We Did More Than Survive

Photo Credit: Photography by Julia (Creative Commons)

Photo Credit: Photography by Julia (Creative Commons)

As we now celebrate seventeen years, I have a few more thoughts. I edited a bit in the original post, and added a third concept.

Fifteen seventeen years. Fifteen seventeen. Years. I repeated the words slowly to myself about 10 am yesterday today in Starbucks as I considered our anniversary (insert pithy comment about a typical male not being home on his anniversary here). Two three thoughts come to mind when I ponder the last fifteen seventeen years with my wife: Boy have we grown up, and has it ever been eventful, and boy am I grateful for the privilege to build one life together with my wife!


Our first year of marriage was nearly an unmitigated disaster. We were so convinced we knew how to communicate that we wouldn’t listen to the other speak. Now we have taught classes and mentored couples on effective communication techniques in marriage. We have seen marriages rescued by using these strategies.

We have grown in comfort with one another. In the first few years of marriage, there was a great deal of uncertainty and insecurity:

Does she really love me?

Will he be drawn to her – she is skinnier than I am?

What will he say if I make THAT purchase?

Will she defend me THIS time against her family?

Now, we are mostly past those insecurities. We know each other. We are known by each other. Fully accepted. Fully loved. Moles, farts, body odor, and everything else are nothing compared to this love.


Over the last fifteen years, we have gone from wide-eyed twenty one year old babes, just trying to figure out the world, to now having the privilege of sharing what wisdom we have learned with our children and others.

I was working at a bookstore, and Barbara was decorating pies at Marie Callender’s. Now, I am a CPA/consultant/writer and Barbara is an RN. I was skinny, now I am comfortably filled out.

We were a family of three, with our oldest a toddler. Now we are a family of six, with our oldest nearing a year outside high school graduation and our youngest in third fifth grade.

I hope our next fifteen years is just as eventful. One of the most wonderful things about being married to my wife is that she is always willing to jump into a new adventure. At times it is with a bit of trepidation, but she does it any way. I love that about her!

After fifteen wonderful years together, I finally start to understand what Paul spoke of in Ephesians 5 when he compared the relationship of Jesus and the church to a husband and wife. When Jesus looks as us, He sees only love. Moles, farts, body odor, and everything else are nothing compared to His love.

Gratitude [new thoughts]

I had a brief text conversation with a friend today. I said Barbara and I have been married 17 years, and all of them have been happy. We exchanged LOLs, then lamented how few of our friends could say the same. So many joke they have been married “X” years, and “5 of those years were even happy”, or something like that.

I am grateful to God with every fiber of my being that I have the privilege of building a life together with my best friend, my strongest supporter, my lover.

I couldn’t raise our daughter wisely without Barbara. Her tenderness when my daughter’s autism creates confusion and an episode of anger is salve to my heart, and a constant reminder that kindness can kill anger.

I would be too quick to cut the cord on what I deem to be unhealthy friendships, rather than jumping into deep waters to find out what’s changed.

I would never risk as much as I have in the past six months, because some days I just don’t believe in me. But she always does.

What a blessing it is to be able to legitimately quote one of the cheesiest lines in cinematic history — Barbara, you complete me.


How do you see the love of Christ reflected in your marriage?


  1. ‘Our first year of marriage was nearly an unmitigated disaster.’

    I’m so glad my wife and I weren’t the only ones. We’re a little behind you, we’ll be seven years married this year but already it’s pretty special to see the way in which God has enabled us to grow (happily) in our marriage and learn more about Him along the way.

    Beautiful post. It’s really encouraging and inspiring to see how much change (family, children etc.) can happen and the blessing it can be.

  2. This is beautiful, Chris.

    • Thanks Chad. You know, it felt so right to have the first post on my redesigned site to be dedicated to my greatest fan and biggest advocate. I’d be such a mess without my wife

  3. Wonderful

  4. Katina Vaselopulos says:

    Great post, Chris! You are doing a great job even with many odds against you.

    Our journey also has been full of nuisances and miracles, strong winds and cool breezes, rain and sunshine, storms and calm, like many relationships. It has been a blessing not focusing on what was lacking; instead, we appreciated the positive features in each other and in our relationship and kept it going despite the arguments and disappointments of the early years.

    This past September, we celebrated our 49th anniversary, four children, and nine grand children, because our marriage rested on a great degree of faith, trust, respect, patience, forgiveness, compassion, generosity, and love—all under the umbrella of trusting the divine. Mutual faith, trust, and respect are the foundations on which any human relationship is constructed, and in marriage, much more so.

    • Oh Katina! I hope in a few decades Barbara and I will be able to still be talking about nuisances, miracles, sunshine, storms and blessings. I love hearing every little piece of your story

  5. I can relate! We too got married young (20 and 21) and thought we knew it all! Now, 17 years and 4 kids later, our life has drastically changed and so have we. We’ve grown up together and still continue to grow!

    • It’s amazing how little we actually knew right? The flexibility to allow each other to grow and change is so important. Something I think many stumble over in marriage, particularly when marrying young.

      Congrats on 17 years…and four kids. I know the four kids can overwhelm on some days, right?

  6. Ah! Your marriage sounds a lot like mine and my husband’s. We’ve been married 16 years and have 6 children. We didn’t have any mentors in those rocky first couple of years but I read a lot of marriage books. 🙂 We did take a short marriage class before we married and another class right after. The rest we just learned over the years as we learned to communicate. Communication is so important!

    • Absolutely on the communication piece! We were raised in VERY different homes, with VERY different communication patterns. We had to learn that both were unhealthy, then bravely forge a new healthy pattern of communication. This is still a work in progress, by the way 🙂

  7. There’s something about you both being there that seems to put things on a knife-edge…. and you just wait until she gets you back home!!! 🙂

  8. Liked this post. We’ve been married 36 years. To answer your question. I would say Christ is reflected in our marriage in acceptance. I’m not perfect and yet, my husband accepts me. He’s not perfect and I accept him. Why? Because we are accepted by Christ. Just as we are.

    • Anne,
      That is a wonderful image of Christ’s relationship with us. My wife and I have grown greatly in this area. Particularly since we were so young when we first got married. I consider who I was at 20, and who I am now — there is nearly no resemblance. And yet my wife has loved me and accepted me all the same throughout.

  9. LOL!!! Tell me about it! 🙂 I pastored 13 churches here in the UK and was often relieved if my wife was not in the congregation when I preached on marriage! 🙂

  10. By keeping us together for almost 42 years!….And if you knew us, you’d realize the miracle in that! Praise the Lord!!!

    • I often wonder what the wonderfully kind couple who mentored us our first year thought about us, and what they said when we left their home. We assume they just shook their heads, then prayed for God to break through.

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