Today marks nine years! Nine years ago Andrew and I joined our lives and agreed to walk side by side through anything and everything. We were young and slightly naive but it didn’t matter. We knew what God was calling us to and we at least knew that. I remember feeling so nervous. I never questioned whether Andrew was the right person but I was nervous because I knew how hard marriage was… even then. I was nervous for the ups and downs. Andrew and I both knew what a failed marriage looked like from watching those around us, so the weight of that decision wasn’t one we took lightly. Nine years later I look back and I’m so thankful that though we have matured and changed in so many ways.. we still know that saying yes to each other and choosing each other is what God has called us to. I’m thankful we don’t have our heads in the clouds and think marriage is just all fun and no hard times. I’m thankful that through our lows we know WHO grounds us together. Not ONE marriage is going to go with out it’s hard times. But not every marriage survives those either. We have not arrived and nor will we ever. But there is some since of pride I carry knowing that what COULD have broken us … we have chosen to allow it to make us stronger. That took both of us and I couldn’t be more proud to stand side by side stronger today than nine years ago. I’m not nervous anymore because I’ve learned what holding on really looks like and I truly believe Andrew and I can weather any storm because we have each other. What an incredible feeling.

 

I wanted to share with you what we feel like are some important areas we have learned we need to face in order to conquer and stand together. So here it is.

 

  1. ASSUMPTION- Let’s be real, the word is made from the word “ASS”. I believe assumption is one of the biggest killers. Men and woman are uniquely wired. Each created to think differently. Woman like to assume their husband “knows” and men often think they shouldn’t have to say anything. Assumption is a communication killer. I can assume my husband is FINE and handling things well or I can ask him how everything at work is going? He can assume I know and not tell me or he can just tell me in case I don’t. We have found that assumption across the board has killed opportunities for us to talk through things and grow to understand each other more.
  2. PASSIVENESS- Andrew and I struggled our first few years of marriage to confront each other when we were feeling a certain way. We would both bury things down until it was almost too late. We still struggle with this to an extent but we both acknowledge it is important to work on. It may seem silly to bring up some things and it is not being nit picky. It is our attempt to not let anything sit unsettled and develop into something else.
  3. WE NOT I- A team mentality is a must. Any argument or conversations where both or one of us comes into it hoping to come out “winning” or making a point to the other is actually a loss for both of us. Because we believe we are ONE and on the same team, there is no win for one of us and a loss for the other. We both win or we both lose. If we would have understood that early on I think we could have prevented a lot of hurtful situations. You strive less to make a point and more to get each other on the same page.
  4. SURROUNDINGS- One of the things Andrew and I have done right from the beginning is being careful who we surround ourself with when it comes to our marriage. We believe it is so important to be in relationship with people who will be pro-marriage, pro- the both of you, and who have experience like us. We find it important to be around other marriages that are seeking God and a healthy marriage like us. Sometimes Andrew and I would never know we need to work on something if we didn’t see how well another couple was doing it. Sometimes our friends and marriage examples simply inspire us! They share books and resources, they share their experiences and it helps us not feel so alone.
  5. GRATITUDE- I have found that if I focus on all the things “we are not” or the things we struggle with that I lose sight and stop celebrating. No one is going to grow and conquer in an environment that is pessimistic. Affirmation and encouragement is such an important thing but one of the hardest things to do. We often make excuses why we feel they don’t deserve it or why we can’t. The truth is though that when we consider their hearts, we all know telling someone everything they are not is NOT going to push them forward. By reminding them who THEY ARE (not who they sometimes think they are) we are spurring them on to be something more. I find when I choose to be grateful and encouraging a lot more is accomplished.

 

Alright enough of the serious talk! Let’s jump back through time!

This first photos was my 19th birthday in 2008. Andrew was planning on proposing but I had called it out and asked him not to do it then in front of everyone. Poor guy! So he waited and drove out from PA two weeks later and surprised me!
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This photo was one from engagement session in an abandoned house not far from where we live now. We liked the representation of being in something old and broken down and creating new life from it. Kind of like our attempt at making marriage work when we really had never seen it work.
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Our wedding was far from a “dream” wedding but it was everything to us. We stood before our families, worshipped Jesus with everyone we loved, and proclaimed Him in our lives as our hope. We spent 6k on our entire wedding and we ate on plastic tablecloths and had deli meat for dinner. We didn’t care. We didn’t have money to spend but we didn’t let it stand in our way. When I look back at our ceremony I still cry.  It was so powerful. The worship that day was unlike any experience we have ever had.

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Over the years we have grown, matured, grew a family, and changed in more ways I could every express.

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The biggest joy I feel is knowing that I have had the privilege of standing next to Andrew and watch him change and grow. Seeing him as the father and husband he is today is simply the best. I told him last night that what surprises me about marriage is Andrew has done more than what I thought marriage was about. Watching him father has taught me more about what a dad should look like and what God feels towards me than anything. He simply humbles me in so many ways. And let me tell you.. God is so quick to correct my heart and remind me who HE says Andrew is and it is one of my favorite things. Knowing this man chases after Jesus and Jesus loves him so much that He cares to come to me and remind me.. is an honor. Thanks for being mine Andrew. Thanks for nine years of growth and maturity. I know I told you that “we will never look this good again” on our honeymoon but I was wrong. This is the best in every way and I know it will only get better. Nine years looks so good on you. Happy anniversary! Now lets go to Pittsburgh and celebrate and eat pickles together like we did when we first met! 😛

 

Sharing, serving, and celebrating,

Andrew + Chrissy

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