marriage, Personal, Portraits, relentless journey, story, Travel

MARRIAGE : OUR JOURNEY TO 8 YEARS

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Each year Chad and I take a trip for our anniversary, alternating each year who plans it. We have done staycations, road trips and destination cities. We do this because we believe it is an investment into our marriage. It has often been said that the first year of marriage is hard. We followed suit on that. In fact, the first three years of our marriage, we moved a couple times, took on new jobs and were going through some serious pruning away of bad habits as individuals and as a couple. I can honestly say that every year since then, by the grace of God and a lot of intentional work, our marriage has gotten stronger and stronger. We still have our “moments’ but they are fewer and farther between. We still have breakdown in communication and times when our priorities are out of order, but as we grow we manage them in a healthier way.

Though we have grown closer over the years, we know full well that marriage will continue to demand constant growth and work. Marriage is under attack in this country. Nearly as many fail as succeed. Hollywood does nothing to support the reality of it. And just because we are “in the church” doesn’t guarantee we will make it. Sadly, divorce is prevalent there as well. We believe the only way to “make it” is to keep our eyes fixed on the one who invented marriage, on each other, and to be surrounded by community that will keep us honest and support us. We choose to look to places that say “stay” instead of “go”.

Though we know that one week is not enough to get us through another year, we do believe that these times away have played an important role in the health of our marriage. It is our time to stop, reflect and look forward. It is a time to leave the work behind and just have fun. And let me tell you, these have been some of the best memories we have ever been fortunate to create.

This year we headed to Park City, UT. It was my year to plan and I am a mountain girl at the core. A smokin’ deal on an amazing hotel sealed the deal of our choice. From the moment we hit the ground in Salt Lake City this getaway quickly turned into one of the best we have ever had. Chad is in a place with his job where he was truly able to leave it behind. I am in a place where I have found a bit of a groove personally, and I believe both of us were genuinely ready for equal parts adventure and relaxation. That’s exactly what it was and honestly, I believe the best vacation we have ever had. We both walked away a little lighter, more refreshed.

If I could leave you with some encouragement, it would be this. I believe in marriage. I believe in the sanctity of it and what it represents. I believe in the hard work that it takes to make it not just survive but to thrive. I believe there is purpose in the good and the bad and that it should get better over the years. But I strongly believe that it takes consistent and intentional work. I believe those vows we exchange are sacred, but I believe we have no idea what weight they really carry. I believe we grow up and sometimes apart, but there is always a way back. I believe both parties are responsible for either the failure or success of it. I believe our friends have helped us through bad times by pointing us to God and to each other. I believe that is a necessity. I believe there is no shame in counseling. I believe that no matter where are are in your marriage that it can be redeemed. And finally, I believe marriage is beautiful. I believe we can take back what it has become in America, just another relationship with an easy way out if it’s not working. Join me in fighting for marriage and for healthy relationships in general. If we are in this together, I believe we can change the world. It starts at home and in our communities!

**On a shameful side note, as a photographer, I have generally done a bad job at documenting our life together. I suppose with not yet having kids I have always thought I would do better when that happens. Admittedly, that is a terrible line of thinking 🙂 This trip I made it a priority to capture some pictures of the two of us, selfies and all.**