quickly and likes to simmer. (such a horrible trait I know) John is pretty near perfect when it comes to conflict/resolution. He hates arguments or seeing me upset and he likes to deal with things quickly but I need a lot of time and space and that does not sit well with John. We have learned it is so much better to just talk it out however painful the talk may be. There was one recent incident in which we were having a midnight talk and talking through hurt feelings and I went downstairs to get some space and was on the couch...waiting for John to come downstairs to talk more...he never came...he ended up falling asleep in our bed and at 3am found me on the couch and said, "Kristi what are you doing down here!" I fell asleep too and said, "But I was waiting for you!" There's also the Bible verse that says, "don't let the sun go down on your anger." It really is true that if you really want things to go well for your marriage forgiveness and open communication is so important!
Get Alone/Go Away with your spouse
One of my favorite pieces of advice from Pastor Joe during pre-marital counseling was the part about going away with your spouse at least once a year! Oh those first 5 years of marriage (sans kids) that was so easy! We had date nights often, we went on two vacations a year, we traveled across the globe! London, Paris, Barcelona, Rome, China, Mexico, D.R., so many trips! After kids...although we don't go very far we do make sure each month we have a date night out of the house and during the month several date nights where we watch a movie together, or go out to eat, or even just take a trip to NYC together. I thank God for the blessings of those far away trips at the beginning of our marriage because we really got to know each other better and those trips are so great to look back on and share with our kids, and I know our family vacations and date nights are special too.
If anything is praise worthy or good in our marriage, all the glory goes to God. We found each other because of Him, He made it work, He grew our love, and He continues to do so...we could never have the marriage we have always wanted without the blessing or wisdom from Him. Marriage is a lot of work. It takes time, patience, energy, and all of you. But it is so worth it! I can't imagine one single moment without John. I'm so thankful for him.
August 8th, 2015 marks 12 years in love...and I can't wait til this weekend to celebrate even more!