An anniversary and what’s working

This picture was taken in the woods behind my parents’ home right before our 2nd anniversary.

I sit at our table with a steaming cup of tea watching the snow fall over our city.

It’s our first real snow in Boston this winter. We’ve had a dusting or two. But there is something almost magical when snow falls thickly and softly from the sky, burying the ground in a downy blanket of whiteness.

The ground was covered in a similar blanket 11 years ago today when Brance and I headed to a quaint old white church in the hills of Virginia. We were to become husband and wife that evening.

The giddiness and excitement, the hopes and dreams of a life spent together were greater than anything we had ever experienced. To find one’s soulmate and to wed—there are few things more beautiful or exhilarating in this life.

We’ve continued the journey of married life these past 11 years—through the beautiful and the hard, welcoming two precious daughters along the way and moving across the country. And oh, I don’t regret our decision for a moment.

In fact, I am often struck with awe at God’s sovereignty in putting us together. We fit like hand and glove. I think back to my single days and see how foolishly I was apt to choose, left to myself. How grateful I am that God in his great love and mercy gave me Brance.

While our marriage is far from perfect, we are very happy and in love today and I am absolutely convinced that here is why. We have prioritized and engaged in these couple of things over the years…

  • To love and serve God and others together. Brance is so good to lead our family spiritually through bible reading, prayer, the catechism or just sharing spiritual stuff he’s been learning. We also look for ways to be a blessing to the people in our lives.
  • To dream and plan together. Ahhh. Surprisingly, this has been one of my favorite aspects of married life. Whether it’s a business idea or a trip or ministry—there is no one I’d rather talk to and dream with about these things.
  • To work side-by-side. For us this could mean washing and drying dishes together, working together on a business project, or painting the walls in our home renovation (!) together. Doing the ordinary work of life side-by-side keeps us close.
  • To “date” each other. Rarely this involves going out on an actual date. It’s difficult and expensive to get a sitter on a regular basis, right!? A date at home often includes take out, a movie, holding hands, poetry, books, or snuggling on the couch after the kids are in bed.
  • To support one another. Brance is good to step in and help with the girls when I am feeling a little overwhelmed (we homeschool and I deal with an autoimmune disease). I’ll go out alone for tea or visit a second-hand shop or meet up with a friend. And I try and encourage him to pursue hobbies/interests he enjoys and time away with friends as well. This helps rejuvenate us and I am convinced makes us better spouses.
  • To encourage one another. We try and be each others’ biggest cheerleaders, not tear one another down (which can be so easy to do in marriage), and support the other’s goals and dreams.
  • To seek forgiveness and offer forgiveness freely. To not hold grudges. We try and never go to bed angry with one another.
  • To play together. Doing silly things and laughing together (especially with our little ones) makes this crazy journey through life together more fun and exciting.

I am sure there are many more, but these are the ones that came to mind!

What things do you engage in that have made your marriage stronger? We’d love to hear.