Philip and I were married on 2nd April 2011, a glorious day and a fabulous celebration of the beginning of our life together. God brought us together, He had confirmed to each of us that He wanted us together, and He keeps us together.

In our first year of marriage, as a newly-wed farmer’s wife, I got to experience in a really practical way what it means to be his ‘helper’. There’ve been countless times when Philip called me to count sheep, fetch cattle, and in fire season, jump up at a moment’s notice to go fight a fire with him (often at night), and I loved it! During one of the fires, I got to thinking about trust. I was at the one end of the fire, Philip was down the other end and I couldn’t see him. It gave me a picture of trusting each other as we battle problems together. You can’t always see what the other person is doing, and if you keep running off to check up on them, your part of the fire gets neglected. You’re both working towards the same thing, trust each other, keep going (and pray a whole lot!), and you meet in the middle with the fire out.

It’s not easy deciding what issues are worth making a big deal about, and what you just have to let go of. But either way, pray about it and give it to God, I’ve seen so many times where I’ve chosen to talk to Him about it rather than Philip, God shows Philip in ways I never could, what the problem is and how to solve it. In our second year of marriage, we paddled the Orange River together (a marriage-tester if ever there was one!), The one day was particularly rough with a monster of a headwind and a few trickier rapids. Our guide wanted to get us to a particular camp and we had to paddle hard to get there. It was horrible and we were at each other’s throats the whole day. By the time we reached the camp (an hour earlier than our guide expected! Yeah! Go team!) I was in tears and had moaned to God that Philip was so mean I never wanted him near me again. Then he came to me and said “Ruth, I’m so proud of you! I don’t know any other women who could’ve done what you did today”. Heart – melt!! Nine months later our baby boy was born, so I guess those words worked! 😉

Life has changed drastically in our third year of marriage with the birth of our son, Neil. With a baby to look after I can’t jump up at the drop of a hat to help out with the farm, and time just seems to disappear. It’s both unbelievably wonderful and incredibly hard at the same time. I haven’t yet sat and pondered what my lesson from year 3 is, but I’m grateful for this exercise of thinking back and writing down things I’ve learnt before. I need them now just as much (and possibly more) than I needed them then.

[To read the next story of Marriage Year 3 with Shaun and Samantha Brauteseth, click here]