Real Life Love Stories: Chapter 4 - Marriage


AYNGELEA

In June of this year, Mikey and I will be celebrating our fifth year of marriage. It actually feels like we’ve been married for 500 years… but that’s a good thing -- right? Mikey and I got married, bright-eyed and naive one week after I turned 18. We didn’t have a single care or worry in the world. In our five years of marriage, we’ve experienced adding two more babies, moving houses twice, 1000 ER trips (not kidding 1000), financial struggles and the hardest experience to date: a miscarriage.

Losing a child through miscarriage has easily been one of the most difficult things our marriage has faced. It stretched us both emotionally and it really tested our faith in Christ. But boy oh boy, did God know what He was doing when He gave me Mikey. During the entire healing process of losing that baby, Michael’s AMAZING character has really shone through. Second only to Jesus, He truly was my rock. He allowed me and helped me to grieve for as long as I needed to. He never rushed the process.

After that loss, we were also hit with a HUGE financial struggle. Which was 100% an attack from satan. Satan saw us in a moment of weakness and he really tried to capitalize on it by kicking us when we were already down. He really does just suck. So what held us together? What kept Satan’s many attacks from totally destroying our marriage? GOD. Despite all the struggles we’ve had, we have continued to keep Christ as the center of our gravity. Because of that, we’ve been able to grow closer to Him and to each other.

Ladies, I cannot encourage this enough: Love God more than you love your husband and make sure your husband loves God more than he loves you. Because when Satan attacks, and he loves to destroy marriages so he will attack, if you both keep God in the center of your marriage Satan’s attacks will not prosper. Isaiah 54:1 says, “‘No weapon formed against you shall prosper, And every tongue which rises against you in judgment You shall condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, And their righteousness is from Me,’ Says the Lord.” God loves you, He loves your husband, and He loves your marriage.

And to end things on a lighter note I HIGHLY recommend picking a series (The Office) to binge watch for hours on end with your husband. It’s oddly therapeutic. REBEKAH

3 years of marriage and I have yet to watch our wedding video.

Every year when our anniversary roles around I think I’ll bust it out and relive one of my most favorite days with my most favorite guy and…

I simply can’t bring myself to do it. I plan to do it. I scribble it down on our list of celebratory activities and when the moment comes my stomach sinks as I think maybe next year.

In my mind our wedding day was one of those days that simply can’t be redone. No retelling of it would ever do the feelings justice. The day was full of the Holy Spirit. Full of God’s presence. Full, Incredibly joyful and good. So every time I reach into our wedding box for the DVD holding the moments of our day I stop and instead decide I don’t want my memory of my wedding day tainted. Not yet, anyways. I want to remember September 25, 2015 for the gift that it was. For now, I want to remember it the way God led us to live it - as the most wondrous start to the living of our best days together forever.

The past 3 years together have been better than the start of it all. Cheesy, sure, but it’s the honest truth. Patrick makes me better. He makes me seek Jesus more. He loves me sacrificially and cares for me generously. He challenges me and holds me up on the days when I my legs give into the weight of the world.

Marriage has been nothing like I expected. Not that I expected it to be bad, but I did expect for it to be very very challenging. For that’s what everyone told us before we got married. During our engagement season It seemed like every conversation eventually led to the subtle warning of marriage is hard. And sure there has been moments in marriage where our humanness gets the best of us and the pride filled monster comes out to attack. There are days where we are selfish and cranky. Days where we didn’t get enough sleep and we argue over something dumb. Days when we let our emotions dictate our actions and end up hurting one another in the process. No marriage is perfect.

However, despite the rough days I would still describe marriage as good. Good is the word I would choose as my pep talk for a young wife to be. Because God is good and when He is the focus of your marriage it will lead to goodness.

For those of you reading this, who don’t know our story in full you may be thinking, well these two must not have experienced true hardship. And I can see why you might think that. The world paints marriage as hard. It tells us our wedding day will be the best day of our life leaving us to think it’s all downhill from there. We’re prepared for marriage to be all about giving up and giving in, and though sacrifice is a part of marriage, it’s not quite what you think.

Patrick has sacrificed a lot for me to flourish for the Kingdom. To the world it may seem as if Patrick gave up on his own dreams and his plans in order for me to live out mine. People might even want to warn us that eventually Patrick will resent me for the sacrifices he had to make.

