Anniversaries are super special in my house. I would never have imagined being married to my husband for eighteen years. Real talk, my parents didn’t even think my husband Don and I would remain married past the first six months. They expressed this to us more times than I can count.
Why would my parents think this, let alone have the nerve to verbalize this to us? Well, the early years of our marriage were extremely volatile. We did not get along and could not see eye to eye on anything. We argued over stupid things such as how to fix spaghetti: sauce mixed in or poured on top? These arguments would escalate to fussing and eventually cussing matches. Don would always say he was leaving and I would tell to do it, calling his bluff every time.
We had moments where we were forced to come together and get along. We even have life or death situations with two premature labor pregnancies. We learned real quick how to pray together in those instances. Through military deployments, many unemployments, health issues and even a child spending a weekend in jail, we endured things that would have torn other marriages apart.
With all of that being said, on June 12th we celebrated eighteen years of marriage. That’s two hundred sixteen months of marriage, two hundred and ten more than my parents thought we would see as man and wife…..whew!
During this week, I have had several people ask me what we do to keep our marriage fun and fresh after eighteen years. Don had some guys shake his hand and congratulate him for this daunting task of keeping his marriage together and still liking me. Imagine that.
I wanted to share a few things we do to keep our marriage fun and fresh. It is so important because I am not going anywhere anytime soon. The brother is stuck with me until death do we part.
Apologize quickly – You know when you have messed up. Own it, ask for forgiveness and move on. As women, we try to hold on to our apology. I say that is the dumbest thing ever. The longer you hold on to it, the longer you allow the enemy to eat your marriage up. Do not worry about them. Do your part. If you are not immediately forgiven, give that to God.
Forgive quickly – Just like the apology, forgiving is so key to your freedom in marriage. Holding on to something does damage to your heart and spirit. It also keeps a wedge in between the two of you. Ask yourself if it is truly worth holding your husband hostage to your pride.
Love hard – The Bible says in 1 Peter 4:8, “Above all, love each other deeply because love covers over a multitude of sins.” I think this scripture was written for married people. Where else do you have to love hard other than parenting? I always ask my clients, “Would you divorce your kids?” Those angry moments with your spouse are fleeting at best, but LOVE lasts for an eternity. I chose to love Don when he was at his lowest moments. It was not easy and there were so many days when I wanted to leave. I am so glad I didn’t call it quits on my marriage because of temporary situations. He is now, my best friend.
As I reflect on these eighteen years with my husband, I am reminded that he is not perfect but he is perfect for me.