14 Years of Lessons Learned

Yesterday was our anniversary. 14 years.  We celebrated with a steak dinner in our bedroom and a candle flickering... ...AND a two-year-old up an hour past her bedtime dancing around the room, picking green beans off our plates, and claiming that my gift from Jason was really for her. We just laughed, enjoyed our entertainment, and offered up our french fries. Yes, my friends, that is what 14 years looks like. I know most people say that the time goes fast, but in all honesty, I feel like that December night — filled with candles, roses, and the smell of evergreen —was a lifetime ago. Perhaps that is because that December night was
  • six children ago (and 22 children ago for my bridesmaids)
  • four lived-in countries ago
  • 17 houses ago
  • 5 "real" pets and countless "critter" pets ago
  • ten visited countries ago
  • more than 100 flights ago
  • over 100,000 photos ago
A lot happens in 14 years. A lot of laughter. A lot of tears. A lot of memories. A lot of frustration. A lot of lessons learned. As I sat drinking my peppermint tea yesterday, chatting with a friend about being on the other side of fourteen years, I thought about some of the things I have learned.
  • Once you say "I do," that person is God's will for you. Don't ever question it again. Don't let anyone else question it again. What God has joined together, let no man separate.
  • Marriage is hard. So hard. But like anything else in life, hard work usually leads to great things. Who do you think feels more accomplished: the one who drove to the top of the mountain or the one who hiked through snow, ice, and wind to reach the summit?
  • Marriage isn't just a choice when there is a ring box open in front of you. It is a choice you make EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.
  • When all your spouse's faults magnify themselves and you wonder how in the world you can look past them and choose love, ask yourself what your spouse has to look past in order to love you.
  • Remember what it was about your spouse that made you choose forever.
  • There will be parts of your marriage that will almost always be good, parts that will almost always be hard, and parts that will ebb and flow. Remember the good, let love cover the bad, and know that the ebbs will eventually give way to flows.
  • Praying to see a change in your spouse in much more effective than repeatedly telling your spouse to change.
  • Remember that God created your spouse in His own image and has His own eternal purposes in mind when He created his/her personality, gifts, desires, and skills.
  • The ultimate goal of marriage is not for your husband to try to make you happy.
  • If your husband seems distant, go meditate on Proverbs 21:10, Proverbs 21:19, and Proverbs 25:24.
I am so thankful for 14 years with a man who loves me, loves our children, works hard, seeks to know the Lord, and loves me in spite of my many, many faults. He never complains, never criticizes, and never nags. His heart for the nations is huge and he has a learner's spirit. He works hard to know me and love me in a way that I can feel. I choose him today. I choose him forever. I made this video three years ago, but he's still the one...  

3 thoughts on “14 Years of Lessons Learned

  1. Rhadonda

    I wish i could post this on a world wide bulletin board. Such truth!! Thanks for sharing your wisdom and thoughts. I love it!!

  2. Diane Enarson

    Happy Anniversary to you guys!! I love reading this. Sooo TRUE. I wished more couples would realize this. Thank you for sharing your wonderful thoughts. I love your words…I hope you feel complimented if I use it to scrap some of my pages…I am not very good with words but sometimes reading others..I say A-HA! THAT’s what I meant!

  3. Jess

    I was just aimlessly looking around Pinterest and stumbled upon your blog. As I looked around, I found this old post from a couple of years ago. My 12 year wedding anniversary is around the corner and this post you wrote two years ago was just what I needed to read. We’ve been going through some major downs lately, but we are working hard at getting past them. My marriage is a choice I will make every day…thank you for the reminder!


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