How to have a truly happy marriage- Why we are still thriving 18 years later. We have been happily married for 18 years. I feel like it has flown by, and yet I feel so grateful to have these years under our belt.
The early years
When we first got married we would tell people how much we loved it. Lots of people would say, “just wait” or “it’s gonna get hard”.
As the years went by we would still say how much we loved being married. Lot’s of people would snidely ask, “How long have you been married?”, fully assuming we hadn’t been married long enough to know what marriage is like.
I kept thinking how I couldn’t wait until we had been married long enough. Long enough when saying, “I still love being married”, would stop them in their tracks. Truly causing them to consider the possibility of a genuinely blissful marriage.
After having some years under our belt
Then just like that, it happened one day, we got the usual look with our positive response to marriage. When asked how long we had been married (somewhere around the 8-10 year mark). They stared, sort of dumbfounded and exclaimed “Well, I’ve only been married 5 years”.
We want to instill hope
Here we are 18 years later, we still LOVE being married. Rather than just shocking people with how much we love marriage. We’d prefer to instill hope, that after all these years, a truly happy marriage is possible.
Our marriage has been incredible and more than I could have ever dreamed of or hoped for. We don’t take full credit for it though, God is the reason it has been so beautiful. When you walk it out the way He designed, you can have a truly happy marriage.
Since our marriage 18 years ago we have:
- laughed so hard we cried
- stayed up talking all night until we lost our voices
- enjoyed our sex life and made it a priority
- flirted with each other
- written each other countless love letters
- helped each other grow and cheered each other on through triumphant victories
- gone through countless job and career changes
- been in debt
- More times than I can count we have not known where our next paycheck was coming from
- we have had jobs you wouldn’t believe.
- God has provided not only what we needed but even more
- moved more than a dozen times, sometimes in total faith
- walked through grief together loosing people we loved
- walked together with those we love fight battles which shook us to the core
- traveled all over the world together
- up until a few years ago worked most everyday together
- held up at gunpoint, which was certainly not on our bucket list of things to experience together. Yet we are grateful to be alive and for the camaraderie we share from it
- been in car accidents and work accidents (we used to be professional acrobats)
- walked together through surgeries both scheduled and emergency (you can read about my emergency surgery here). This opened our eyes to a physical disease completely out of our hands
- been jobless. Once we had a season where we had to stay with friends, when the economy crashed after the recession
- seen God work modern day miracles
- prayed for answers and guidance, learning to wait and trust in God’s perfect timing. He has answered slow and fast and often in ways we haven’t always understood His timing or reasons
- Not the most savvy with money. We both work hard and value hard work. Though we don’t have booming careers, retirement or savings accounts, which some might call unwise
- supported each other’s work, though it’s never taken precedence in our home
- always kept friendships outside of our marriage of second importance. We don’t do weekends away with the girls or guys and prioritize our time together each week
- through the years had amazing and hard conversations. Spoke up and communicated when it was awkward or might produce temporary strife
- we have had very tearful goodbyes and very joyful reunions.
- always agreed no more than two weeks without each other on work trips the other wasn’t part of
- fallen asleep every night(with the exception of the few work trips)entwined in each others arms and legs.
- always kissed each other goodnight
- spent lots of time praying for our marriage both separately and together.
- continually defaulted to the Bible when we are looking for answers on how to handle any situation.
Through it all we have had a truly happy marriage.
Our approach to marriage is not like most
We haven’t done marriage the way most of America or the world today does, but you know what? There are zero regrets for us.
Our approach is different which is why our results are also not the norm. At the end of the day our home and marriage is a refuge and respite from this crazy world. There is no other person on earth we’d rather spend the day with than one another.
We aren’t perfect and both have flaws. We’ve just been intentional in trying not to use these weaknesses against each other. We are on the same team and that’s how we play.
Marriage doesn’t have to be hard
Contrary to popular belief, a truly joyful marriage doesn’t have to be hard, although:
- sometimes it’s hard to be selfless
- sometimes it’s hard to deny yourself the right to be right
- sometimes it’s hard to not look like the Joneses
- sometimes it’s hard to forgive and have grace
- sometimes it’s hard to embrace contentment
- sometimes it’s hard for people to understand why you aren’t fitting into society’s mold for marriage or being a wife
but I assure you it’s worth it.
I’ve learned so much about God’s heart through my marriage
Besides Jesus’s gift of salvation to me, a truly happy marriage is the best gift I’ve ever received! I’ve learned so much about God’s heart through it and have seen this demonstrated through my sweet hubby daily.
I have felt loved and cared for, heard and respected. I have never once doubted my hubby’s love for me and have always felt beautiful in his eyes. He makes me laugh, and every time I look at him I can’t believe how lucky I am. This handsome, hilarious and strong man of God chose to do life with me, thank you Jesus!
About Anniversary celebrations
This year hubby and I went to Flagstaff, Arizona for a couple days. We wanted to beat the LA heat and enjoy one of our favorite cities. We also got to visit the Grand Canyon, which neither of us had ever been to before.
A truly happy marriage does not require the most exotic or exciting Anniversary celebrations. This year wasn’t the most thrilling we have ever done, it’s also not least exciting one either.
From dinner or brunch before or after work, to small trips and cruises. Visiting International destinations and sometimes just the next city over. No matter what, it is always celebrated.
The key to having a truly happy marriage is not how big we celebrate on our Anniversary. But how we celebrate it each and everyday.
When I think of those two kids standing in front of God and their 400 closest family and friends. With so much hope and excitement for the future. I think they would be so proud of the marriage we have built.
I would tell them each year gets better. Even when you can’t imagine it being more amazing than it already is.
I would say “You are making the best decision of your life, and the best will truly continue to come”.
“Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’?
So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate .”