In August my husband and I celebrated twenty-seven years of marriage! Our marriage motto is Loving, Forgiving, Learning, and Winning! Roger and I represent the struggle (we've had plenty of those) and success (enjoying each and every one) of marriage. We both came from homes that experienced divorce so guess what... we intentionally came to disrupt divorce! Our goal is to unite, conqueror and position our marriage to change future generations! Daily we make a choice that there is no plan B for us! I may have considered plan C a time or 2 over the years though, if I'm being honest! I doubt that he has-I mean why would he?? LOL! I do understand however, that there are circumstances in which plan B must be executed! Everyone has to decide for her or himself what a deal breaker is for them!
Real talk, NOTHING good in my life has happened by accident to include my marriage! A good marriage, to me, is a mix of God's grace and intentionality-translation, WORK! Oh and as unromantic as it sounds, following a calendar! I am here to tell you that I drank all of the kool-aid from the 80's & 90's R&B and romance movies that I so love! I was young and expecting some fairy tale stuff-you saw the horse and carriage pic on Insta Gram, right? LOL! So when truth (trauma, addictions, etcetera) was exposed we realized that just like anything else we would have to work, sacrifice and choose to have a good marriage that's what we began doing! Some days it is extremely HARD! Other days it presents as a beautifully choreographed dance-those are the days that we are intentional about our words, actions and plans and adhere to that calendar I mentioned above!
Part of being intentional for us means having a blueprint. Psalm 127:1 says, "Unless the Lord builds the house they labor in vein that built it." Our blueprint is guided by God and His vision for us! Without a vision the people perish, that's Bible too! Where there is no vision there is no motivation, growth, goals or hope! That is true in singleness and marriage! I believe every blueprint should be steeped in prayer and inked on paper! If you're going to do it, do it with intentionality! So we are about that intentional life: dating, get-aways, vacations and just spending time together which somehow includes taking a million random selfies! Some of the daily things we enjoy are walking, biking, binge watching shows, sharing our hopes, dreams, frustrations and fears! Parenting 4 children over the years and caring for an aging parent the past 5 years has certainly presented challenges to the blueprint but we press on! As a wife, a few ways that I am intentional in our marriage are:
I released my husband into God's hands- I am not trying to change him. He is God's child, not mine! My simple prayer is for God's will to be done in the life of my husband and that he live a life that is pleasing to God! That way we are all good-God, Roger, me and our children!
During some of the most challenging times in our relationship, when I felt like I couldn't love him the way I should, I loved him like a brother in Christ. I extended to him the same grace I would have wanted extended to me. I also had to spend some time with my mouth shut! That doesn't mean not speaking up when necessary! I realized that for me, being silent for a moment enabled me to approach conversations and speak in a way that would allow me to be heard.
I have daily affirmations that I speak over our relationship. For example, Roger and I are as one- similar mindset and united in spirit. We love, respect, date and speak highly of one another at all times. We are moving forward together in pursuit of purpose! We hear with our spirits not with our emotions. We are life-long students of one another and each others biggest cheerleaders.
This year Covid-19 would not let us be completely great but it could not stop our shine! We enjoyed a couple of long layovers in Phoenix and Vegas. We also enjoyed lunch in the park, patio and rooftop eating on Lake Minnetonka, a gondola ride on the St.Croix, live music, dancing and dinner courtesy of our daughters! We spent some time (per our marriage blueprint ) discussing our relationship: things we are doing well, things we need to tweak and of course, planning for the future! We also had the privilege of being interviewed by Nikkia R.S. Hines of "More Than A Mommy" podcast (if you haven't listened to her podcast, you're missing out)! You can hear our story/interview on Spotify or iTunes: Episode 8-Meet the Gayles!
I'd like to reiterate that we have had seasons in our marriage of great success as well as seasons where we slept on the struggle bus! I can honestly say that sticking with each other through our difficult times has truly been a gift as we have witnessed each other grow tremendously (be freed from trauma, addictions, generational foolishness, reach goals, develop healthy patterns and live out purpose) and our relationship deepen as a result! Some say we are picture perfect, I say we may look picture perfect, but it is in fact a picture as there is no such thing as a perfect marriage, just a progressing marriage (as in doing the work)! As a matter of fact, hours before our podcast interview we had a moment of intense marriage fellowship regarding a miscommunication that threatened to throw us off our game but thank God we know how to fight our battles! Marriage exposes things in us that need to be addressed, it's like a mirror, reflecting back to us the areas in which we need to grow. It is my hope that as we continue to stretch and grow we will become all that we were created to be! We are on a continual journey of growing and becoming better as we bring out the best in each other! Listen to the podcast to hear more of our story!
Rooting for all marriages,
My Prayer for marriages: Dear Lord, marriage isn't easy but we thank you for the beautiful gift that it is! Help us to open and handle the gift with loving care and intentionality! I pray that we recognize this gift as something we do not just for ourselves but for your glory and future generations! Give us the desire to be the wives/husbands you intend for us to be, not what we think we should be. You are the truest example of Real Love, let us strive daily to emulate you in our marriages. May we talk, listen and hear with our spirits not with our emotions. May we laugh, date, encourage and support one another's dreams, and always be committed to mutual growth! As we seek you on behalf of our families may we hear and respond when you direct and correct us! Help us to be patient, have an effusive display of love, respect, and kindness towards one another AND let us have fun on this journey of matrimony!
What marriage advice has helped you OR what marriage question do you have? I'd love to hear from you?