Category: marriage

I started out by inviting a bunch of my Single Friends to share some thoughts they really wanted their Married Friends to hear, consider, think about and respond to and some really great posts came out of that, which you can read over here.

When someone gets married, the dynamic between them and their single friends always changes, sometimes more than others. especially when it is the friendship between a guy and a girl [yes, those platonic ones can and do exist].

Often the dynamic gets a little weird. the married person is trying to figure out how much time they can spend with the single person while still honouring their marriage and partner and the single person is trying not to intrude on the marriage but still wanting to be friends. Yet, this is seldom something anyone ever talks about – people just try and figure it out and sometimes friendships are damaged and even destroyed completely.

Sometimes there is hurt. Sometimes there is awkwardness. Sometimes there is confusion. Often there are words that need to be said or advice to be given and maybe it doesn’t always feel like there is a good opportunity to say those things to those who need to hear.

In giving the singles an opportunity to share some of the things they might be feeling or possibly some questions they have, I thought it might be helpful to try and create a platform to help them be really honest and open and real and just share some thoughts and ideas they have for their single friends and maybe just single people in general.

If you are a married person reading these and feel like you have something to add, please drop me a line.

Meet Shana and Carl and some thoughts Shana had two years into their marriage

Meet Alexa and Charles Matthews and some thoughts Alexa has after recently being married

Meet Lisa van Deventer and some thoughts she has for her single friends





Hello. I’m Shana, and I have a husband. He’s Carl. 

We haven’t been married very long but we are married nonetheless. 

I’m not really a writer, so I’m not really going to make this sound good or write particularly well, but over the past 2 and a half years of marriage I’ve been putting together a mental list of things I’d like my single friends to know. Here goes (all harshness unintended):

1) When your married friends don’t invite you to their wedding, don’t take it as a personal slight. Weddings are expensive and making the decision of who to invite and who to leave off is extremely difficult. They don’t hate you, they just have to draw the line somewhere. Also, if you are bleak, please please please don’t tell them. It only really makes them feel more crap about the decision. If you’re in the position of planning a wedding one day, you’ll see what its like, and you’ll wish you were more understanding and made things more about them than you. They love you, I promise. And they’re probably as upset as you that they can’t have you there. 

2) When your married friends get back from honeymoon, don’t give them knowing looks, or slap him on the back in a what-a-man kind of way, or ask “soooo, how was it?”. Or worse: “soooo, how’s the sex?”. Sex is intimate, and personal and a little scary. And it certainly doesn’t involve you. Don’t make us embarrassed, or draw attention to our sex life in a public setting. We don’t want to talk to you about it. We want it to be private, we want to protect it. Its for us, not for you. And also, I’m pretty sure an honest answer might make you far more embarrassed than it makes us. 

3) When your married friends leave a social gathering early, please don’t make remarks about how we just want to go have sex. Firstly, if that was the case, well done, you just killed the mood. Secondly, most likely is we’re tired, and we work a lot, and we need sleep. And now going home means we don’t have to leave the person we love for the night, which is awesome. So we really just want to go home. I promise married people don’t only have sex, we do other things too (surprise). 

4) Please don’t ask your married friends when they plan on having kids. It’s like asking for a sex-schedule. if we want you to know, we’ll tell you. What if we can’t have kids? What if everything isn’t great? What if we just had a miscarriage or don’t want children at all? How would your question help in those scenarios? It wouldn’t. Also, everyone asks us, so it kinda gets old. 

5) Please don’t ask your married friends if they’re pregnant whenever they have gastro, or take a sick day, or look bloated. Don’t look at their fat tummy and make a comment. It’s just fat. We know it’s there. If we have news to tell you, we’ll tell you when we’re ready. 

6) We’re married. Which means that we’re going to be affectionate to each other in public. If it’s really overboard, of course you can tell us, we don’t want you to be uncomfortable. But we also don’t want to have to keep completely apart. Because we’re married, and that’s good. Please don’t roll you eyes or make comments when we move to sit next to each other or show our affection. 

7) We’re married (I think you’ve got that point by now though), which means some of our priorities and responsibilities have changed. It’s new for us, we’re also trying to get used to it. But that doesn’t mean we don’t want to hang out with our friends. Which reminds me, please don’t refer to your friend’s wife as a “ball and chain”, or a “kill joy” or ask him if he needs “permission” to hang out. We’re not his mommy. And we really do value his friendship with you. We don’t want him to give that up. Ever. We want him to prioritise spending time with you. Just maybe understand that timing is sometimes an issue. 

