Saturday, November 10, 2012

Celebrating 10 Years of Marriage - Lessons Learned

Yesterday was my 10th wedding anniversary.  We celebrated with a delicious, fancy, and romantic dinner out and my husband blessed me with a beautiful bouquet of red roses midday.  Being the practical woman that I am, I would always rather save the money spent on a dozen roses, but it wasn't my call; I love the thoughtfulness and effort, and they sure look pretty on my atrium table. 

Brett has made me a better woman.  He has shown me what "showing up" no matter what looks like.  Through his steadfast example and God's grace, he has helped me overcome myself, my fear of alcohol, and fear of being left behind.  I've learned a lot in 10 years; some things were welcomed at the time, others not.

After reviewing my sporadic journaling for the past decade, I created a list of lessons learned.  This is, a soul laid bare, with the confidence that something of my experience will resonate with you, and that you will be edified.

Lessons Learned

December 6, 1998 - I need to learn to make myself happy and not rely on other people. 

June 2, 2001 - I’ve realized that alcohol is really a problem for me.  I have learned to tolerate it from my family, but, I don’t have to accept it in someone I am choosing to be with. 

June 6, 2002 - One of the greatest travesties in life, is working (and spending a large part of your life) doing something you do not enjoy and for which you are not appreciated!

~Married on November 9, 2002~ 

January 27, 2003 - Married life is different, in that, you start spending more time alone – even though you are together.  I’m still trying to get used to this phenomenon.  I don’t think I’ve ever been in a room with someone else (in my home) and not be interacting with them in some way, on some level.  The only times I remember anything similar is being with Mike W. and getting the silent treatment.  I guess that is partly why when I am mad, I get quiet, and assume the converse is true…when someone else gets quiet, they’re also mad…Oh, the things we have to unlearn… I’m learning more about myself all of the time.  Never before, have I had such a constant “mirror” if you will, held in front of me.  Another person’s attitude and responses resulting from my actions is, sometimes, a startling picture of the range of emotions that I can carry/experience in a very short amount of time.  I assume it has always been this way, the only difference being that I am not the only one I affect.  I have another half now to whom I am affected by and affect in return.  We are the sum of our experiences, as I was told today.  Nothing is going to change that.  Some days, that is a hard fact to live with.  Other days, it just is.

June 6, 2003 - I am continually amazed as I think back over my life about the times when a change has felt imminent or necessary, yet, seems impossible for logistical and financial reasons if nothing else.  And yet, the Lord continues to open the next door at the perfect time and after walking through it, everything just falls into place.

I’m sure this is the next normal phase in a relationship – the lustful, enamored stage has faded away and what’s left is what’s real.  I’m sure this is when some people feel like they are falling out of love.  In fact, I’ve brought that up, too.  In reality, I think love changes and as every married person I’ve known has said “It’s work.”  The little things crop up more and more frequently.  I guess the learning curve is still existent here.  I think that’s why people say the first year is the hardest.  It involves learning to live with someone (whom you are otherwise not related to), what their likes, dislikes, pet peeves, real anger triggers, modes of dealing with unpleasant things/feelings, and intolerances and learning these things about yourself at the same time.  Going to bed together rarely happens it seems and it doesn’t seem to matter.  I guess we’re learning to be independent of one another under the same roof.  This is altogether new and different, but probably for the best.  I miss feeling like I’m his world, but it could not last forever.  I feel as disconnected from him as I have been (except for the moments when I’ve felt distant from the entire world secondary to some perceived wrong).  I’m sure it is natural and probably healthy, but it is still an adjustment.  Time and prayer are my allies.

February 27, 2004 - It’s hard to leave yourself at someone else’s mercy, even if he is your unfailing husband.  I guess, much like everything else that is uncomfortable at the time we are experiencing it – is character building.

