Married Young & Still Standing: What Has Helped Our Marriage Thrive

With Valentine’s Day having just passed and being inundated with images and messages of love, it got me thinking of my own journey with my husband.

Jeff and I were college sweethearts & teammates, have been together for 17.5 years and married for nearly 12 years. During that time together we have experienced transformational highs, and character building lows, and through it all we are still here doing life together. And enjoying the ride.

There are several factors that have contributed to the longevity & fulfillment of our marriage but three of the main reasons are:

1) Our mutual respect

If I shine, he shines, and vice versa. We learned long ago that we are teammates and not each other’s competition. Do we have friendly contests/bets to see who can complete a task quicker around the house? Sure. But at the core, we both get that we are in this together.

For example, the 2020 & 2021 track seasons were when Jeff coached me & my sister to the Tokyo Olympic Games and was a period of time where our family made sacrifices to put us in the best position to be successful.

Then shortly after The Games we packed up our house, left the comfort of Michigan, and embarked on a new journey that would put Jeff in the best position to be successful with his career goals.

There was never a specific conversation of “it’s my time now and your time is coming” but our mutual respect for eachother allowed us to understand that different seasons in life require varying levels of sacrifice from each party involved.

Having respect for your partner can show up in different ways as well.

Do you respect the person you’re with enough to let them know when they’re wrong?

Do you respect the person you’re with enough to openly recieve constructive criticism & implement ways improve?

Do you respect the person you’re with enough to learn their quirks and figure out ways to help bring the best out in them?

Regardless of what it looks like for you, I believe that respect in any relationship is a major key in it operating at its highest potential.

2) Our communication

We have different communication styles but we both understand the importance of being honest & open with eachother. Whereas I am more direct & and I don’t shy away from the difficult conversations, Jeff is more tactful & works a little harder to keep the peace. Both approaches have their pros & cons, but they serve as a good complement to each other. Jeff and I certainly balance eachother out in this area.

Regardless of your communication style, there is an art in effectively getting your point across.

If you don’t like something say it.

If your partner is doing a great job at something, make it known.

If your reality is not matching up to your expectations, speak up.

If your partner has gotten too comfortable and you’re desiring that spark again, express that.

Men sometimes complain of women expecting them to be mind readers and although I’ve also been guilty of the “but he should already know that” mantra, it’s imperative to communicate your feelings clearly.

I also want to point out that communication is often less about what you’re saying and more often about how you say it. Everyone receives information differently, and being proficient in speaking your partner’s language is a skill in and of itself.

3) Our shared values

While we grind daily to build our legacy, we never lose sight of what’s truly important to us. We are no strangers to sacrifice but I do applaud our efforts to remain centered and always remember our why.

Both of us coming from humble beginnings and having experienced our fair share of hardships both individually & together, we have come to really appreciate God’s favor and grace along the way. We both understand that life is not perfect and obstacles are inevitable, but collectively we know that after a test often comes a testimony if you stay the course and keep the faith.

Jeff & I are both hard working individuals who take pride in our work, but never to a point where our careers take priority over our family or health. We both value things like peace, joy, & contentment and are intentional about making space for the things provide them.

My husband & I both do enjoy some of the finer things in life and we work hard to be able to afford some of life’s luxuries, but everything in moderation. Also knowing the other person’s frame of reference helps if one of us begins to get off track and needs to be pulled back down to earth. Sometimes you need that person in your life to keep you grounded. Jeff has been that for me at times, and I have done the same for him.

We are keenly aware that trusting in God’s promises, and moving with integrity will never go out of style. Thankfully this mutual belief has been very useful in bonding us together during both the good & bad times along our journey.

We never claim to be be perfect, in fact, I’d be the first person to acknowledge the ways we fall short daily as individuals & as a couple. With that though, but there is no one else I can imagine being on this ride with. Yes and that includes even when Jeff gets on my nerves haha.

Whether you’re a “go all out on February 14th” type of person, “every day is Valentine’s Day” type of person, or somewhere in between like me, I’m sure we can all appreciate the importance of showing people the love they deserve.

And this does not only apply to romantic relationships because there is great value in honoring all the relationships in your life. I stress how fulfilling doing so can be in this blog: The Importance of Nurturing Relationships.

Have you had time lately to reflect on the status of your relationships? Single, married, or otherwise, there is great value in performing periodic checks on how things are going and being honest on ways to improve, if necessary.

It’s my hope that you find peace, joy, and contentment in every single one of your relationships as well!


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