Tuesday, February 16, 2010

First came love...


then came marriage....


then came baby in a baby carriage.


Ah, if it were always that easy.


But the truth is- for many of us, it isn't.


For most of us- it's work.


Continuous
work.


I talk a lot on here about adoption and my beautiful children, but I probably don't always give the credit and attention to the man behind the scenes...


My precious husband, who is my best friend, and who I adore with my entire heart...


and yet still marriage is work.


My amazing husband who one minute can walk into the room and take my breath away...


and in the next minute could walk into the room and annoy me just for breathing my air.


Because, yep, marriage is work.


This March Todd and I will celebrate our 18th anniversary. Looking back over the years I am blown away by how much we have grown and changed through the trials and the triumphs we have faced, and how far we have come- in our relationship with each other and in Christ. Yet that didn't come easy and that didn't come without a fight.


In this fast paced world of multi taskers, it is crucial that our marriages take top priority- right after our relationship with God. Once we are married I know it is easy to put everything else before our spouse because we tend to take those who are 'there for us' and 'love us the most' for granted- as we are busy working to achieve our goals and dreams.


And that my friends is exactly what Satan wants.


He loves it when we are so busy chasing our dreams that we take our eyes off the focus of working on our marriage. I cannot think of a better way for Satan to destroy an entire family in one clean sweep- than through a divorce. Trust me, I know, I have learned this the hard way.


Last Sunday Todd and I finished taking a Fireproof Your Marriage class through our church- that was held at our local fire department no less. We both truly enjoyed that 'work' we put into each other and our marriage. Not because our marriage was in trouble- but because we wanted to protect what we have. Over the past year we have spent time each night working our way through books on Love Languages and devotionals for couples (pictured above). I am in awe of how just spending that little time together, praying together as a couple, communicating, and working together as a team has strengthened our marriage. It has been such a gift.


I am often asked 'how I do it' with having eight children. My answer is I do it in God strength and with the love and support of my husband. We are a team- and I cannot think of a better gift we can give our children. Life is hard. Marriage is Hard. But by choosing to put God and then our marriage at the top of our priority list- everything else just seems to fall into place.


Today, if you are not already- I want to challenge you to take the initiative to love your spouse the way God loves you. Don't put conditions on your love. Don't wait for them to show you love first. We don't get love by complaining or making demands. We don't experience love by trying to make someone into something they are not. Love is a choice, period. None of us are perfect, all of us are going to make mistakes. Exercise forgiveness, exercise grace. Get rid of anything that is in your way of making your marriage a top priority- even those things that appear to be 'good things'. When you do, I promise that you will be blessed.

Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. 1 Corinthians 13:7

To my sweet husband, I know I don't say it enough, but I am so thankful for you. Thank you for loving me even when I don't deserve it. Thank you for forgiving me when I make mistakes and thank you for believing in my dreams- even when the rest of the world says they are crazy. Thank you for sharing my passions and for being such an incredible example to our children. I adore you and I love you with all that I am.


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19 comments:

Dardi said...

Nothing to add but "Amen!" :o)

Love ~ Dardi

Amy Clemons said...

So sweet!

Are These Kids All Yours? said...

Amen to that! If there is not a strong marriage it is IMPOSSIBLE to have a strong family! God definitely has attacked our marriage- many many many times.
When you focus on each other- it is soo much easier to focus on the kids :)

Laurel said...

Great post! Thanks for the honesty.

This summer, my sweet husband and I will have been married 28 years. It can still be tough. Right now ... as we are walking through a family crisis, the enemy is attacking our marriage, as well. So. Not. Fun.

Please pray for us ... we're in a tough spot!


Laurel & the gang :)

Mom to 9 Blessings! said...

Amen!

I love you Amy!

Big Big Hugs!

Marriage is work - love is a choice!

Jill

Chris said...

We are married 23 years and yes it is easy to fall into a rut and just expect him to know you love him. The children really will eat up all your time if you let them...I mean that in a very nice way, but I slip into that spot very often
We have a gift certificate to use this weekend...dinner out with no little voices, wonder if we will know what to talk about?