But in all the sacrifices we have made along the way God has opened our eyes to what giving it all up for the Kingdom really looks like. Sacrifice, well it feels like it sounds. It’s the act of laying yourself down and all that comes along with that (pride, dreams and passions) in order for God to be further glorified. It can hurt, but it ultimately leads to God’s best for you.

Early on in our marriage Patrick saw an opportunity not for me to shine, necessarily, but for the Kingdom to grow.

The world likes to tell us marriage is all about us. The bride and the groom. The husband and the wife, but over the past 3 years Patrick and I have discovered a marriage rooted in Jesus isn’t really about “us” at all. It’s about an unexpected we - you, your spouse and God. Through Christ you become one with the sole purpose of growing the family of God.

When I felt led to quit my job after 2 months into marriage we decided to keep our eyes on Jesus and trust in His leading. We spent a few months surviving off of coupons, but it brought us closer together and led to God’s next step for us.

When Patrick took a huge pay cut as well as turn down a promotion to work in Lexington instead of Louisville, we chose to place our trust in Jesus. Blessing has surely followed.

When we couldn’t get pregnant and felt God call us to adoption we chose to be obedient in the midst of trials.

When we experienced a failed adoption we felt the weight of the cross more than we ever had. Through it all we put our hope in Jesus knowing God would be faithful to His dear children. He was and a few weeks later He brought us our Norah.

The world may look back at our three years of marriage and describe it as hard, but every year on September 25th when we reflect back at all we have been through we choose the word good instead.

I don’t know if I will ever whip out that never watched wedding DVD, but I do know, without a doubt, that if I ever do it will never be as wonderful, as the last 3 years of marriage have. It simply cannot be that good and for that I am grateful.

STACIE

I married Lucas on May 6, 2017, which if you have much experience with math, you’ll recognize isn’t that long ago. So yes, even if people keep telling me that since we’ve reached our first anniversary we “aren’t anymore,” I’m definitely pulling the newlywed card. (Though I might finally give that one up once our baby girl arrives in April :))

Honestly, our first couple of years of marriage have been a dream. Because Lucas was my high school sweetheart and we’d grown up together so much by the time we finally got married, there haven’t really been many surprises or huge roadblocks in learning to get along or share a home and life together. It’s not that there haven’t been challenges - in fact, my anxiety escalated to its worst ever and his family has been through some really tough circumstances in the past year - it’s just that our preparation beforehand and God’s kindness above all have allowed us to walk through those challenges in unity. It’s just felt like one long date that we don’t have to part ways and go back home after, and for that we’re SUPER grateful! But even though our first couple years of marriage haven’t been that “hard” per se, and even though we already knew a lot about one another, it’s certainly been filled with its fair share of NEW and has been quite the adventure.

Speaking of adventures, as I mentioned above, Lucas and I are expecting our first child in April, and let me tell you, this new part of our life together is very exciting and a lot intimidating. But so far, it’s been a huge time of growth, learning more about each other, talking about our hopes and fears for the future, learning to trust God more deeply together, and working together to be the best team we can, first as Team Husband and Wife so we can give our best as Team Mom and Dad.

If there’s one thing that has been the most helpful for me in our first couple of years of marriage, it is remembering that very concept: my husband and I are on the same team. A wise mentor, Christina, encouraged me with that truth during our engagement and it has rung so true. Through finishing my undergraduate degree, to continuing in graduate school for both of us, while working in ministry for both of us, we have a lot going on. We’ve chosen it, and sometimes it’s overwhelming, but it makes it so much easier for us to get through the frustrating days filled with homework or the late evenings after events if we can remember that we are in this thing together, and we get to do it for God.

Even more, remembering that Lucas is on my team (and that we’re both on God’s team) has helped me to see him with eyes of grace, even if the full trash can or my made-up feelings of being ignored are trying to convince me otherwise. I can remember that he also only has eyes for me, that they’re grace-tinted too (which is a gift, because I need plenty of it), and that’s a foundation I’m excited to expand our family upon.

KATIE H.

Anthony and I dated for five minutes (not precisely five… but figuratively speaking, we didn’t date very long.), and have been married for 14 ½ years. About 6 months into marriage, my mom asked me, “Kate, have you learned anything new about him?” and I answered, “no, we were straight up before the wedding because we never really planned on even dating, so no surprises so far!”

