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How to have a truly happy marriage- Why we are thriving 18 years later

Happily Married for 18 years, a truly happy marriage
September 8 2002- Our Wedding Day

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. 

1 year Wedding anniversary at the Paris Hotel in Las Vegas Nevada
Since we honeymooned in Paris hubby surprised me for our 1 Year Anniversary with a trip to The Paris Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada

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”.

Our 10 year Anniversary cruise from New York through New England
For our 10 year Anniversary we took a Disney Cruise our of New York City up through New England

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.

4 year Anniversary trip to Sedona Arizona
Hubby surprised me with a weekend trip to a Bed and Breakfast in Sedona, Arizona for our 4 year Anniversary

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
Riding our Tandem bike for our 13 year Anniversary along the coast
Our 13 year Anniversary was spent riding our tandem bike along the beach, enjoying each other, food and beautiful views
  • 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

our 15 year Anniversary as the sun sets on the LA County fair
On our 15 year Anniversary we enjoyed brunch before hubby had to get to work at the LA County fair, I of course accompanied him and enjoyed a full day being together.
  • 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 10 year Anniversary in Paris
We did get to go back to Paris (here we are at Disneyland Paris) during the year of our 10 year wedding Anniversary. We had always wanted to go back and we did! Hoping to make it back for our 20th!

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. 

Our 14 year wedding Anniversary on a Transatlantic Disney Cruise
For our 14 year Anniversary we took an 11 night Transatlantic Disney Cruise from Barcelona to New York

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!

Our 18 year Anniversary trip to Flagstaff Arizona
Our 18 year Anniversary in Flagstaff, Arizona

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. 

Freshly married we asked our photographer to grab a shot of us squeezing each others butts
I can still hear the giggle of our wedding photographer and dear family friend Brad when we told him we wanted this shot after our wedding. It definitely set the tone and has continued to throughout our marriage.

Looking back

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”.

Jesus says

“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 .”

Matthew 19:4-6

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Holly Mendez

    This is beyond BEAUTIFUL, Caroline! I loved reading every word! So encouraging and inspiring! Marriage is such a precious blessing. Thank you for sharing such a bold and honest blog. The world needs way more truths like this. I appreciate your heart for Jesus and His work flowing through you. Big hugs sweet girl!

    1. Caroline

      Thank you so much for reading and your sweet words! I just love marriage so much and want others to experience the same Blessings I have! XOXO

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