Sara said...

I made a post about love too and comments couples who have been married 50+ years made. We have to stop and ask ourselves, what is it that makes this marriage work and how can we remain committed to it? Always being aware of what is truly important and putting God first, husband 2nd and kids 3rd!

here are 2 posts I've made:

http://blessedbychrist.blogspot.com/2010/02/happy-valentines-day-and-love.html

http://blessedbychrist.blogspot.com/2009/01/marriage.html

darci said...

oh Amy,
you so often write a post that just makes me think "I sure wish I could meet that woman." Thanks for sharing this-you are so right, marriage is hard and beautiful and gory and joyous...I wouldn't change my life for the world, and yet somedays it's just one foot in front of the other, isn't it? We recently had long-time friends split up, and it broke our hearts..we're in this thing together for good, coming up on 15 years for us, and I am so glad God gave me this man to walk with. :)
God bless you, and your marriage and family, as you seek His face. darci :)

Sophie said...

We've been married almost 21 years and there have been many a times when I asked myself, as I'm sure he has, what was I thinking? We made the choice to work at it and not give up, to follow through on our commitment to eachother and most importantly honor the oath we took in front of God. Nothing in life worth holding on to comes easy. When God has blessed you with a good spouse it's a treasure worth holding on to.

Karin said...

AMEN...and I'm cracking up over your comment about being annoyed that he's breathing your air. :)

Andrea H. said...

You always speak the truth my dear friend and that is why I love you so much. And you don't just say it, hello, you mean it. You are the real deal! Not many out there like you. I have to totally agree with Karin that the breathing part just had me cracking up. I mean seriously, what man our husbands are for even letting us adopt over and over and over and maybe till we 70? hehe.

Renea Lynch said...

I love your heart. :) We did the fireproof class at our church last year. My husband and I learned the hard way those lessons. That movie could have mimicked our lives. But it's the learning to love, giving love first that makes it all work and worthwhile. Your words said it all. My wish is that every couple could experience that God-kind of love for their spouse. This year will be our 20 yr anniversary, and it just keeps getting better. But seriously.... breathing my air, that's got to stop! LOL ! You crack me up! If you enjoyed Fireproof you need to check out No Greater Love. I just did a post on it before Valentine's day for the same reasons. :)

Pedro and Felis Patlan said...

Love hearing other's stories of how they make it through hard times or how they are successful in their marriages, makes me feel better that we are not the only ones that struggle. It is work, and we have to put in the 100% effort on both our ends, not the 50% to EQUAL 100%. That is what we got wrong the first 5 years of our marriage.

Thank you for sharing your heart.

And Happy Anniversary this next month!

Gretchen said...

Loved this post...and agree with it wholeheartedly!

I could have written this same post...even with the 18 years of marriage (except mine is in May).

This is the most important thing. Without the love between spouses, the family will suffer. It does take work, but it is so rewarding.

One Big Fat Sugar Mama said...

Happy Anniversary you lovebirds! So glad to know you.

Oatsvall Team said...

What a beautiful post ... I am thankful to also have a godly HOT hubby, who leads our home !!! Making sure we take time for each other is so important ... Thanks for sharing your heart ... Your family is beautiful !! WE WILL BE CELEBRATING 20 YRS THIS YEAR !!! PTL

Oatsvall Team said...

What a small world .. I am not even sure how I got to your blog last night ... We will be at Christ Church, 1301 North Linden, Normal, IL 61761 ... The conference is FREE ... Can't wait to watch God work !!!

I will be checking in on your precious family often !

BrandiB said...

This may be the most beautiful valentine's week post I have read. Thaks so much for your honesty and AMEN to your words! I have been happily married for almost 9 years and through all of our ups and downs I wouldn't change a minute of it!

The Engelhardt 4 said...

Hello friend!! Thank you for posting this, because it speaks the same about my marriage. We will be married 13 yrs this March and it's been an adventure!! Sending you lots of hugs.
E