Tag Archive: marriage


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]


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]


Married 15 years this year… “It’s important to remember that there is a difference between being an awesome team and an awesome couple. Teams can work well even if the teammates don’t connect on a deeper level.”  

As time goes on, the roles and job descriptions for everyone in your family unit sets in. Who sorts out the kids lunch, who buys the milk, who pays what bills, who handles the social calendar…after a while it starts to run so efficiently that even the kids know which parent to ask for what.

At the beginning of last year we hit a BUMP & I am so glad we did. All of a sudden it dawned on me. We would go away camping for the weekend with a bunch of friends, put up the tent like a well-oiled machine, everyone with their job description … Then without even realising it we will spend the whole weekend chatting to everyone else and meet up again at bed time, because even at meal times we would often miss each other because Dave’s would be at the braai & I would be making the salad with the ladies making salad. Then we’d meet up again to pack up the tent. We had become completely independent in our marriage. This might be okay for some, but I want more out of life…. It can happen so easily and be so subtle that you don’t even notice it. But when it dawned on me, I had a complete melt down.

First ever & neither of us were really equipped to handle a blubbering me. I’m a true pragmatic. I felt that he didn’t really like me and he felt I was looking elsewhere. We were both so wrong! Despite how tough that weekend was it was so worth it. Believe it or not, we were camping with really good friends and I mean REALLY good friends. They didn’t ask questions they didn’t get involved or pick sides they simply took the kids off to swim so we could sort out our “stuff”. It’s so good to surround yourself with people you know you can be real around, and know they won’t judge you. That kind of love is not found just anywhere. Even that is a lesson, as Christians, to be REAL friends.

If we are honest about it, we ALL have our bumps, we all mess up and make mistakes. To pretend you’re better and somehow above all the “stuff” other’s go through, is just being a fake. Being truthful makes it easier for others to be genuine and can also be a source of encouragement. For those of you who need to know… my honest husband showed me how, burying my head in my business for the last four years had been the biggest factor. But knowing what the problem is doesn’t make me the bad guy, it empowered me to change my habits.

It’s important to guard your family time, it takes discipline and commitment and as we come to our 15th Wedding anniversary this Month, we’re in a good place, even better than before. Sometimes it takes a good blubber to wash away the cobwebs… 

[To head to year 18 of Marriage and our friends Lara and Chris Lahr, click here]


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]


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]


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