Aaron and I have been married for 9 years and four months (as of next week!) and I seriously feel as though we are just now seeing the work that marriage sometimes requires. Everyone is different and for some marriage is hard from day one. They struggle, they fight and they are sometimes unhappy with each other. For others they seem to breeze through it and the rest of the world wonders what their secret is. They just connect. They never fight, they enjoy each other and simply seem happy with each other all the time.

Our marriage has always fallen under the second category. Marriage has been a breeze for us. We love each other and we do it well. We understand each other and we do it well. We serve each other and do it well. We don't fight. We truly enjoy each other and get along great with each other.

For the first time in our 9 years of marriage things got hard. They didn't even get that hard, but things just started requiring more work. We had some hard conversations, we shared some hard feelings and life just got in the way of our love.

I truly believe that marriage shouldn't be draining. It should be fun and enjoyable and for us it is, but for the first time in 9 years we hit some bumps in the road.

Here are a few things I've learned in the last few months about marriage:

  1. If something is bothering you TALK ABOUT IT. Something happened recently where I wasn't seeing it, but it was really bothering Aaron.   Had Aaron not talked to me about what was bothering him a few things would have happened. He would have grown bitter towards me. He would have started to distance himself from me. I would have continued in my ways as I was not aware of the hurt it was causing him. We would have grown apart and that is where things get bad. Because he did talk about it, it grew us closer to each other. I saw what was bothering him from his eyes. We gained trust with each other.
  2. When things get crazy SLOW DOWN for each other. We have discovered that we both need each other in different ways and if we talk about those ways to each other it helps the other person fulfill those for us. There are four kids around here, so I need Aaron present during their awake hours. That helps me so much! Aaron is an artist, he needs time to be creative and I know when to give him that. We recently canceled dinner with someone because we just needed to stop. Schedules were non-stop and we needed time with nothing and we canceled to make room for us.
  3. When you begin putting your needs in front of your spouses then it becomes a vicious cycle of trying to only please yourself. You forget that we are here to serve each other. To love each other. To view the other person's needs as our own. August and September were crazy busy months around here and they somehow got the best of us.  We started to each become very selfish and only looked out for each other.  We started keeping count of what the other did for us and holding things against each other.  Finally we looked at each other one day and confessed our pain, our selfishness and things began to change.  We put each other first again.  We cherished again.  We listened again.
  4. Love each other well. Respect each other. Cherish each other.  Don't let life or kids turn you against each other.

There is no other person in this world I'd rather spend my life with. God knew what he was doing when he put us together, because we are a great match. No one makes me laugh like Aaron. No one loves me the way he loves me. No one cares for me the way he cares for me. He is my love. We have a great marriage and these few bumps in the past 6 months have brought us closer and revealed much sin in our own hearts. I truly desire to love him well and with God's help and strength I can do that.

Jamie Ivey