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What I've Learned in My First 12 Years of Marriage

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Women Living Well Blog: What I've Learned in My First 12 Years of Marriage

Women Living Well Blog

Thursday, September 10, 2009

What I've Learned in My First 12 Years of Marriage

My husband and I celebrated our 12th Wedding Anniversary this past weekend. These photos are from our wedding day. The first one makes me laugh out loud. Right after we lit the unity candle - we had to stand and hold hands while a long song played and guess what happened - the unity candle WENT OUT!

I kinda felt like it was a bad omen and right then and there my husband and I had our first disagreement of our marriage - I wanted to relight it - he did not. So I stood there grinning and bearing it while hundreds of eyes stared at us - those were some of the most awkward minutes of my life!

12 years later here we are...

I know I'm a bit blonder, tanner and have about 15+ extra pounds on me - things have changed. If you could really see my hair color you'd see a lot of grey peeking through. I'd like to say that it's a result of wisdom - but I think it's from how tired the children have made me!

Let me tell you about our earlier years for those of you who don't know me. We met in our church high school youth group and attended our high school proms together. He went to a Christian high school. I went to a public school. Following high school graduation he went off to the Ohio State University to get his degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering while I went to Chicago to attend the Moody Bible Institute. For FOUR long years we dated long distance. This was before cell phones and email (in the olden' days ha ha!) so we wrote each other a love letter every single day! Yes, I have loads of letters in my attic - he was a very faithful writer.

As soon as I graduated we were married the following September. I moved from our hometown to right outside Ohio State's campus and began a job as a receptionist, then Administrative Assistant and finally as a pager sales girl (That sounds funny too! Boy, do I sound old - who uses pagers now???) and I worked him through three more years of college.

Those first few years were hard, humble beginnings. I didn't really like my job - he didn't really like his school work but we both labored for a common goal. In a city far from family and friends we bonded. My husband saw first hand my flops in the kitchen, how slow I was at ironing a shirt and my messy tendencies.

I saw first hand a few of my husband's traits that bothered me. And so began the chain of apologies and forgiveness, love and acceptance, biting my lip when things weren't the way I'd like them to be, turning my head and ignoring things that bothered me, laughing at our opposing views, enjoying his amazing strengths, sharing our hopes and dreams, trusting, accepting, loving and forgiving.

The divorce rate in America hovers around 50% and if it weren't for Jesus in our lives I believe we'd be a part of that statistic. It is only by the grace of God and the Holy Spirit's conviction to time and time again apologize and forgive each other that we can still be madly in love at 12 years! I was tested at the marriage alter when that unity candle went out - he did NOT want it re lit - and I submitted. I have found that the more I respect and submit to his leadership the more joy we share in our marriage as he in turn loves me unconditionally.

I thank the Lord that I did not lose his heart over petty fights or bitter feelings. If you are struggling today with petty fights and bitter feelings - please stop yourself before all the joy is lost in your marriage. The grass is not greener - all husbands are flawed in one way or another just as we wives are. We all carry baggage into marriage - some a little more than others but we must accept, love and respect our husbands unconditionally.

Ephesians 5:22-24 says "Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything." I think the mandate is clear - submit to your husbands in everything...

To me my husband is stronger than a thousand warriors - he has overcome many hardships in his life and his strength gives me strength. He is the one who encouraged me to start a blog. Would it be corny to say "He's the wind beneath my wings"! Well he is!

Walk with the King!



Blogger Jennifer Thorn said...

Happy Anniversary! 12 years, wow! Sometimes it seems like only yesterday that we were at Moody and you two had your phone dates. Good memories! I pray that God will bless the next 12 years and many more after that.
You are right, it is sad how high the divorce rate is even among Christians and it takes a lot of work, prayer and humility to have a healthy relationship. Thank you for your post.

September 10, 2009 at 9:02 AM  
Blogger Courtney (Women Living Well) said...

Jen - I can see you there in the first photo!!! Yes, you were such a great roomie - giving me space for all our romantic phone dates! And being a good listener while I LONGED for him day in and day out. I'm sure I talked about him way more than you wanted to hear haha! You helped me survive those years without him with a lot of laughter! Thanks friend!!! And yes - this means 12 years have past since the good ol' days of Moody Bible...boy has it flown by!

September 10, 2009 at 9:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Beautiful Courtney – thank you for sharing. I remember you talking to Keith in the hallway at MBI.
I appreciate your honesty. No marriage is easy – it’s takes lots of work and forgiveness. Thank you for being such a great example of respecting and submitting to your husband!!!!

September 10, 2009 at 9:17 AM  
Blogger Shelly said...

Happy anniversary! Beautiful wedding photos!

September 10, 2009 at 9:26 AM  
Blogger Trudy said...

Happy Anniversary to you and your husband Courtney and I pray you will have many more happy and joyful years to come!

We love Moody too...we are hoping to be able to go to Founder's Week in February for the first time!

God bless!

September 10, 2009 at 10:41 AM  
Blogger Kari @ p.s. said...

How beautiful. Not many women would say so many wonderful things about their marriage or husband. We will celebrate 9 years in November :o)

September 10, 2009 at 12:04 PM  
Blogger Regina Coblentz said...

Happy Anniversary!!! Marriage is work BUT so worth it all.

September 10, 2009 at 12:24 PM  
Blogger kimmy said...

Happy Anniversary!!Thanks for sharing your heart and I'm blessed to know such a wonderful couple!!!

September 10, 2009 at 1:28 PM  
Blogger Ann said...

Happy Anniversary!

September 10, 2009 at 5:27 PM  
Anonymous Steph Crawford said...

I love this post! Thanks so much for sharing your life with us. :)

September 11, 2009 at 2:35 PM  
Blogger Anny said...

Congratulations on your 12 years :)

September 15, 2009 at 9:06 AM  
Blogger born2worship said...

I know this is an older post but...My husband turned on my computer tonight and there you were! After he was done I saw him your blog. We picked out a post to read and it lead us to this one. My husband and I were also High School sweethearts. But like you, my husband went to a private Christian school and I went to a public school. We have also been married 12 years. We were married on 6-7-97. Just thought it was funny similarities! I love your blog. I use it to start my devotion in the mornings. Thanks for the accurate and inspirational things you say. You are truly a blessing to me.

January 23, 2010 at 7:04 PM  
Blogger Courtney (Women Living Well) said...

born2worship! How fun that we have so much in common! Thank you for taking the time to comment and encourage me. I am glad you stopped by and hope to get to know you more!!!

Much Love,

January 23, 2010 at 10:13 PM  
Blogger mjellis said...

What a beautiful post! Thank you so much for sharing your story - as a newlywed, it's so refreshing to me to hear honest marriage stories.

April 23, 2010 at 2:31 PM  
Blogger Bethany at 3SonsPlus1 said...

Beautiful post! I really enjoyed reading it!

We're a "September" couple too, and we also would be a statistic without the love and intervention of Christ in our marriage- it's comforting and inspiring to read about others who have persevered as well! :)

April 23, 2010 at 5:52 PM  
Blogger Amy and Mark said...

What an inspiring story! I'm now a follower. Happy anniversary.

April 25, 2010 at 12:33 AM  
Blogger Claire said...

What a lovely, honest post! Congratulations on the 12 years!


May 2, 2010 at 3:35 PM  

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