When Marriage Gets Bumpy

Back in 10th grade, I had a crush on this boy. He wasn't a very nice guy. But all the girls were mushy gushy for him because he was nice to look at. I'm sure your high school had one or two of those boys around.

Lord, teach me to love.

That year our school held a Valentine fundraiser. We could buy roses and have them delivered anonymously to lockers. My silly, naive girlfriends convinced me that I should buy a rose for this guy. And put a handwritten poem in his locker to boot.

This boy got a lot of roses that Valentine's Day. But only one love note.

Someone leaked that I was the author of that lame note. He thought it was hilarious and read it out loud to EVERYONE in our science class. Hysterical laughter followed (my girlfriends included). I cried so hard. My face turned as red as those cinnamon Valentine hearts. I went home sick the rest of the week.

Even though my heart broke into pieces that day, I learned a valuable lesson on what true love isn't.

This week, I celebrate another year of marriage with the most perfect for me, kick butt hubby a girl could ever pray for.

He would never laugh if I bought a rose and stuck it in his locker. Or if I wrote him a silly little love note (which I do often).

We've hit a few bumps in our marriage. At times they've felt more like craters. We've stood face to face with our selfishness and pride. Our hearts have been stretched to their limit through our recent infertility journey.

I wouldn't trade our years together for anything.

Through all the sorrow and the bumps and the heart bruises, there has been more joy than I could ever imagine. I love this man to the moon and back. And then beyond a dozen or so times.

When things have been at their worst, I've cried out to Jesus:
"Lord, teach me to love."

And He does.
Our Lord is so faithful.

Christ has been refining two imperfect sinners over the years. He has shown us redemption, forgiveness, joy in the middle of trials, and how to love another human who hasn't done a single thing to earn it or deserve it. 

Jesus has taught us how to love and respect, how to submit and to lead. He has shown us how to care and to pray. And to love and be loved, just like Jesus loves.

The vows we exchanged many years ago are still commitments I'm trying to keep today. To love, honor and obey. In the good times and the bad times.

I mess up a lot. But there is grace. Lots and lots of grace. From the hubby and from Jesus.

And there is love. Oh there is so much love.

If there was one thing I could do differently, it would be to go back to the day we said 'I do.' And follow that commitment with five words that have been inscribed deep within my heart. They are five profound, but simple, words that have radically changed me.

"Lord, teach me to love." 

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28 comments:

  1. In our house we don't call it Valentine's day. We call it Sex Tax Day, the day when millions of not so bright American males pay their tax with flowers and/or chocolate in hopes of getting sex. My dad taught me young that if you wait until February 15th to by chocolate candy you can get it for 80-90% off the MSRP. He also taught me that if you need a reminder or special day to show your love for your spouse then there is something wrong with your marriage, because, everyday should be like Valentines day.

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  2. Well, I am going to leave the first part of that comment alone Roger, but the last part, if you have to wait until Valentines Day to show your love, I totally agree, every day should be like Valentines Day! Amen to that. :)

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  3. Thanks for sharing this post Nicki. was really encouraged, and this has been my prayer lately...I really need to learn from our Lord how to love my husband. thanks for the encouragement, remain blessed :)

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  4. I love your story, Nicki ... and that you've conquered the craters and the valleys along the way and have lived to tell the story is so life-giving and hopeful.

    And aren't we all thrilled that those teenage years are gone!!

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  5. I had some similar moments back in my middle school and high school days. Kids can be especially cruel at that age. If it makes you feel any better, I bet Mr. Dreamboat is divorced, has a pot-belly and a receding hairline! ;) Or we can say that's what's happened to him! ha! I'm so glad, Nicki, that you've found a "Keeper" like your man. And I love your truth about how sometimes the bumps are like craters in life and marriage! So very true! But it's in those "foxholes" that we find the best kind of intimacy with our mates. Love ya!

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  6. Oh, my heart hurts for moments like that. Kids (and adults!) can be so cruel to laugh at things that should be applauded. To express love is such a risk. Glad you found the right man for you now! I'm so thankful for grace too. It's the oil that keeps our love running smoothly.