I guess I could continue, but I prbably shouldn’t. Just know this: we love and value your friendship. Maybe you’re closer friends and you have the place to ask these questions, or make these jokes. But maybe not, and maybe doing so will hurt or embarrass us. So just think carefully next time. Let’s not make things awkward. 

Ok that’s me
Bye now

[For more thoughts from Alexa and Charles on what they would like their married friends to know, click here]

[For many other thoughts on all sorts of relationshippy things, head over here]

Well it has been a long time coming but Brad Fish is back and with him a brand new Dangerous Things You Can Least Expect video, this time dishing out his wisdom and warnings of the kind of titles we give to people at weddings which can set us up for a whole lot of danger if we are not careful.



If you’re wondering who Brad Fish is, he is an alter ego [yes, there’s more, just check out Brett Andy if you’re not convinced] of Brett Fish Anderson who saves him from being killed from boredom or ridiculousness from time to time…

[For Brett Andy original one liners in the tradition of Jack Handey if Jack Handey had a cousin who wasn’t quite so good as him, click here]

[Take a look at more Brad Fish Warning videos over here]

[For the best Brad Fish video thus far on the need for more Sax and less Violins, click here]

if you stopped reading after the ‘b’ this becomes a completely different post… so don’t.

the beautiful Val, in case you didn’t know, and yes only i get to call her that and really mean it in the way i do. [you can of course refer to her as ‘tbV’ th0ugh, and i love it when other people do, but it has also been fun to me through the years how so many of you have mistakenly changed it to ‘the lovely Val’ – which is also true]

we are on the way to having being married for 5 years and in that time we have transitioned three times [if you leave out the time Val left family, friends, home, church to some degree to move out to Stellenbosch when we got married – a huge ask!] from Stellenbosch to Philadelphia to Oakland [if you exclude lengthy stays at Che Houston in Kenilworth] which may not seem a lot [especially when you compare it to how many times her parentals moved in their first 20 plus years of marriage] it has been a whole lot for us. ‘

New place to stay, new country, new friends, new church, new food, no mayonnaise [to speak of] and so on.

So it has not all been easy and has definitely put strain on us as a couple of intense, seize-life-by-the-throat-of-its-balls, passionate people. But it has been an adventure and there is much more of that to come. Especially as we know that another transition looms ahead [with Americaland specifically asking us to be out by early August] and are not too sure of the specifics thereof. Or therein. Or therein of? Something.

And there have been so many, and i don’t have pictures of them all [which to some extent i am completely stoked about – some adventures we capture, some we just live] but i just wanted to take a moment to celebrate my beautiful lady. i love being married to you Val and these pictures are just a glimpse of some of the memories we have put together…um together… and looking ahead to many more.

i love and celebrate you, tbV:


As i have said before and will no doubt say again, being married to the right person is one of the greatest things in the world [and discovering more and more that you become the right people as you continue in your commitment of marriage to each other] and because i have such a heart for those in marriage doing it well, i have created a lot of space on my blog to focus on doing just that and so lots of amazing marriage resources, compiled by a whole big bunch of amazing people, are waiting for you over here.


Costa & Lorraine Mitchell. Married 3rd April 1971, both of us 21 years old at the time.

We both think that we have had it very good in marriage. Obviously, this is a gift for which God is to be praised, and parents thanked, and we don’t take it lightly. It helps that God was strong in forming and informing our choices at the time we met. It helps hugely that we both came from parents who loved one another faithfully and long. Of course, hormones helped as well – look at my wife and tell me what’s not to love?

In so many respects it has been genuinely easy for us. We kind of grew into one another, as we finished growing up. We had, like any couple, to make the adjustments necessitated by two quite self-assured, independent people learning to be an indivisible couple, sharing bathrooms, chores and life goals. But what I think we both learned in those first 2 to 5 years was to use the energy of being IN love to “love (live) considerately” with one another – to learn the other person, to look into her/his interests and support them, and to show love in the form of speaking the love language of the other. It was before the books about love languages, but we have spoken for years about the way each of us has drawn the other out into the person each always wanted to be, by showing love in the ways the other really longed for, speaking love in the language the other recognises.

To put it another way, what we have learned is that enjoyable marriage is a competition – a contest to see who can serve the other harder, who can show the other the greater honour, who can live a life of self-forgetfulness in every respect, whether romantically or practically, sexually or spiritually.  Plan every week with the same care as you planned your honeymoon, show as much genuine delight at the company of your spouse in your 40th year as you did when you saw her walking down the aisle toward you. The result can be, not one long honeymoon, but many, many honeymoons!

