We have definitely gotten through some challenges in nearly 18 years of marriage. The challenges that seemed to be a big deal once, I actually look back and laugh about now.  At the time, the toilet seat being left up or the tooth paste cap off was no laughing matter. Now, there are bigger challenges of forgiving each other for things that seem unforgivable; learning to communicate about our differences of parenting styles rather than fight about them; learning to ask for help when we can’t do it on our own…

It has been through overcoming these challenges together that we have come to a place of trust for one another which has led us to an accountability. I can remember not that long ago if Chris would have said to me that I was being too hard on my daughter or had any kind of critique of my parenting style I would have gotten very defensive. Today I allow that criticism to be a mirror for me to see myself as others see me (especially my own daughters). Marriage has become that safe place where I can be myself and yet be challenged to be my better self. I have been reading a book that talks about how marriage is not just about making us happy, but making us holy. This can not be so if we are constantly defending ourselves to be the right one.

Things began to change for us when I realized that Chris wasn’t criticizing me to put me down, but to build me up into a better mom. Once I trusted this, I began to make changes in myself which liberated me from a deep rooted pride. I recognized more of my own brokenness and became more forgiving of his brokenness. We have learned gentle ways to remind each other when we are stepping into that area of struggle or sin.

We both had to recognize our own pride in order to break it down. This came through confession. The beauty of confession is that it brings freedom for the one confessing, and a avenue for grace for the one receiving that confession. Sharing vulnerably with each other has become a process filled with grace. This grace moves us towards change so that we can become who God created us to be. We have learned to love each other for who we are today but also to love who we are becoming.

[To head back to the beginning of this series and read a whole bunch of different stories, click here]