On Marriage

Seventeen years ago I spent my entire Spring Break grounded. Even from my phone*.

The humanity! As one might guess, it seemed to me the end of the world– especially since I had just met the cutest, awesome-est guy…

… A grade older than me, he was the strapping captain of the wrestling team, with perfectly coiffed spiky-but-not-too-spiky sandy blonde hair and a faint sprinkle of freckles across his nose.  I can still picture the oatmeal-colored waffle-weave Henley shirt he sported with loose fit Levis and Doc Marten’s the day I met him. I was supposed to remain at my girlfriend’s house that day, but she and I instead spent the entire day with aforementioned wrestler and chums (cue the grounding), and Wrestler and I have been together ever since.

In hindsight, I’d say it was worth it. Not only am I now happily married to that sandy blonde wrestler, but he has blessed me with the most beautiful children on the planet. (Not biased, this is factual.) Moreover, had I not met him, who would have given me their Bible and first explained my need for a Savior?

Side note: If my children ever ask, it is NEVER okay to spend the day gallivanting around town with boys (or girls, for Little Man) when your parents have no clue of your actual physical whereabouts. Hypocritical? You betcha. Do I care? Not one iota. 

Really, we were/are just a couple of idiots in love. It’s not like in my impressionable teen years I was intelligent, objective, or self-aware enough to realize that he would be a great husband for me, that his strengths would compliment my weaknesses, and vise versa… I just loved him.

Recently, our marriage has come under intense scrutiny. A tiny faction of naysayers believe our family to be unworthy of adopting another child because of what we have endured in our seventeen years together. Truth is, we are doing this “adoption thing” pretty publicly (with the unapologetic intent of spurring other prospective adoptive parents to action) and have come to expect a certain amount of criticism. However, we put more weight on both the licensed professionals- with whom we have been painfully candid– that have deemed us eligible and competent, as well as our family (both blood and elective) that knows our history and our hearts and have been overwhelmingly encouraging and supportive.

Our seventeen years together have been exceptionally full ones. Never easy, never boring. We’ve survived a lot together, not the least of which were a fourteen month deployment to the Middle East and the still-birth of our third daughter. In good times (check!) and bad (check!), sickness (check!) and health (check!), for richer (check!) or poorer (check!), we have overcome trials by the grace of God. God knew how we would bless and stretch each other, even through our mistakes and shortcomings.

Now, were my children to ask me if they should date as teenagers or entertain the prospect of marriage with someone who doesn’t profess the same Christian faith as theirs, I certainly would not encourage it. I would challenge them to prayerfully consider the implications before diving in. In truth, my Christian husband suffered because he married an unbeliever. Upon our meeting, I absolutely helped to temporarily sideline his faith from the forefront of his life to the back-burner. Still, God has used our self[couple]-inflicted sufferings to refine us and bring us to a place of complete reliance on Him. I don’t think I’d stamp that as complete failure, and I’m sure thankful that God never gave up on us.

Scripture that has blessed our marriage:

“[Love…]… bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” 1 Corinthians 13:7

“A cord of three strands is not easily broken.” Ecclesiastes 4:12

“Therefore a man[woman] shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife[her husband], and they shall become one flesh.” Genesis 2:24

“So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what god has joined together, let not man separate.” Matthew 19:6

Books that have blessed our marriage (in this order):

The Five Love Languages (Chapman)

Sacred Marriage: What if God Designed Marriage to Make us Holy More Than to Make Us Happy? (Thomas)

For Women Only: What You Need to Know About the Inner Lives of Men (Feldhahn)

The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands (Schlessinger)

The Excellent Wife: A Biblical Perspective (Peace)

This Momentary Marriage (Piper)

Photo credit: Valerie Hibler Photography 

see thru phone*How many of you thirty-somethings had the same see-through phone with neon colored components that lit up when an incoming call came in? Younger friends, see that yellow spiral thing? It’s called a CORD. It actually plugged into the wall. Like a lamp. I know, hardly civilized. At least this beauty resided in my bedroom, a true 1990’s luxury.



2 responses to “On Marriage”

  1. onwingsoffaith Avatar

    Hi! I came across your blog via Ni Hao Y’all and felt compelled to comment. We are looking into starting the China SN adoption process within the next year and I love reading blogs and trying to figure out how it might all unfold for us – which of course is impossible 🙂

    I saw that you are using the same agency we have been looking into and I wondered how your experience has gone and if you would recommend them. Also, I agree that marriage takes work! We recently (almost a year ago) did some couples counseling due to stressful life events (our friend’s fatal cancer diagnosis) and a desire to just have a really strong marriage, which I am so thankful that God has blessed us with despite the craziness of life. I’m not sure how China will view this, but felt encouraged by your post!

    1. Hi there, thanks for popping by and for your comment. I’m so thrilled to hear that you’re considering a China adoption! We have been SO PLEASED with our agency, CCAI, which has consistently under promised and over delivered throughout every step of our process. You should also know that we started out with another agency and then switched to CCAI after we were quite unimpressed and discouraged by some significant clerical errors on our file. Never have we felt like “just another family” with CCAI, though they are the foremost agency for China adoptions. You will find that they are also quite transparent about the fees breakdown, and also have cut out a lot of the “fluff” that you’re charged with other agencies. They seem to have outstanding integrity.
      As for your marriage, this would be something that you discuss in detail with your home-study social worker. You’ll want to be completely honest with them and you’ll find that they are not as scary as we all make them out to be in our heads. 😉 Years ago, when I spoke to another adoptive mom about her China adoption, she had passed on that she believed that couples who had ever been through any counselling would be ineligible for a China adoption (and it sounds like you have heard the same thing) but I have not found that to be true.
      Again, blessings on your adoption and let me know if there are any other questions that I can answer for you! <3

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