How It Started;
So hopefully you've already read the detailed account of our love story, if not, gurrrrrrrl go back and catch up! We may have one of the cutest love stories in history (not that I'm biased or anything 🤣) but yeah, you can read it here.
In short, we met when I was 12 and he was 14 and got married at 18 and 20. Trust me when I say there are TONS of juicy details in between those two events that you WANT to read! (Actually, spoiler alert here, but I hope to someday base a novel (or a few) off our love story, yes, I'm totally serious! Anyhow...)
If you want to know how we've gotten to where we are today, let me just warn you ahead of time, it's not the prettiest story. We've had a lot of rough times and we're not a magical "happily ever after" story. So if you want to dive in, be my guest, but know there will be a lot of raw truth shared here that you might not be expecting.
How It's Going;
Shoo! Well, fast forward 14 years and here we are with 5 kids and a few chickens (lol when did that happen!?) and probably more in love then when we started out. Because if there is one thing I've realized, it's that the butterflies-in-your-stomach, warm-and-fuzzy-feelings is more of a romantic feeling than real love.
Let me just go on record to say that love it hard. Real, true, self-sacrificing love is an effort every single day.
And don't think for a second that we're perfect at it. Truthfully we've gone through some really, really rough times that I didn't know if we'd ever recover from. We've said terrible things to each other, held grudges, refused to forgive, disliked one another, disrespected each other, become roommates, and in most senses of the word; fallen "out of love" with one another.
So why are we still here? How are we still married?
Well, first I'd say the grace of God. 100%. I know we wouldn't be here without Him.
Second, commitment to see it through. Like I said, love isn't just butterflies and stars in your eyes...Love is being willing to get down into the nitty, gritty mess of knowing another person like you know yourself. It's being able to offer grace and come to terms with their "flaws" in a way that maybe you're not even willing to for yourself.
I don't know if you've ever thought about it, but your spouse is the only person in your family you get to choose. You don't get to choose what family you're born into. You don't get to choose your children. But you do get to choose the person that you want to spend the rest of your life and every waking moment with -no pressure 😉
But this post isn't to scare you, but to give you hope for a wonderful marriage. Because while I don't believe in "the one", I do believe that whoever you choose to marry becomes that "one", and that if you're willing to commit and dive in heart-and-soul, you can truly carve out a beautiful life for yourself as two become one flesh.
So let us -hopefully- serve as an inspiration to any who are out there struggling. You can have the marriage you're hoping for. You can live all your dreams and have the life you want. But friends, and this is a big but....You have to be willing to do the hard work because I promise it won't all be easy. But it will be worth it.
The In Between
So while I have wonderful things to say about my man and my marriage now...Trust me when I say that it hasn't always been this way in all seasons of our marriage.
After our beautiful backyard wedding that was a fairytale in itself reality hit; hard.
We left for our honeymoon two days after we got married (actually, we went back to my parent's house for a gift opening the day after our wedding. (Side note here...10/10 DO NOT RECOMMEND; can you say awkward!? 🤪 Uggggh! It's was super rough and I was so embarrassed!) We flew from our honeymoon in the Bahamas straight to Oklahoma City, OK (12 hours from our friends and family in MN), to start our life together.
I was young and naive and thought that everything would be sparkles and roses since we were so deeply "in love".
Turns out I was horribly immature and didn't know how to communicate well, or really at all, so we spent the first couple years of our marriage in horrible fights; cold shouldering each other and screaming matches. Yeah, I told you it wasn't all roses.
Honestly there were so many times I thought "what have I done???"
So many people told us we were too young to get married and that we should wait. Was I wrong to rush into "happily ever after" with this person? Just because we knew each other for years before we got married we'd only been children, what did we really know about commitment and love?
We spent our first anniversary halfway around the globe from one another. He was deployed to a location I'm still not allowed to disclose and I went home to stay with my family while he was gone. I felt slightly like the wife in disgrace 🤣 Lol although everything was "fine", limping back to my parent's home to spend the summer with them when I was only 9 months married was not my idea of married bliss.
Then when he got back I felt like we hardly knew each other. We oscillated between loving and hating one another; when we were good, we were really good, and when we were bad? Well, I'll let your mind fill in the rest.
Our saving grace came 2 years into our marriage when Jeremy's contract with the Air Force was up. We had some hard conversations and instead of re-upping like he had always planned, we decided to leave the military. That choice was not supported by anyone we knew. Our families were upset. Our military friends didn't understand. Jeremy's superior told him it was me or the military (and told him straight up to choose the later). But we followed what we felt the Lord was leading us to do, which was get out and go to ministry school.