[To return to the beginning of this Marriage through the Years series and read a whole lot of stories of different aspects of marriage, click here]


We met at UCT in 1975, followers of Christ and both students. Already – two keys to a long-lasting relationship – our Christian faith has held us in good times and difficulties; our keenness to learn and be curious about life, has kept our relationship interesting.

After completing our degrees in Education and Librarianship , we decided to work for a year before making a firm choice to get married. So we had actually been dating for 5 -6 years. We were really good friends, and so that lead to the saying “friends first, lovers later’. Relationships that are based just on sex, not respectful friendship, are bound to founder on the rocks of real life. As friends, we still enjoy each others’ company and doing things together.

Whilst engaged and during the first year of marriage, my husband lost all his hair – a condition called Alopecia Areata Universalis. A tough situation for anyone. Ollie had had the most beautiful, abundant, auburn hair. On his first visit to my family home, my Mom commented; “My, but that boy has a lovely head of hair!” Those days, hair was “in” and if one was bald or shaven, people assumed one was either gay,or dying of cancer. For years Ollie wore a wig ( a real nuisance and very hot in summer). But then came the freeing day when, after a nudge from God during a sermon, Ollie decided just to be himself and go “wigless” and become one of “God’s shaven few”. I am so glad! Interestingly enough, the boys at his school have always been accepting and curious about his baldness. Adults are the ones less accepting.

That was the first major loss we faced together. Since then we have faced many other losses: illnesses; deaths of friends and family members; serious accidents; loss of friends through emigration; financial strain.

But with lots of daily communication; keeping a sense of humour; listening to each other; and being alert for God’s leading and wisdom, here we are looking forward to our 33rd Anniversary!

[For a Marriage year 45 post by Costa and Lorraine Mitchell, click here]



We read the story of Jade and Sean as part of the Marriage Year 4 posts and Jade was so inspired by taking time to reflect on her marriage that she invited her folks to do the same and so we have this stunning post by her mom, Shelley.


Deon and I were married on August 30 1986, which means we have been married for 28 years this year.

I would love to say it was plain sailing from the beginning but it wasn’t. We were married under ‘not so ideal’ conditions – I was pregnant and felt a lot of guilt that we had let God and our family down. Through the first few years we experienced many difficult issues with our relationship (especially sexually) and later on having reflected, we almost see this as the consequence of our sin. We knew God had forgiven us, but realized that there is always a cost to sin. But through it all God was so faithful in helping us along. We were so young and hard-headed in many areas of our lives; pride always poked its head up when something went wrong.

As we got older and the years went on we came to realise the importance of constant communication with each other, but most importantly with our God. As we came to recognise this and put it into practice we felt God working in our lives, helping us along. We were blessed with 3 beautiful daughters, our family life settled down and we enjoyed teaching them about the love our Lord Jesus Christ. This didn’t mean that everything was just “peachy” and there were no troubles (believe you me there were many) but we got through it with the constant help of God’s Word and His Spirit.

Now the three girls are married to wonderful men who love God. Two of the couples are in full time ministry and the others are serving in high schools with mentoring and counselling young people according to God’s standards. Deon and I look back and marvel at God’s provision in our lives over these 28 years. Those early years were rocky. I can remember Deon walking out one night, and I lay crying on my bed wondering if it would ever work; whether we were going to be just another statistic. I am very pleased and grateful to say, NO We didn’t turn out to be just another statistic. God has molded us into a wonderfully happy, contented and blessed couple.

We LOVE being together as we have become BEST FRIENDS. We nurtured our relationship while the children were at home by going out on “dates” regularly, not elaborate as there was no money for that, but we were creative and enjoyed each other’s company; finding things that we had in common. I really do believe this has helped us, as now that there are no children in the house (except when our precious grand-daughter visits) it’s ok, because WE enjoy being together. We travel all over the country exploring and visiting with the kids and just generally have fun together (The operative word is TOGETHER – we don’t live individualistic lives). We try not to get stuck in ruts of doing things “just because” this is what you must do at your age (which, I must add, is still fairly young as we got married when I was 18 years old). We have a WONDERFUL marriage and we look forward to what the Lord has in store for us in the years He gives us.

Never take for granted that you have a “perfect or happy marriage”, marriage takes work! HARD work! But it’s SO worth it. My favorite saying to our friends and children is: “It just gets betterer and betterer”, because we never imagined that after 28 years we could be having so much fun together as a couple.

[To read the new post on the 33rd year of marriage with Jo and Ollie Prentice, click here]

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