Dustin and I have been married for seven years. They say the first seven years are the hardest. I hope that’s true. They were really hard for us.
Maybe it was because we were young and naive. Maybe it was because we were getting to know each other. Maybe it was because we were selfish and sinful. I don’t know.
But the last seven years have contained some of the greatest trials I’ve ever faced.
I’m all for sharing our story to help other people better their’s. However, as I sit here wanting to tell you what I’ve learned about marriage and restoring relationships, all I can think is, “Who am I to give any kind of advice?”
I almost failed at marriage.
I have been thinking about this post for a while now, because we’ve reached two milestones this month: one year together post-separation and seven total years of marriage. That’s huge to me. But I’m at a loss for what to say.
What saves a marriage?
Sometimes I have so many words to write, but only one thing has been on my heart.
If I could give one piece of advice (outside of you-and-your-spouse-need-Jesus), that would be it.
Clearly I’m no expert on relationships, but if there is anything I’ve learned it’s that pride can and will destroy your marriage if you let it.
Pride says, “I’m angry. I hate you!”
Humility says, “I’m hurt. I’m scared.”
Pride says, “Don’t let anyone see the real us. It’s too messy.”
Humility says, “We need community to help us thrive. We need help.”
Pride says, “I have to be right, or I’m not worthy of love.”
Humility says, “God and my husband love me no matter what. It’s okay to be wrong and admit it.”
Pride says, “My ways are the best and only ways.”
Humility says, “We are a team. Let’s figure this out together.”
Pride says, “I have a right to act this way, because you…”
Humility says, “I’m responsible for my own behavior.”
Pride says, “I’m right and will fight to the death for what I want.”
Humility says, “I’m human. I’m flawed. I’m sorry.”
The last five months have been the most stressful since Dustin and I reunited, and there were times I feared he’d change his mind about me.
I was ridiculous and emotional, but he kept loving me anyway.
He is so humble.
In the words of Martina McBride…
“When there’s dark clouds in my eyes,
He just sits back and lets ’em roll on by.
I come in like a lion and go out like a lamb.
My baby loves me just the way that I am.”
The way Dustin handles me at my worst has taught me what it takes to keep a marriage alive. Humility.
I’m not always right. My ways are not always the best.
I married that man for a reason. I don’t want to spend one more day putting him down or pretending like I know better.
I want to “be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger” (James 1:19).
Everyday I strive to grow, and I will keep seeking forgiveness when I fail. My marriage is counting on it.
Happy 7th Anniversary, Dustin Paul. Thank you for loving me with your whole heart. I love you!