One of things people ask us a lot is, “How do you make your marriage work with many kids, special needs and very little help?” It’s a fair question. Marriage can be hard even when there are just two children at home. I think our most challenging years of marriage were the first two. Yikes! Anthony was almost 39 when we got married–a confirmed, life-long bachelor. I was an emotional mess. Put us together and let’s just say we had a few issues work through if we were going to make it work for life. Two very imperfect people committed to forever.
Only by His amazing grace.
In hindsight, I am so thankful that we went through those times of stretching–those times of learning to listen instead of making ourselves be heard. I am so thankful that God helped us to navigate our way through the adjustments in those early years because it gave us a firm foundation–one where we were so committed to each other and NEVER giving up when the storms of life blew our way. And we knew that they would.
Next March we will celebrate 18 years of marriage. I look at my man and I can honestly say my love for him has grown deeper with each passing year, with each child who has been added to us, and with every big decision we have made together. God gave me a gift in this guy. For real!
How do we make it work? We put GOD first! In all things. In every decision. On every mountain top. In every valley. He’s our anchor when life feels overwhelming and He’s the One to whom we give praise in everything…the good, the bad, the hard, the glorious, the amazing, the sorrowful, the painful.
When we put Jesus at the center of it all we know that it will be well with us. It just will.
We make time for each other! Life can be so crazy and busy, but we find time to talk, to share hearts. Although date nights are hard to find, we do try to have time alone as often as we can. Last weekend we were able to have a night away together (our second night alone in 14 years!). That was a gift from heaven and we’ll embrace those times with all of our hearts! We talk on the phone during the day and text a lot–even if it’s just to say, “I love you.” Or, “I’m praying for you today.” Those things matter to us and we try to take the time to do it–to tell one another that we care, that we’re there for each other.
Respect is a huge part of our marriage. We respect each other’s feelings, hearts, thoughts, dreams and desires, and will do anything to see each other fulfilled and running the race that God has called us to as a family and individually. Respect says to the other person, “I’m on your side, honey!”
We’re a team. We parent together! We work on our marriage together! We look out for each other’s needs. If I’m in need of some time out, Anthony will gladly give it to me and take care of things at home. If going to men’s meetings is what fills him up, I’ll happily let him go and have that time of encouragement with kindred hearts. Because when we’re both rested and have our needs met, life is beautiful.
We’re intentional to laugh more and let the small stuff go!
We try to never take each other for granted.
Not to say that we get it right all the time. We absolutely don’t! We’re human beings with so many faults and flaws. We fail every day. We stumble and fall and get back up again. We keep trying. We miscommunicate and have misunderstandings.
But the more time and effort we pour into us, the richer it’s becoming.
We daily need God’s grace as we parent our children and continue to fall deeper in love with one another. Each day we need to be reminded to focus on the things that matter and not to be drawn into the things of this world. Or put another way, we are careful to not bring the kingdom of the world into the kingdom of our Lord in our lives.
I am so blessed to call this man my husband for life! Together we’ll embrace everything that God has for us and together we’ll press on toward the prize before us.
I love you madly, Salem. Thank you for always calling me higher.
I love my life…because you’re in it.