Thursday, June 9, 2016

My Husband's Advice After Fifteen Years of Marriage

Yesterday my husband David and I celebrated our fifteenth wedding anniversary. We had the opportunity to do something a little out of the norm for our family. For part of the day, we were models at the Charles A. Lindbergh Historic Site. The site manager asked our family if we'd like to be in some promotional photos, and we agreed.

It was fun to spend the day with the kids and watch them shine. They did such an amazing job, and in between photo shoots, they explored the site (which they've been to countless times), chased dragonflies, caught caterpillars, and enjoyed the summer weather.

In the evening, my husband and I went out to eat at one of our favorite restaurants and then we came home and sat by the fire. It felt good to spend that one-on-one time together, without the distractions of children and household chores. One of our marriage super-powers (if there is such a thing) is communication. We met when we were sixteen and were friends for over a year before we started dating. He's still my best friend and will be for as long as we walk this earth together. I think that's the reason for our communication skills. We've always been good friends, even through the hardest times in our relationship.

As I look back on fifteen years of marriage, I wonder what I would have told myself as a new bride, if I had the chance. Have you ever been asked to give the bride and groom advice? I'm sure I received plenty at the time...but do I remember it? And, even if I did, I've learned that some lessons can't be taught, they need to be experienced.

During supper, I asked my husband what advice he would give to his twenty-one-year-old self at our wedding. He said: "You know, I think we both do marriage really well." I agreed. Even though we have our struggles, and there are areas we're still working on, overall, we do well together. So I asked him what have we done well that he would advise another young couple to do. And that's when he made me smile.

He said: "I think what we've always done well is hold each other accountable. When one of us is off in our emotions, thoughts, behavior, attitude, we confront the other one and we have enough love and respect for each other to evaluate the issue and make the necessary changes." He's right. This has always been a strength for us. Has it always been easy? No. Have we always made the change right away? No. But I think we've both learned how and when to confront an issue. And we've both learned how to take that issue to God and work it out. Sometimes the change has been immediate...and sometimes it's taken years. We're both still in the midst of some of those works-in-progress now, but we're changing and growing, and showing the other person that we value our marriage enough to work on the issue.

Then he said: "The other thing I think we do well is champion each other's hearts." Dave has always held my heart in his hands, and he's honored me by going to battle for my heart countless times. Sometimes he's had to battle outside forces, people and things that have threatened to crush my spirit--and sometimes he's had to battle my own inner struggles. He's done so with words of wisdom, courage, honesty, and patience. I've had to do the same for him. This one is a little more elusive, because the heart isn't something tangible. It involves the thoughts, emotions, feelings, and memories, and can be a hard battle to fight. But Dave and I both understand the importance of protecting each other's hearts, and being the champion for our spouse.

The last thing he said we've done well (and I said he's done better at this than me), is sacrifice for each other's dreams. Dave is my number one fan. Always. He loves my drive and determination (he tells me that all the time), and he recognizes that the dreams in my heart were placed there by God. He has done everything in his power to help me achieve those dreams, and it has made all the difference in our lives and marriage. I can't imagine pursuing something like my writing dream without his full support--and he can't imagine owning his own business if I wasn't committed to his dreams.

Marriage is hard. But it's also the most amazing journey I've ever been on. I thank God that He brought David into my life when I was sixteen, and that I had enough wisdom and discernment at that age to know he was the man I wanted to spend my life with.

I'd love to know: What advice would you give a newly married couple? What advice did you receive? If you're married, what have you learned? If you're not, what have you learned from watching others?

Gabrielle Meyer
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  1. Beautiful portrait of a God-honoring marriage. So thankful for your example in an age of chaos & confusion about what marriage truly is. 💛 Very blessed to know you & your incredible family, Gabe.

    1. Thank you, Laura. I thank God for my husband and for the wisdom he has. I'm grateful that David loves and honors God, and that he loves and honors me. Marriage is hard, but it can also be very beautiful and fulfilling. After fifteen years, I feel like we have a few things to say about it. :)

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  3. I love the pictures! You were a lovely bride!

    1. Thank you, Erica!! It was a gorgeous day.

  4. What a blessed marriage you have, Gabe! Just a lovely now as on your wedding day! My advice is put God first and to realize marriage takes real work. We are coming up on 30 years in 2017! Congrats on your 15 years!

    1. Great advice, Carrie. Marriage is real work, and it's good to remember that when times are hard. Congrats on nearly 30 years! That's an amazing accomplishment.


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