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By all accounts, Josh and I are an unlikely couple. We don’t share the same tastes, interests, or hobbies, and other than the fundamental practices of eating and working out there are very few things that we both enjoy! But perhaps because of – rather than in spite of – our very different preferences and personalities, we love what our marriage has brought to us as individuals. Every day we challenge one another to be the best husband or wife we can be.
Though we didn’t share any interests, we met and bonded over our shared vision. Fueled by our passion for God, our dream was to work side by side bringing God’s love to our world – starting with our own children. We discussed family, finances, and our future early in our dating relationship. We knew we wanted a big family and we wanted to homeschool (we are both homeschool graduates and, between the two of us, have a total of 13 siblings). We might not have had the same tastes in music or movies, but we had the same goals.
We married because we challenged one another, and it’s a good thing we knew that going in! Though we’ve been married only two years, we’ve already faced several challenges together. We paid off $30,000 in Josh’s student loans; I completed my second college degree while working full time; Josh spent six months out of our first year of marriage traveling for work; we found out we were pregnant on our one-year anniversary; and as icing on the cake, we moved to a whole new state, city, job, and home only three weeks before our daughter was due to be born! Adeline was born at home only five days after we moved.
We never could have navigated those challenges if we didn’t challenge one another first. We like to say we “love hard, fight hard”. We believe conflict is a good thing because it improves communication and helps us grow as a couple. It would be a lot easier to walk away from a fight, or only to give as much to the marriage as your spouse is giving. But marriage isn’t 50/50; it’s 100/100. We give our all because – we believe – Christ gave His all for us.
The personal challenges we faced in our marriage – navigating our different personalities and learning to be selfless – prepared us for the enormous external challenges we faced. If we weren’t unified within, we could never be unified against the world. We learned to express our expectations clearly. We stopped assuming we knew the other person’s motives. As we moved closer to God we moved closer to one another and continue to be equipped for each new challenge we face.
We’re only two years into this journey and will be growing for many years to come, but we know from experience that a good marriage comes from good communication. Give one another grace; nobody is perfect and you can’t expect them to be. If you give grace when your partner fails, they’ll be far more likely to give you grace when you fail as well. Always have hope in the Lord’s goal of blessing your marriage and family. Regardless of what happens, your marriage is sanctified as you persevere in love, and is guaranteed to be successful if you both are putting Him first.