June 7, 2004 - I guess the point that needs to be realized if someone is asking (if you mind if they do such and such), they want to hear yes and in order to avoid conflict, a 100% yes is the only smooth road…Otherwise, I guess it is best to be true about feelings and if anyone feels slighted by the end results, it won’t be because your feelings weren’t known…“Above all else, to thine own self be true”, immediately comes to mind, but, I don’t think this philosophy has a place in Christian marriage:  sacrificing for one another, putting your spouse first, etc…

April 16, 2005 - I have a very strong primeval instinct about Brett being in the company of other women who are within 10 years or so, on either side of him; essentially breeding age, I guess.  I wonder if most women have this instinct, only to a lesser degree?  I don’t think most women are like me in this regard…  However, I know it is the thing I hate most about myself and do not admit to it easily – to myself, much less to others.  So, in the future, until this instinct dies (God willing), I am going to admit to myself what it is and admit it to Brett (he already knows anyway).

May 16, 2005 - It’s Monday and I’m wondering what I’m supposed to be doing.  The only thing I feel 100% certain of is that time spent with my son is time well-spent.  Not a moment is lost or untreasured.  If God were in the driver’s seat – Where would he be taking us?  What would he be doing in his free time?  I hardly think he would be reading a murder mystery and catching some rays.  What’s really important?  How can I have a whole day and not know what I am supposed to do?!  Our time here on earth is supposed to be spent getting ready to go to heaven…What am I supposed to do?  Spend the days with the lonely, poor, disadvantaged lot?  Where are they?  Who are they?  Am I supposed to study the Word all day long – looking for the answers to these questions?  God – Please let your will be done in my life…May I be your light in the world.  Please shine through me, Lord.  I Love You!  Fixing fences, mowing lawns, cleaning house…Are we wasting precious time?

August 5, 2005 – Friday Night 

I want to say how unspecial he makes me feel

My thoughts can be fleeting, but they still feel so real. 

I didn’t know that dullness

Could be sharper than a spear

Thank God for my baby and motherhood

To keep my heart in a working gear.
November 10th, 2012 - Dear God, Creator of earthly and eternal covenants, Thank you for the gift of marriage, and specifically, my husband.  Thank you for the times that my cup has overflowed with joy, contentment, attention, and a sense of all being right with the world.  Thank you, also, for the Friday night on August 5th, for all the times I ached for love, and times when I have been burdened with a sense of confusion or betrayal.  Thank you for the hurts and hard truths that harvest more fruit than anything that feels good at the time (specifically not being needed, but wanted).
Please help me be the wife that Brett needs, to encourage him to be the godly man that you envisioned, before you knit him in his mother's womb.  He has made me a better woman through his love and fidelity.  He, more than any other, helps me to believe in Your love for me.  Please bless him abundantly for his faithfulness and love.  Amen. 





  1. My husband read and approved this blog, but made a good point. He said I made our marriage sound hard. So, I just want to clarify that what is shared here are the lessons, which are a small percentage of what my marriage has consisted of. I could write for years and never fully reveal the wonder, joy, and delight I have experienced in my marriage, as well. But that wouldn't have the potential to edify you, as much as what I've learned.

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  3. I think anyone that knows your immense Christian joy can only conclude that your marriage is an integral part of that joy. You do have a lovely marriage and it serves as a great witness.

    You are right, however, that in our struggle lies the best of what we can give as encouragement. John told me today that an older man approached him to express that his wife enjoyed my recent talk on kindness. I was having one of those days and just said oh, who am I to talk on kindness - it is such a struggle. But I realized that my sharing of what I struggled with and how I fail and try again (and again) was the gist of my talk. I did not talk one iota of anything mastered.

    Women who read of your lessons learned will immediately let down their guard and feel that they can trust you...that you are real and that you accept them as they are. From that fabulous starting point, God's grace is free to work through you to bless them. Thank you for your candidness!

    1. Thank you, Miranda, for references to joy, a lovely marriage, and great witness. There is no way to know what others are getting from us, so I am so happy (and humbled) that you have seen these things in my life!