On Thirteen Years of Marriage

Last month Michael and I celebrated 13 years of marriage.

We sent our kids to stay with my brother's family for the whole weekend! We ate out at TWO restaurants. We drank beer until 10:30 PM! We didn't wake up once in the middle of the night for TWO whole nights!

... and we spent half the time working through some things.

'Cause marriage is all sunshine and unicorns right?

At least, that's kind of what we expect when we are young and in love and want to spend every living moment with our significant other.

When you get engaged, everyone wishes you a life of everlasting love and happiness. Couples tell you their "secrets" to a life of wedded bliss: always say you are sorry, be quick to forgive, laugh a lot, and never go to bed angry... They make it sound so easy.

I'm here to tell you it's not always easy. If your marriage has been easy. You are blessed!

Then, add kids to that marriage equation and you get a whole new dimension of work.

With kids around, it's really difficult to have uninterrupted talk sessions with your spouse. Sometimes the lack of communication can cause us to stuff our feelings until the opportunity arises that we can release them. That's what happened to us this year on our anniversary weekend.

It's funny, you see... Mike and I are a picture of redemption. Our first few years of marriage were, ummm, errr, well... not great. There came a point where we almost didn't make it. If you'd like to know more about our story, you can read it here on my previous blog space.

We have come so far since then. We are very open and honest about our marriage journey, even speaking publicly about it in an effort to help and encourage struggling couples. The last few years of our marriage have been wonderful and healthy.

But, even in the healthiest of marriages, life happens and all of a sudden, we realize that some things are being neglected or taken advantage of. When we actually get a few moments to process, we realize something is amiss and needs to be evaluated.

That's when the work begins. Work is a good thing. Work is hard, but we can do hard things.

It's hard to hear that I have hurt my spouse.
It's hard when my spouse hurts me.
It's hard to express my emotions in constructive words.
It's hard for me to accept responsibility for my actions.
It's hard for me not to make excuses.
It's hard to say I'm sorry.
It's hard to forgive.

It is so much easier to ignore, to pretend like everything is fine, or to find escape. But that will inevitably lead to anger and bitterness. When anger and bitterness take root, the problems will only continue to grow deeper and stronger.

It's not exactly how envisioned the beginning of our weekend, but it was good to work. When you work hard and accomplish much, it feels gratifying and rewarding. Working through issues is not a fun process, but the result of the work is a deeper and stronger connection with each other.

I love the feeling after the hard work (which in the midst seems so far away). It's like you're falling in love all over again. The trust between you has grown another level and the conversation changes to the good things in life and dreams for the future.

The two of us have grown exponentially in these 13 years together. We can't imagine doing life with anyone else. It is a blessing to be able to say that we are very happily married. But, I want you to know that we are happily married, because we are committed to working hard at being happily married.

I am eternally grateful for God's grace. His grace is enough to cover any of our situations past, present, and future! Wherever you are at in your relationships right now, take comfort in His mercy.

What is something you wish someone had told you at the start of your marriage? I wish someone would have told me that you will have the same arguments/conversations over and over. Both of you forget or get lazy and things will need to be re-hashed again and again. Share yours in the comments.


  1. I totally agree! We have been 3 years and together 10 and most of the time we are great but obviously life happens and so do arguments. I wish someone told me that it's okay to have space for a little bit after an argument as long as you go back to it. There are just times we both need a half hour so that we can talk constructively.

    1. Yes... short breaks and a little space is good -- especially for me. I think it's totally okay to go to bed angry too.

  2. <3 Thanks so much for being real and honest! We're coming up on 5 years and God's grace is absolutely evident in our marriage too! Marriage is tough and we all just need to be submitting it to the Lord and working on it as best we can! <3

    1. Thank you for reading Susannah. I am so thankful for Grace.

  3. The things I wish people would have told me when I got married seems endless, though I'm glad they didn't. My husband and I have been married a year and a half. We've almost been divorced and had our fair share of troubles. But we worked on what was broken. It has made us stronger. If someone would have warned us we probably wouldn't appreciate where we are now as much because we've fought so hard to get here. I can't wait until we have been together as long as you two. Congratulations! ❤

    1. That is an interesting perspective; thanks! I'm so glad to hear you have worked through things. It's true, when you fight hard for something, you REALLY own it and appreciate it.

  4. I completely understand where you're coming from. My husband and I also struggled in the beginning and it got pretty scary. But we worked through it and we'll be at 10 years this October. I really enjoyed reading this, Christina! Thank you for sharing! (Also, great name.)

    1. Ha! Ha! on the name comment... If there is any advice I would give newer married couples it's to "hang on." The first few years can be hard, but if you can work through it all of a sudden you are celebrating 10! Congratulations to you too : )

  5. Congratulations on 13 years!! We have been married for four, yet this year marks ten years together. I wish someone would have told me how different the seasons would be -- some very high, others very low -- and to trust and have faith in our ability to weather the lows together. Thank you for your honesty in this piece. It is comforting to know how much work others need to put into their marriages, too.

    1. Yes! There is so much comfort it knowing we are not alone. Other couples struggle. I had a season when I felt like I was the only wife feeling like marriage was work. I'm thankful to have a great group of friends now who can be real with each other about these things.