I caught you off guard there didn't I?
Yeah, it still surprises me sometimes.
But after a really rocky start to our relationship....We were inn for more hard times.
We had very, very little money. Lived in a 1 bedroom, 1 bathroom apartment. Devoted every waking minute to the ministry and schooling we were a part of. And basically fell into being roommates.
But thankfully God wasn't done with us and while we worked on ourselves individually as people, He also worked on us as a couple.
I truly don't know if our marriage would have made it if we hadn't spent those 6 years in prayer and personal development. We learned a lot and began -slightly- to understand what it meant to lay down your life for someone you love. We caught hints of the deep levels of commitment that we were called to as married people; that it wasn't just two people giving 50% each, but rather two people giving 100% each that makes a marriage successful.
So we loved, and fought, and learned a lot.
But What About Babies???
Wondering where our kids come into all of this? Well, actually, babies were one of the biggest fights of our marriage. Yep...
We spent years fighting over timing, when I secretly believed Jeremy just maybe didn't want kids. Seems funny right? For anyone who knows us now and sees our 5 children you would probably never realize that we fought, and fought, and fought over them.
Ever since I was a very little girl, I told everyone I wanted to be a wife and mom (my mom said I started saying this at 2 😅). It's been my aspiration my entire life. I always wanted to get married young and start a family. And while I had one half of that equation; there was a season where I wasn't sure if I would get the other.
I remember sobbing and just feeling that ache within me. My empty womb felt like a stone inside my gut. Every period was like my own body taunting me. It was some of the deepest anguish I've ever felt.
And you know what? We never totally settled the conversation. (No, no, I didn't trick him into getting me pregnant or anything.) But during that really hard season I realized that I shouldn't be praying for God to change his heart, I should ask God to change mine. Instead of praying for my will to be done, I prayed for God's will to be done.
It didn't mean it magically got easy or that I was good at it. No friends, I still cried to God almost daily and whined about it to a good friend of mine. But I also did the hard work of at least trying to get my heart right.
And eventually, Jeremy came around.
Thank goodness too because I realized a month later that I was pregnant 😅 So yeah. Bam.
6 years of marriage and then suddenly it wasn't just the two of us anymore, it was three. Whoa baby! Now that was an adjustment!
There was quite awhile that I neglected my poor husband and became lost in motherhood. I didn't know who I was anymore or how to balance my new found roll. And my baby just needed me so much more than this adult man; couldn't he understand that!?
It only got worse when we added another small being. At this point we had moved from Kansas City, MO where we'd been for ministry school back "home" to Minnesota where we're both originally from. I was 28 weeks pregnant when we moved and Jeremy immediately started a job as a security guard at a hospital while also putting myself through school to be a cop. So what little time he had at home (during the middle of the night mostly) he was working to finish his school.
It frickin' sucked.
8 years into our marriage with two small babes in my care I wasn't sure we were going to make it.
I felt like I didn't know that man I'd married anymore and he didn't seem interested in me in the slightest. Actually at one point I was pretty sure he was having an affair and at that point I was so hateful towards him I didn't even care much.
Turns out he wasn't, he didn't, and we just were two very angry people who were too stubborn to love one another where we were at.
We came to a breaking point late one night. I wasn't sure where the conversation was going to go and if we would come through on the other side still wanting to be married. But my husband surprised me by saying something;
"Well...Divorce isn't an option here. So either we learn to love one another, or we're miserable for the rest of our lives."
And I feel like that changed the course of our marriage.
The Abbreviated Version
Again, that't not to say we didn't continue to have our fair share of arguments and struggles. We went through another really, really rough patch right before Sammie was born that I also wasn't sure if we'd recover from. But in the goal of keeping this already super long post a little shorter, I'll leave that story for another day.
Just know that what I've learned over the years is that love and commitment take time, respect, good communication, and above all God.
We would have given up a long time ago if it wasn't for those things.
At this point we're in a completely different stage of the game.
We've learned to communicate so much better than we used to! We actually -usually- have gracious arguments where we share our struggles respectfully and without screaming or projecting on the other person. And man! The level of friendship that we now experience is beyond anything I ever imagined.
While I fully believe that butterflies come and go and romance and mostly for movies; a good solid friendship where you can look at that person and know that you enjoy them more than any other person on the planet is truly amazing.
I chose him years ago, and I would choose him again today and every day.
So I guess if I have anything at all to say to wrap this up, it's that marriage is hard work friends. It's hard, hard work. But it's worth it.