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  7. Kids can be so cruel sometimes, but glad you got your happy ending!

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  8. Oh Angie, I just pray that you will let the Lord reveal to you the best way to do this. It's hard sometimes, to figure it all out. But keep up the good fight! Sidenote: have you read the 5 Love Languages? It was such a help for us to finally see how God wired the other as far as ways we can love on each other. :)

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  9. Oh Linda, I wouldn't go back for all the money in the world to relive those moments. Growing up is painful and awkward, isn't it? Being an adult in this life is hard enough :)

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  10. You had me crying laughing, Beth! ;) Too funny! I honestly hope he is well, knows the Lord and has learned how to be a Godly man. But your version makes me giggle. I have found a keeper, that's for sure. Praise Jesus that he is a patient one at that and loves me despite all my drama and nuttiness. And because of it. I am happy to go along this bumpy road of life together and I wouldn't trade that for all the awkward teenage embarrassments that led me to this place. I love your image of a foxhole, that's so very true!!!!

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  11. Kids can be cruel, for sure. But God can redeem any situation. What I honestly thought was one of the most horrible moments of life at that time in my childhood has been surpassed by moments far worse, but God is with us in those messes and praise the Lord for His love.

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  12. Thanks Sheila, same to you! :)

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  13. Oh the stories of childhood Valentine's Day. :-) I love it! Thursday Rev and I will celebrate 45 years since the night we got engaged. I too am blessed with a "perfect for me, kick butt hubby." I thank God for him every day. Happy Valentine's Day!

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  14. That is so awesome Deb! We celebrate our 11th year this Sunday. So excited to continue to see how God is working in and through us. Congrats on 45 beautiful years! Yay for Godly marriages, even with all their bumps and bruises :)

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  15. I never imagined how much growth my husband and I would experience through all the "in sickness and in health" moments of our marriage. It's fun to look back at those two young kids getting hitched. I can't help but laugh a little. We had no idea what we were in for, but what a blessing it has been! Thanks for your words today, Nicki!

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  16. This is a beautiful and encouraging post! My husband and I also traveled the road of infertility and pregnancy loss. It strengthened us. I'm so glad when I read of other sweet stories of marriage survivors who have been faced with the same battle. Have a happy Valentines Day and Anniversary with your true love!

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  17. Jenni, I couldn't say it any better, we had no idea either, but what a blessing indeed! With the Lord at the center of things, even chaos has order. :) (Sidenote; I owe you an email, haven't forgotten, just busy preparing for a speaking engagement!)

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  18. I am sorry you have walked the same road Jennifer. Big hugs to you. But so happy to hear that the Lord has drawn you closer together as well. It saddens me, that even in our churches, that is not the norm. We are very blessed indeed! :)

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  19. Hi Nicki!
    Beautiful and inspiring post! I am your linky neighbor at #TellHisStory today! Stay encouraged this week and keep writing and ministering through your wonderful blog! Blessings to you! :)

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  20. Hi neighbor! :) Thanks for the encouraging words. Blessings to you!

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  21. Totally understand, Nicki! Don't worry about it. I'll look forward to hearing from you!

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  22. This is a beautiful post and I am so glad that God gave you a wonderful man to love and cherish. Love isn't perfect and neither are we but with God two people can come together in unity and just blossom. Blessings to you this Valentines Day and for sharing at Good Morning Mondays. Blessings

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  23. You write so eloquently. Thanks for sharing! Subscribed!

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  24. Thanks for the kind words :)

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  25. Yeah, my hubby is definitely a keeper, Terri. Blessings!

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  26. Oh high school.....so glad that is over. My husband and I have been married 11 years too! Funny how much changes in that time, but he makes me laugh every day :)

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  27. I know, it is funny how time changes and heals so much Sarah! Blessings to you :)

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  28. Thanks so much Nicki! Yeah! I have read the 5 love languanges...still don't know if he's bilingual or trilingual because I can't seem to get it right! lol ...I can do all things through Christ who strengthen me. Just need a lot of prayer :) thanks again for your encouragement x

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