Friday, November 9, 2012

love and marriage

Go together like a horse and carriage...

I am by no means an expert on marriage and relationships.  I am however in a successful and happy marriage that went through trials and errors just like everyone else.  We have just learned to overcome and find that love is the most important part of a happy life.  We choose love instead of running from it.

Anthony and I were recently talking about how happy we both are.  How happy our marriage is, how happy our family is and how much joy we have everyday.  As we reminisced, we remembered it wasn't always quite as "happy."  Anthony and I had our first child a year and a half after getting married.  We were still figuring out life as a married couple, just purchased our second home, and Anthony had just been hired on full time at the fire station and took on extra projects at work that added to all of the new stress.  When our daughter was born, life changed more than I could have ever imagined.  I was so blessed with this tiny life we created together even though she NEVER slept and screamed until her tiny little voice was hoarse, every single day.  I quit my job to raise our child and we just moved to a new town where I didn't know anyone.  I tried maintaing my old friendships but everytime I would get on the phone, Alexis screamed so loud that the phone calls started getting less and less as my need for adult conversation became desperate.  I wasn't warned about losing the only identity I had ever known and feeling so lonely at a time everyone says is so magical.  I made a lot of mistakes in my marriage early on and one of the biggest ones was resentment.  I actually resented my husband for going to work.  He was earning a living for our family and allowing me the ability to stay home and raise our daughter but in my sleep deprived eyes, all I saw was him having an escape.  He got to go hang out with other guys, sleep a little more than I, and keep his pre-baby life.  Or so I thought.  We weren't communicating very well at this time because I started building a wall between us filled with jealousy, resentment and anger.  I wasn't happy with how I looked or how I felt.   Looking back I'm pretty sure I had post partum depression.  Eventually I was getting more than an hour and a half of sleep and things started to get better. That is when we had baby #2.  The second time around was a complete 180.  We were in our groove.  I figured out how to be a mom, I made some wonderful friends, I slept a little more and being a family became the only life I ever wanted.  Looking back at the tough year, I completely blame myself for any problems we had as a couple.  Sure, it would have been nice for him to let me sleep a little more but we made it through alive.

And then.... 3 years ago I got sick.  This is a point in some couples lives where they take one of two roads.  The road traveled together or the road traveled apart.  It was never a thought for us, it was just what we do, we travel together.  Our love has grown so strong through this journey.  We turned to each other, held on, and haven't let go.  We started walking through a life path that wasn't what we thought but we know we are doing it together.  Realizing that my health wasn't going to be the same put the importance of love and life into perspective and gave us a realization of how precious life is.  I stopped caring about the unimportant things that used to bother me.  (that right there might be the best marriage advice I could give) I have put loving my family first and because of that, we have a happy family.  It is so important for my family to know how much I love them.

Our marriage is so full of love and laughter that I often feel I could burst with glittery hearts exploding all over the room.  That's how in love we are!

We are best friends, I trust him with all my heart.  He is the person I can cry to when I just need to let it all out.  He is the person that will be there to pick me up.  He will always make me laugh until I snort.  I will always be his number one supporter, his lover, his wife.

The two most important words to keep a marriage successful are: LOVE and RESPECT.   When you show your spouse respect, love will be returned.  It's kind of like the law of gravity.  It just happens that way.

Here's a few things we do to keep our love sparking:
*Hold hands often
*Say "I love you" 28 times a day (or more)
*Have lots of sex
*Speak well of each other and of other people
*Think about each other and pray for each other
*Talk to each other and make a point of making eye contact.  Take turns and be respectful.
*Keep your friends.  Girls need girlfriends to talk to and shop with and do all the girly things and guys need other guys to have their man time and do whatever it is they enjoy together.
*Be compassionate towards each other by listening and caring about what the other one is saying.
*Help each other out.  If you normally do the cooking, dishes, laundry... all the housework then men, surprise your wife by taking care of it once in a while.  And women, take out the trash, scoop the dog poop, wash your car or better yet, wash his car.  Most importantly, when your spouse helps you, show your appreciation.  Let them know how special they are and how much help they are.  When Anthony and I were first dating, he told me that I made the best peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.  This was 11 years ago and I'm positive he doesn't remember saying it but it stayed with me and I am always happy to make him one. 
*Date each other.  
*Don't let the flame burn out.
Remember when your mom said to treat others as you wish to be treated?  Well, be the spouse that you want to have.  Give everything you have and you will receive everything he has.

