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The key to a great marriage

Filed in: Personal

10 years of marriage and I still get butterflies when I think about my husband.

The good kind, of course. The kind that Colbie Caillat sang about in 2009 that starts in my toes and makes me crinkle my nose. The flutters are still there after a decade together and they are even more sweet than they were before.

There was a time though, when I had the “I’m-not-so-sure-I’m-doing-the-right-thing” kind of butterflies. When we were engaged I had all kinds of insecurity and fear that made me wonder if I had made the right choice. Marriage is a big deal, after all. Doubt set in as soon as I had a ring on my finger. I started thinking all the thoughts:  “What if he changes?” “What if it gets hard to love each other?” “What if he hurts me?” It was pretty much a new “what if” fear every day, sometimes multiple times a day. It was tough. Poor Nate.

Looking back on that time, I am glad I had those thoughts. As painful as they were to think, they did help me identify the reasons WHY I was getting married to this person specifically. And, ten years later, the solution I found from this time in my life turned into the key to why our marriage is so great.

There are so many reasons why our relationship is good. We laugh together, enjoy one another’s company, and give space for each other to grow and dream. But these reasons are not the key that keeps our marriage great. They are important ingredients, for sure, but they can’t always keep us happy or give us an anchor for the tough times. We need something more than just enjoyment of each other to work.

Nate and I have certainly encountered our own fair share of tough times in our decade of companionship. We have experienced some major highs and some pretty serious lows. From financial insecurity to deep depression and anxiety, we have walked through things that tested our relationship. Over the last 10 years, we have learned that the tough seasons have strengthened our marriage when they could have torn us apart. Why? Well, that’s the key.

When I was doubting my choice to marry Nate, I knew we needed to talk about it but tried to avoid it at all costs. However, Nate being the observant person he is (and my passive aggressive tendencies GLARING), he asked me what was wrong. I distinctly remember sitting on his lap and hugging him close while I shared my deep feelings of fear with him. And you know what he did? He held me back, listened to me all the way through, and remained steady. He told me something about trusting that we were doing the right thing and let me process all that was on my mind. He proved to me right then and there that he was FAITHFUL to me and FAITHFUL to himself. He was secure in himself and he was inviting me to be secure in our relationship. And that was when I learned that the key to a great marriage is faithful commitment.

All the other things are important too, by the way. Things like enjoying similar activities, having similar core beliefs, and dating each other often. But the thing that kept us going through the difficult times and even made our marriage better was the fact that we have been faithfully committed to each other from the very beginning. I can trust Nate because he is faithful in choosing to love me even when I am the one who is struggling with insecurity. He can trust me because I am faithful to support him even when he experiences unexpected health problems. We promised commitment to each other and we come back to that commitment every year. Our choice to be faithfully committed to each other has given us the safety to be ourselves and to love each other openly and freely. It has moved us through joy and through pain and I know it will bring us through even more in the years to come.

Happy Anniversary, Nate. I love you so much it hurts.

Warmly,

Heather

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