Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Nine Years

Today Gary and I are celebrating our nine year anniversary.  Up until this ninth year, I thought marriage was easy and I never really thought about it.  Parenting was hard (I still think it is so tough) and that is where my focus went.  Somewhere in the fall/winter, things became difficult for us.  Maybe it was just me, but I think years of sleep deprivation, putting Gary after the kids and taking care of three young energy suckers, took it's toll.   Frustration grew. The fun was long gone.  I started to see why marriages didn't last.  There was really only one option for me: I told Gary exactly where I was at and said we needed to change what we were doing because doing nothing wasn't working.

What did this change look like? Well, I started figuring out how to be a better wife.  At first, I was so against that idea.  If HE wasn't going to put in more work, why would I?  But, my friends, that is the sort of thinking that makes things a whole lot worse.  So, I started this year putting Gary above the kids and trying to figure out how men think.  Well, I've tried.  It's been a learning process but I would say that through this valley in our marriage, we have climbed above the plateau that we were at in the previous 8 years.  We understand each other so much more and we both want to make this a good marriage.

I have read several books that have helped me to work on our marriage. One is `The Power of a Praying Wife' (really it was just the introduction that did it for me and I only made it halfway through the book so far) and the other is the latest marriage series I've been doing at church, Shaunti Feldhahn's `For Women Only...'.  Other things that have helped are really just making time for each other and changing my mindset (focusing on the positive).

If I could give two pieces of advice in marriage, this would be it:
1.  Put in the effort even if the other person isn't.
2.  Make your husband a priority above the kids.

Okay, so this all sounds sort of gloomy!  I do want to celebrate what today is, so let me share something more positive:  Nine Things I Love About Gary

1.  He's playful.  He can crack a joke at any time (even in prayer).  He will hug me anywhere at any time.

2.  He doesn't complain.  He doesn't complain about situations or about people.  He tends to focus on the positive and tries to see both sides (he will often play devils advocate just because).

3. He is authentic.  The Gary you meet is the Gary who he is at home, at school, on the basketball court.  He doesn't put on act.  

4.  He is thoughtful.  If I ask a question, I expect an answer in about 10 seconds or less.  He likes to think it over and comes back with something that is whole lot more thoughtful than I would've said.

5.  He is so great with kids.  He is the dad that will be playing with the kids wherever we go.  He is a wonderful teacher and coach.  I knew he was great with kids when I met him but to see it in action over the years (even as he gets older and more tired) is heart warming.

6.  He is a hard worker.  He works differently than I do but I have learned that different is okay :) Where I will get something done the minute I hear of it, he will think about it, and think about it, and get it done in time.  There is something so attractive about him waking up each day and heading off to work without a single complaint.  

7.  He knows when to stay quiet.  This sounds sort of mean but sometimes if I'm getting riled up, he will just say `yes' or `okay' instead of  going on the attack. This brings everything back down to normal.  It prevents things from escalating and allows me to calm down and see that I'm being a bit crazy.  He is so calm and collected.

8.  He trusts me. He trusts me with everything.  I never feel like I have to worry about what he thinks in regards to how we spend money, or discipline the kids, or his commitment to our marriage.  Although, he may not trust me to put enough salt into a meal.

9.  He gracefully shows me where I can grow.  There are times when I get, uh, interesting to live with.  I'll suddenly get an idea and WE HAVE TO DO IT RIGHT AWAY!!!    I worry about what other people think.  I get stressed.  He will show me that we have time, it doesn't matter what others think, and that worrying does not make the situation any better. 

I asked Gary what he wanted me to say about our ninth anniversary and he said `It's been the best 9 years of my life.'.  I'll take it!

I'm incredibly thankful for Gary.  He's not perfect, I'm not perfect, our marriage isn't perfect, but well, it's worth working on.  It's pretty great.

Love, Louise

PS If you haven't voted, the button is on the side!  Gary and I could win an awesome trip :)  


  1. Happy Anniversary! Hope you two have a great day!

  2. Happy Anniversary! Once again, you inspire me!

  3. Happy Anniversary - another great post!

  4. Anonymous6:16 PM

    Happy Anniversary! May you feel Gods's hand and presence in your lives and on your marriage!


  6. Very much appreciate your candidness and honesty - say it like it is and then you can move on from there!
    Thanks, Louise . . I very much enjoy your blog!

  7. Grace-I love that your name shows up as `mom'! I was totally shocked that Gary's mom would've left a comment :) Thanks for reading, much appreciated!!

  8. happy anniversary!! and just popped by your 'adoption journey' blog (page?) and saw that you've started the foster care process?! AWESOME! Excited to hear about it....

  9. Shannon, yes, will share info on fostering soon!!

  10. Happy anniversary! Hope you guys are planning something fun for 10 next year!

  11. This is great - thanks for posting. and happy anniversary again! :)