"The secret to a long marriage is to have no secrets." ~Anthony Fieri

I don't claim to have all the answers and we are both human.  I guarantee we will make mistakes.  But the one thing I know is we have vowed to love each other for better or worse, for richer or poorer and in sickness and health.  We promised each other in front of God that we will always love each other.  When things get tough, we turn to love.  We choose love and we choose each other.

When you take that vow to marry someone, you are making a lifetime promise.  Knowing there are no outs will always force us to work on and improve our marriage instead of running away.  I'm not saying I disagree with divorce... there are situations that are unsafe to stay in.  But if you are living a life for God, there shouldn't be a reason to end a marriage.


  1. ah karen i love this post! very honest and i love your suggestions on how to keep the love sparking beyond the wedding day. our pastor said once to dont stop being each other friend and i am fortunate that sean and i have great examples of with his parents being married 37 years and mine 32 and what it means not to give up when things get tough.

  2. Wonderful advice for an wonderful, inspiration woman.

  3. ha...from....not for :)

  4. you guys are so sweet and perfect together. yay for being happy and in love, it really is the best.

  5. Oh my goodness this was seriously the sweetest post! I loved reading it! :) I love hearing about happy marriages like my own! It's so inspiring and great to know there are still happy couples together!

    Glad you're so happy with this stage in your life! <3


  6. Beautifully said Karen! I agree with all of it!! <3

  7. oh friend! loved this post! you know I know about husband work schedule and a screaming baby///so hard when they are gone so much///I know I just wantedto talk to someone over the age of 5 lol

    people always ask why my husband and I get along so well///I always tease we don't see each other 3 days a week we don't have time to argue or drive each other nuts ;)

    love you list. I remember a pastor told me once that is should be my goal to make sure that no one treats my spouse better than i do and vice versa.

  8. nailed it. loved it.

    Much of this my hubby and I are doing, and much we still need to learn!

  9. BEST post ever!!! Wow, thank you for sharing this, and straight from your heart.
    You two are incredible and a great inspiration to us all, you can both be very proud.

    Thank you for the sound advice based on personal experience and I can't wait to put it into practice!
    Thank you again, and congratulations on being a wonderful wife too.

  10. I love this post so much! Also appreciated where you said you stopped caring about the things that didn't matter. That's one thing I am working on- letting go of the small things and not being so OCD about things.

  11. I loved this!!!!!!! Thank you for this....

  12. You two have such an evident connection.

  13. I love love love this post!! Y'all are the absolute cutest things ever!! Love the tips on keeping the spark!

  14. it is so good to hear about another couple that is intentional about caring for their marriage. i second all your suggestions!

  15. I love this Karen! My hubby and I have had peaks and valleys in our almost ten year relationship. We bicker and we struggle and have almost called it quits. But, we keep trying, every day is a new day and we know above all else that we love each other so much. It is definitely a learning process but I couldn't learning with anyone else.

  16. You are a very wise woman...I love this post and the inspiration it brings to others!!!

  17. Karen, this is so incredibly beautiful and touching. It made me cry and made me think so much about marriage and all the beauty of it (even the beauty that lies within all the madness and uncertainty). You are such a strong woman, full of so much wisdom. I love your list of things to keep marriage alive...agree with them all! The peanut butter and jelly story is too sweet! :)
    Thank you so much for sharing this.
    Have a wonderful day! Xoxox

  18. You look like a beautiful couple !!!

  19. Missing your posts. I hope you and your family are well and have a joyous Christmas.

  20. Wonderful! I haven't been on to read your blog lately but I realize now that we were kind of on the same train of thought with this blog post of yours. My son Tyler and his lovely fiance were married on December 15th and I spend the first two weeks of December offering my humble advice for a successful marriage. I always enjoy reading your blog! Merry Christmas and have a blessed New Year!


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