16 Reasons I Have Been Married 16 Years

Happy “Sweet 16” to my marriage today! After my workout this morning and while I was getting ready for the day, I thought that there was nothing that could really top my husband’s “Happy Anniversary” post tagging me on Facebook. 

Yeah, this is how we do 🙂

So I am not trying to top anything, but I decided to think of 16 reasons we have made it this far.

16 Reasons I have been married 16 years:

1. Complementarity. Honestly, I married the perfect, complementary personality for mine. I’m as Type A as a person can get, I’m intense and I like to make the rules (and enforce them). Craig is laid-back and he is relaxed and he is a rule follower. 🙂

2. Teamwork. We work together. Working two full-time jobs, raising 5 children, keeping a household running…can’t be done effectively without teamwork.

3. Communication. it’s not always face-to-face, because we have worked opposing schedules for most of our marriage, but e-mail, texts, phone calls…we talk to each other.

4. Goals. We set them. Many times we surpass them. Often, I think of the time I found my slip of paper that had goals Craig and I wrote down when i was pregnant with our first child. I wrote down that we planned for three children, I would complete my MBA and be making a certain income. By the time I found that sheet, our fourth child was on the way, I had completed my MBA 6 years before that and I was making about what that goal had stated. It was kind of crazy.

5. Re-evaluate our goals and our situation regularly. Goals are awesome because they can be reached and surpassed, or they can be re-assessed and modified. We do both.

6. It’s our life and we’ll live as we want to (sort of). We live our lives and don’t worry about what others have to say about it. If we would have listened to well-meaning family members, we would not have 5 children (many thought that when #4 came along, that was just too much). And we make job changes and school decisions and all of that stuff together as a team of two. sometimes a team of 7 if the kids’ opinions are relevant. But mostly a team of 2.

7. Place each other first. We don’t get many date nights or trips together without the kids these days, but we both know that the other’s consideration gets first nod as we put schedules together, make vacation plans (even with the kids) or make any other decisions affecting the family.

8. Commonality. Enjoy those things we have in common. We both love the Royals, Chiefs and Jayhawks. It’s a priority to share the games together. We love sharing that with our children, too.

9. Laugh. A lot. My husband is naturally funny with great timing. He makes me laugh more than he makes me cry. It matters.

10. Hugs. I’m more of a  hugger than a kisser. My children appreciate that, by the way — at least where their father and I are concerned. But we give lots of hugs around this house.

11. Respect. There is always the undertone of respect when we communicate, even in disagreement. We also use manners like “please” and “thank you” and “you’re welcome” and are careful in our speech. Even (and especially) when no one is there to witness it. I love that.

12. Trust. We always trust that the other is looking out for our well-being and that of the children.

13. Attend Mass often. Of course, we go to Mass together (usually) on the weekends. But we also find other times to attend Mass, if we can make it work with our schedules. Because we are not together very often for other prayer times, this seems like a critical piece of our prayer life together as a married couple.

14. Partake of the Sacraments together, when applicable. When I have taken care to go to confession more frequently, I have noticed I am more focused and at peace in my vocation as a wife and mother. When Craig and I both attend confession, I notice a tenderness and understanding that runs through our communication to each other for some time after that. There’s something about acknowledging our human limitations in confession that keeps us grounded.

15. Say, “I’m sorry” when we have wronged each other. Apologizing — a TRUE apology (not one of those, “I’m sorry IF I offended you…” — shows the acknowledgement that one of us has been a jerk and a validation of the person who was hurt. It seems our society these days is so hung up on this idea that we don’t do anything wrong to another person and many seem to justify every behavior. Sometimes it’s good to just take a deep breath, see the hurt you have caused and look at your spouse and say, “I’m sorry for hurting you.”

16. Forgive each other. Knowing that Craig forgives my faults and loves me through it all makes all the difference in my life. Extending that same courtesy to him frees me from whatever ill will I may have taken toward him and helps us move forward.

In general, Craig has supported me in everything. He has been there rooting me on in all of my crazy physical endeavors (marathon, Crossfit, Triathlon — whatever the next thing I want to try), the different jobs I have attempted, and trips to see family. But I would say the #1 way he has blessed me and our family and our marriage has been his support of learning and living our Catholic faith and raising our children in it. He and I share a common goal of joining God in Heaven someday — and we recognize each other’s part in staying on track together and with our children. 

So, happy anniversary Craig. 16 years. Mostly good times and a few sorrowful times and we’ve faced it all together. I love you.


14 Years And Counting

Fourteen years ago, Craig and I said, “I do,” and began this life together. We had big dreams — of financial security, trips to take, fall Sundays filled with football and friends and family, KU basketball games. I remember our first year together…we spent a lot of time watching T.V. in the evenings while I did cross-stitch. Craig still worked the weekends at the comedy club doing improv, sometimes I still waited tables while he did. We could sleep in on Saturdays and go have dinner and beers on Monday nights while we played trivia.

That’s the thing about young married love — it’s limitless in all the good you can imagine.

A couple of weeks ago, Father spoke in his homily about what it’s like starting out as a priest (he was celebrating 20 years as a priest that weekend) and all the good things to look forward to — marriages, baptisms, daily Mass — but he mentioned that he has grown the most through being there for people through their suffering — death, grief, heavy crosses to bear. He likened the fact that he could never have imagined what it would be like to walk through the hard parts of life with people when he was a newly ordained priest because he hadn’t been there before. Then he likened it also to what it must be like for newly married couples who set their sights on the “better” and the “in health” and the “richer” and don’t realize just what they signed on for with the “or worse” and the “in sickness” and the “poorer” until some more sorrowful things happen during their marriage.

I’ll be honest. Before this last year, my marriage to Craig seemed to be mostly “for better” and “in health.” Marriage was, for us, pretty much what we looked forward to on that day fourteen years ago. Yes, during marriage prep, we heard all the counseling and advice that marriage can be hard work. But like many young couples, we just didn’t know how that could be. We loved each other and knew we would support each other through anything, not really understanding what kind of difficulties could lie ahead of us. And for most of our marriage, we haven’t suffered what we’d consider any stifling negatives.

Experiencing the loss of a child is indescribable. And it’s the only thing that Craig and I have experienced together that no one else can completely understand. Fourteen years ago, as I married Craig, I never dreamed we would bury a child. 

It’s not been lost on me that a loss like that could put some serious strain on our marriage. But, the flip side of that is that it could make our marriage even stronger than it was before. Especially if we take the opportunities presented to support each other, to hold each other, to continue on in this life together and grieve our son together. 

I wouldn’t have wanted to go through the loss of a child ever in a million years. But if I had to experience such a profound loss, I’m glad I had Craig there to carry me through it. I believe that he has been the strength that has moved the healing to the point where we have gotten. He held me and cried with me for days after we lost Gregory. He deflects things and people that could upset me. He listens. He’s been supportive of my need and action for grief counseling. He’s put up with my lack of attentiveness to the house. He’s supported me as I have gotten active and begun running again. He lets me cry, even though it’s been over four months since we said goodbye to Gregory.

So, this year, I toast you, my Love. While I wouldn’t want to relive some parts of this year, I couldn’t imagine going through it all with anyone but you.

Craig and me on Father’s Day 2013

I am linking to Jennifer Fulwiler at Conversion Diary and posting every day this week! Click HERE to see who else took the challenge!

UPDATE: How could I not share the link love with my NFP and Me buddy? It is Katie’s Anniversary today, too. We are Anniversary buddies! Go say hi and tell her Happy Anniversary, too!