anni blog post

19 Years and Counting

This week my husband, Ryan, and I celebrate 19 years of wedded bliss [read: chaos]. I always thought “old” people were so dramatic when they would say “time flies” but now as a fellow “old” person I realize they were not lying! Time has flown by for us, certainly (I think the million kids and constant busy moments have aided in the flight of time).

As an “Ode to Our Anniversary” I wanted to dedicate this week’s blog post to marriage. If you’ve been married you know already that marriage is hard. I mean, it’s pleasant too… but also, it’s work. All relationships are, though. I would never proclaim myself to be a marriage expert by any means. A lot of what I’ve learned about how to make this marriage thing work is from watching couples I admire and aspire to be like. Seeing successful, long running marriages and paying attention to their tips and tricks is always wise.

But more than that, I think learning about God’s design for marriage and working on my own “junk” is what has made the greatest impact. Many years ago, Ryan and I went through a program at our church called Re|Engage and the key takeaway for me from the course was that each of us could draw a circle around ourselves and in it we’ve identified the problem that we can begin to work on. Working on our own selves, will ultimately work on our marriages.

Ryan and I married when we were 22 and 23. And now, as an “old and tired” lady, I think back to that and think we were just BABIES – why would someone give a marriage license to CHILDREN?! (Then I remembered that each of our sets of parents were married as literal teenage minors and I think maybe early twenties was fine. ;))

me and ryan wedding

Wedding reception

Within the first two years of our marriage, we had purchased a house, started careers as professionals with a couple of job/position changes under our belts, bought a puppy and a car, and gotten pregnant with our first child. We were trucking along with the typical American dream. In year three, the fire really got turned up on our marriage when our son, Hayden, was diagnosed in utero with spina bifida (a neural tube defect). The “typical” life we were chasing began to vanish before our eyes and we soon came to realize this marriage and this life we were living was maybe going to be a bit harder than we anticipated on our wedding day.

The traditional 19 year anniversary gift is bronze. I read an article that described true bronze this way: “True bronzes weather raging fires and might need nothing more than a little sandblasting and patina to be as good as new.” We’ve weathered some raging fires together, Ryan and I, that’s for sure. And I’m thankful for it. We’ve come out on the other side of it as good as new.

We’re now 19 years into this thing and we’ve grown individually and of course as a couple. We’ve moved six times and grown to having six children in our charge. There have been job changes, dreams chased, arguments, laughter, tears, sickness, health. Life. There has been life lived. In my book, Reckless Yes, I describe the day of our union this way, “I am certain the gates of hell shook a little bit that day. The Enemy surely knew God was getting ready to move mountains for the kingdom.”

I’m not sure what the next 19 years will hold for us, but I do know I hope to continue to grow and evolve as an individual so that simultaneously my marriage can flourish and change as God would have it to.



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