But since then, we’ve experienced health scares, the birth of two children, the ups and downs of two careers, and lots and lots of change. While I’m not surprised by Anthony’s character (always my favorite thing about him), I’ve certainly been surprised a time or two by life circumstances.

Life isn’t always easy, but thank God for great advice. When we don’t see eye to eye when faced with a difficult decision, we reach out to older friends or schedule a visit to a Christian counselor. Even more importantly, we look to God for answers. I really can’t emphasize the impact these 2 things alone have made.

And the closer Anthony and I get to God as individuals, the closer we get to each other. If you visualize a triangle with 2 people starting at the bottom 2 corners reaching towards God and getting closer as they climb - I believe that’s what our relationships are like. We try to enjoy and embrace the good times, and laugh with each other often. Every quarter we take a trip just the two of us, and man. We’ve had some great times.

People say marriage is hard work, and I used to think that was ridiculous. Marriage is easy! I’d think with a year or two under my belt. And yes, sometimes it is. Like on a beach on vacation, yes. Marriage is EASY! But other times--when one person feels strongly about A and the other about B, or a kid is sick, or one of you is having a hard time--it requires compromise, patience, and a willingness to find a resolution.

I’m married to a good man. For some insecure reason, I never thought that would happen for me. But it did, and I’m very thankful and feel very lucky. Anthony is an amazing person, but even an amazing person is still… a person.

We all have insecurities and hang ups. We all have good days and bad days. And sometimes being married accentuates those things. But at the end of the day, if your goal is to get to know God better first -- you’ll grow closer together. God is good, and knowing Him makes me a better person. Even if you’re only dating and your goal each other is to help the other grow closer to God rather than anything else, it will be a win even if the relationship doesn’t work out - you win either way!

And if you’re in a relationship, and need some advice because life is surprising… please check out www.laneofroses.com/counseling. There have been times I’ve seen a counselor on my own to deal with my own stuff, and it inadvertently helped my marriage too. Sometimes, the hard work in the hard work of marriage is me. But the reward? So, so worth it.

KATIE S.

I know I have mentioned in the last few weeks that the one thing I wanted to be when I grew up was a wife and a mama! Thankfully, the Lord was kind enough to answer both of those desires. But they weren’t always tied in a beautiful bow.

Marriage is messy, the baggage both people bring in can be heavy sometimes. I was gifted a man who already had a child. That sweet blessing was something that changed my life in more ways than I could even begin to describe and comprehend.

See, I already knew I wanted children and to see the man I loved be amazing with his son.. Made me swoon all the more.

We got engaged October 2008 (correcting my mistake from the engagement series, I told you I was terrible with the details of this). On December 18, 2008; Five days after I turned 22 I married Trae.. We didn’t intend to get married that quickly.. But God had bigger plans.

Trae’s life long dream was to be a pilot in the military.. And he had the chance! For me to go with him after his training in January 2009 we had to be married… So we planned our wedding in one week. Yes, one week. Luckily, I already had the most important thing… THE DRESS oh and the guy! :) We had a vacation planned with his family to go to Florida so as details started to unravel it happened! It was beautiful.

So, on a beautiful 70 degree day on the beach in Naples, FL we made the beginning of our forever a reality. The best part, Trae and the whole family surprised me and flew my mom and sister-in-law (to-be) to be there! There are so many other people I wish we could have celebrated this day with but that isn’t the way the story unravels. Remember I talked about marriage being messy? In the moment, we hurt many people by running away and getting married.. Most people didn’t understand and thought that we were being immature and selfish. But we knew it was right.

We just celebrated 10 years of marriage.. We’ve gone through so much together: raising three children, many moves, a few different jobs, infertility, military life, lots of tears, many more laughs and every emotion between. The Lord knew exactly what he was doing when he joined our paths and even though its not been the easiest road travelled there is not one thing I would change about OUR story. We’ve grown, we’ve stretched and we’ve changed but thankfully we continue to do this together.

I knew I wanted to be a wife and a mama but I never in a million years thought I would be a step-mom or a military wife and thankfully so.. Because HE knew exactly what and who I needed.

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