We got married on 9th August 2000. A good date for two reasons… very easy to calculate how many years we’ve been married… and a South African public holiday so we always get a day off to celebrate!

From the off – marriage has been amazing. For us there was little adjustment… we kind of flowed into being married and we are ver y marriage-positive. One thing we hate is when people make negative comments to engaged couples. Marriage is amazing! Being able to have someone who is willing to stick by you in any and every situation brings the deepest sense of joy in life.

One thing we learned, and has stuck with us, from even before we were married – is the importance of how to make big decisions. Decision making can cripple people as individuals… and if you don’t get on the same page with your life-partner, then it can be a constant source of conflict. For us, we have sought to cultivate an approach of getting on the same page in terms of what God is saying to us… and then following that course of action even if it seems crazy or impossible. But knowing we’ve heard from God unites us in this and provides a solid foundation even if things get tough.

Usually to get to that point of decision means we take a long drive or a long walk… giving time to really connect with each other. On one of these long walks we decided it was time for Laura to resign from her job and join me in full-time ministry. A few years later, a long-walk led us to decide that it was right for us to home-school our kids. And, more recently, on a long drive we felt absolute confirmation about moving back to Cape Town after being in Pretoria for many years.

Making life-changing decisions in this way provides us with shared memories to which we can return when things get tough or when we have doubts. What we’ve also learned is the importance of being more vulnerable with other people and allowing them to speak into our lives. Early on in our married life we were quite independent… now we try to be more open and take the risk of sharing more freely with others.

[For a story from Marriage year 15, meet Natasha and Dave Henning]