When you first get married, it’s so easy to think that you have it all figured out. It’s easy to think that life will be easy – all sunshine and rainbows. It’s easy to be wrapped up in your blissful little bubble and think that it will never pop, that bad things will never happen, unexpected things will not come your way.
Deep down, we all know those things aren’t true. We don’t have it figured out, life won’t be easy, the bubble will pop, bad things will happen, and unexpected things will come – probably more than we think. That is when it’s great to have people to lean on. People to look up to. People who have more experience.
You hear stories about marriage – people are cynical, sarcastic, and downright rude sometimes. They don’t always paint marriage in the most flattering light. And I think maybe that’s because they forgot that deep down they knew that the bubble would pop – they expected to float along in bliss forever, and never thought real life would touch them again. I think if you forget those things, it’s easy to become bitter and cynical about marriage and about your partner instead of leaning on each other in those trying circumstances.
Joel and I are blessed to have lots of examples of strong marriages, who love the Lord, and who have made it through some difficult things and come out the other side stronger couples.
My grandparents would have been married 64 years this year. My Grandad passed away suddenly and unexpectedly the April before Joel and I were married. They had their moments, their spats, and certainly their difficult times, but almost 62 years… man, that is something to admire.
Joel’s grandparents are still going strong as well (sorry Clair and Verlee, I don’t know how many years exactly). Joel’s grandpa Clair had us take the Meyers-Briggs test before we got married, knowing that learning how the other person communicates makes a major difference in a marriage. I joked that I had to pass a test before he would let us get married, but it really has been valuable to know that Joel thinks out loud, while I contemplate things in my head before I mention them. It’s still a learning process, but it has been helpful.
Both of our parents have been married for over 30 years, and while they would be the first to tell you that their relationships haven’t been perfect, they have stayed together, persevered through some really difficult times, and remain examples to us of what it looks like to love another person.
Thanks to our families and our friends who really are examples to us of how to love each other well. We are really blessed to have you in our lives – to talk to, watch as you raise your kids to love Jesus and each other, and ask questions of you when we aren’t quite sure what to do.
The past 3 years have been great! We’ve seen our share of bizarre circumstances and difficult times, but we’ve also had some incredible times and we’ve certainly been blessed beyond measure.
From the very beginning… these are from our second date. We love to laugh and be silly…
A few months later, we got engaged. Millie took really fun pictures for us!
We worked on our house… painted, re-painted, put in new floors (with lots of help)…
We got married… Joel wanted to see my dress, but I’d only let him see the veil.
We’ve had adventures…. a honeymoon in Spain, a couple road trips to Iowa, and a trip to Miami…
I left my engineering job and started working as a photographer (my website) thanks to encouragement and prodding from Joel. I get to see people on one of the happiest days of their lives and capture families being who they are. I love it.
We went to India together to serve in a couple orphanages. Joel’s heart was already there, and I left part of mine.
I ran a half-marathon. Joel watched… and cheered me on!
Joel and his family laughed at me when I was super excited about snow in Iowa. I built Sam the Snowman, and they laughed some more.
Joel graduated with his MBA…
We went to Hawaii for Christmas with his family – I snorkeled and went to a Lu-au for the first time.
We’ve practiced being parents by watching Maddie and Hazel (our two favorite 3-year olds).
I’ve learned a lot about jiu-jitsu, and met one of Joel’s “idols” – Royce Gracie. We are best friends now.
We’ve been to Vegas and the Hoover Dam, and New Orleans (to shoot a wedding there) during Mardi Gras.
Another road trip to Iowa – and a Campbell v. Drake football game. We were the only Campbell fans there… even the players were surprised to hear us cheering… and it was so much fun!
Joel has had lots of weird and terrible haircuts (most self-inflicted)…
We welcomed a new niece, Camryn, into the world…
And now, Joel has started law school, we’re selling our house, and we’re getting ready to welcome our own daughter in the next week or so. (My co-worker, Rachel took these great pics!)
(and Millie took these…)
It has been an incredible adventure so far! Joel, I am so happy to celebrate 3 years with you! I can’t wait to see what the next few years hold… I’m sure that they’ll be full of more adventure, more craziness, and more blessings that we can even imagine now. And when things get difficult, we will have each other to lean on. Love you bunches!