Celebrating 30 years of marriage is a fun milestone. James and I have enjoyed reminiscing about some of the things we’ve experienced over the past three decades.
30 years ago
During a blizzard in Minnesota, where we were born and raised, James and I started our life together as husband and wife on February 23, 1991. Family and friends braved the treacherous weather and came to celebrate with us as we vowed to love, honor, and support one another … as long as we both shall live.
What a wild, wonderful adventure it’s been over the past 30 years. Life hasn’t always been easy or fun. We’ve had our challenges—as everyone does. In 30 years of marriage, we’ve experienced joys, laughter, heartache, loss, growth, and too many blessings to count.
The secret to our success
As you can imagine, over the course of 30 years, we’ve had many opportunities to succeed or fail in our marriage.
We were young when we married—just 22 years old—selfish, sometimes stupid, and we definitely made life harder than it needed to be at times. Thankfully, we’ve matured and learned a lot since then.
We’ve had hard years. There were times we could’ve walked away. Times we may have wanted to. But we were committed to our marriage. We meant the vows we said to one another—with our family and friends gathered as witnesses 30 years ago.
James and I decided a long time ago that quitting wasn’t an option and we could either be miserable or happy. It wasn’t always easy, but we agreed happy is better—and we’ve worked diligently toward figuring that out together. Day by day. Year by year. We’ve learned to be more patient, to forgive quickly, to make one another’s needs a priority, and to appreciate each other for our differences.
There’s an ease in our relationship now, which is a gift we give to each other.
We raised a family together
James and I married young—we were 22 years old—and we started our family right away. Olivia was born 11 months later and Alex came along 20 months after that.
Parenting our two daughters helped us each grow up and learn to work well together more than anything else. We both loved God and wanted our girls to grow up to know and love Him, too. This helped James and I focus on God’s Word, on our family, on living life with purpose, and on being good examples for our children.
It was a joy to raise our girls, building a culture of honor in our home, homeschooling them through high school, nurturing the gifts God placed in each of them, watching them become who He created them each uniquely to be.
We made a lot of mistakes along the way as all parents do, but that trial and error, striving to grow and do better, was all part of the process leading us to where we are today. Looking back, those years of raising and educating our children were one of the greatest blessings in our life.
Tragedy struck in 2017. We lost Alex a few months before her 24th birthday after a decade-long battle with depression. When we said, “I do,” 30 years ago, neither of us could have imagined the joys or the sorrows we would experience, and we certainly couldn’t have imagined this agonizing loss.
We are not promised a life of ease, free from heartache or pain, but we hold fast to the promise that the Lord walks with us through it all. During the most devastating experience we have encountered in 30 years of marriage, James and I discovered that everything we knew to be true about God was real. Not only did we draw closer to our Savior after Alex’s death, but we drew closer to one another and grew even closer with Olivia, too.
God is faithful and He is good. And our marriage is stronger and healthier than it’s ever been. We are both so grateful for that!
The birth of our two adorable grandboys, Hartford and Graham, has brought us incredible joy. These sweet, funny, precocious boys remind us of the joy of raising our own girls. We are so proud of our daughter and son-in-law for the fantastic job they are doing raising their boys to know and love God and to have good character as they learn, play, and explore. What a fun season of life this is! Being part of the “Grandparents Club” is absolutely incredible.
when they were young
Alexandra and Olivia
Olivia and Blake’s
Alex, Maid of Honor
at Olivia and Blake’s
Family photo Dec 2020
Graham, Olivia, Hartford, Blake, James, and Nancy
Blessings of marriage
After 30 years together, there are many blessings in our relationship and many things I appreciate about my husband. Here are a few of the things I’m grateful for:
- He understands me. He knows what makes me tick.
- He sees the hundreds of marbles spinning in my brain, and he knows how to help me quiet them.
- He knows I’m a verbal processor and he lets me talk.
- He offers insight and encouragement without trying to fix things for me (most of the time!).
- He understands that sometimes it’s really hard for me to even look at him without crying because the beautiful daughter we made together is gone. He holds me close as the tears fall freely.
- He is my safe space.
- He makes me laugh.
- We have history. Shared experiences. Inside jokes.
- He knows me better than anyone else.
- He loves me enough to work through the disagreements, the irritations, the mistakes, and disappointments.
- He prays for me.
- He is generous and hard working.
- He makes me feel beautiful, cherished, secure.
30 years later there is an ease between us. We rarely fuss at one another anymore. We are honest and open, transparent with each other. We have contentment, peace, strength, stability, and lots of fun, too.
It wasn’t always like this, but we are committed to our marriage—even when it’s difficult—and we are reaping a harvest for the 30 years of effort we’ve dedicated to our marriage. That’s something worth celebrating!
I love this quote from the movie “Shall We Dance.”
We need a witness to our lives. There’s a billion people on the planet. I mean, what does any one life really mean? But in a marriage, you’re promising to care about everything. The good things, the bad things, the terrible things, the mundane things … all of it, all of the time, every day. You’re saying “Your life will not go unnoticed because I will notice it. Your life will not go un-witnessed because I will be your witness.”
What therefore God has united (joined together), let not man separate or divide.
And above all things have fervent love for one another, for love will cover a multitude of sins.
Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.