I recently went back and looked over our photo books, images from our first date back in 1999 through marriage and the births of our two lovely children and couldn’t help but smile at all those memories.

Kathy and I met at a Scripture Union holiday club in 1997, we were both in Matric, there was an infatuation, but neither of us pursued it as Kathy went off on foreign exchange for a year and I went straight into my tertiary studies.

In 1999 we were both leaders on the same holiday club and I remember turning to a friend and shared that by the end of the week we’d be dating, and despite our first date being with a bunch of youth leaders at Spur, followed by a ‘romantic’ screening of the Matrix, she stuck it out.

Fast forward a few years as we were preparing for our marriage in 2004 our marriage counseling shared that by choosing to marry each other we were ‘compromising’.

Now as you might imagine it’s not how you imaging starting off your lives together, but the truth is that it IS a compromise. No two people want the same thing at the same time, marriage in itself is a beautifully testing and trying experience, think about it, you take two people from different families & backgrounds, coming together as one mind, body and soul. Exactly.

The compromise is that one of you WILL bow out to the other, but the secret? Wanting what is best for your spouse, not yourself. You see if you are both wanting what is the best for each other, finding that point of compromise is fairly easy, not always, but being self-seeking and wanting your own way leads to a break down in communication and resentment.

You quickly start to believe these ‘acceptances’, you know, “She/He will never change” or “She/He always does that!” and it creates a rift that can soon become chasm as you spiral out of your circle of intimacy.

The general world view is that you are in it for you, the media propagates this by sharing it’s “every man for himself” or “do what makes you happy”, but I’m calling it.

Marriage is a choice, one you make daily, to put your spouse and families needs above your own, it’s self sacrificing and at times plain old tough. It has little to do with feelings, and everything to do with choices.

On our wedding day instead of saying “I do” we said “we will”, we will choose daily to love each other, to work through our problems, to embrace the struggles of life that invariably that come along and work as a team though God’s grace.

Marriage is beautiful, it bends you, moulds and shapes you. Almost 10 years in I’m not the same man Kathy married, I’m a better version of him and I’d like to think she feels the same and I look forward to the years still ahead of us.

[For a post from Marriage year 10 with Lu-Shane and Marco Alexander, click here]