Marriage is Hard: Here are 10 lessons I’ve learned.

I will never forget showing a friend of mine this guy named “Ben” on Facebook back in 2007. I had been looking at his pictures and messaging him every month or so, learning his personality through the internet. He lived 800 miles away from me and we were both in college, but I thought he looked cute and he seemed like he was into deep conversations.

My friend was not into him. While I clicked through some of his pictures he posted, my friend made the final judgement:

“He looks like a player Ro, I’d forget him”.

I couldn’t forget about him. Soon after, Ben got my number and started texting me. Butterflies would flutter every time I’d see his name pop up on my flip phone and the smiley faces showed he was clearly interested in me.

Our first phone conversation lasted 2 hours, and as I hung up, I wondered if he would be good husband material.

He thought I might make a good wife….and so…. he flew all the way to my little college apartment in Philadelphia and we spent a week together. I took him to the Jersey Shore, NYC and side babysitting gigs. We fell in love fast and hard, and he put a ring on my finger 6 months later.

On our wedding day, we were greeting guests and dancing somewhere on cloud 9 when a family friend gave us a devastating blow,

“Marriage is hard. It’s the hardest thing you will ever do. I hope you guys make it. I hope you’re prepared.”

How rude.

After the wedding, I left everything I knew and traveled to the mountains of Tennessee to live in a studio apartment above someones garage. Our sink was so small we did dishes in the shower, and we didn’t have a proper stove so we ate a lot of pumpkin rolls. Neither of us had jobs. It was the perfect setup.

10 years later, and we have survived what feels like a lifetime of hardship. In our early years, we found out we weren’t the same person and after that, we found out life didn’t come by easy. Maybe we’d never shock a marriage therapist with what has happened over the years, but we’ve shocked ourselves…. multiple times and in multiple ways.

Here are some of the lessons I’ve learned that have kept us together:

1.) God is always a lot nicer and should always come first. He is the saving grace of all graces.

2.) Ben is not me. Which means, I shouldn’t treat him like he’s me.

3.) I can choose Ben everyday regardless of what he chooses.

4.) Honesty is way harder than it sounds, but there is forgiveness and connection waiting on the other side.

5.) “I feel” statements are better than “You suck” ones.

6.) Criticism is poison. Encouragement is food.

7.) Maybe try and speak his love language a lot.

8.) Sometimes marriage is hard just because of stress and not because the other person sucks. God has lots of ways for me to deal with stress and it’s a great opportunity to realize Ben is not your idol.

9.) Pray. Pray when you feel like it, and when you don’t.

10.) Thankfulness is a good habit to get into, praise and worship is probably pretty good too.

There are other lessons like boundaries and stuff, and I could probably expand on the ones I’ve shared-but I’m not a counselor and I don’t want to act like one.

I just wanted to say that life isn’t easy- it’s messy and hard, and that includes marriage. But it’s also beautiful and causes you to grow into the person you’ve always wanted to be-just a little more like Jesus.

Be nice out there, life is hard.

Love Always,

Rosie.

My Journey Out Of Depression

Someone told me the other day that I was a prisoner of hope. It caught me off guard, because I had never heard those words used together. How could someone be trapped in hope, and let alone….me?

Depression gives an overwhelming feeling that life is hopeless. I took medication for it, and am in relationship with those who are still struggling. When I was depressed, it was the last place I wanted to be in, and yet the only place I feel I could go. It was sucky…. and because I’m a Christian, it was extra sucky. In certain faith circles, struggling with depression means you’re at fault and too lazy to renew your mind.

I see you friends. It’s not your fault.

Everyone is on their own journey, here was mine:

When I was pregnant with my 4th child, everything was ‘circumstantially’ great. So when I began experiencing minor panic attacks, I knew something wasn’t right. Life is good Ro, what’s your deal? Why are you snapping at those closest to you? Why can’t you drag yourself out of bed? Are you a monster?

My next doctors visit, I remember sitting on the exam table, scared to reveal anything. Thankfully, my doctor saw right through it, looked into my eyes, and calmly asked how I was truly feeling. Oddly enough, he had a box of tissues on hand as the waterworks came and I opened up about how hopeless I felt. Because I was pregnant, he told me I had to wait to get on medication until after birth. And so leading up to Natelie’s arrival, I had to intentionally decide every moment of every day to act the opposite of how I felt. I worshipped through tears, called out to my community, and got out of bed.

After Natelie was born, I was put on medication right away and after about a month, I started feeling normal again. I became medication’s biggest advocate on social media because I wanted to break the christian stigma off depression and encourage others who were struggling to get help.

Reach Out For Help If You Need It. You Are Worth It!

About a year into taking Sertraline- the Lord gently spoke to my heart that it was time to “deal with my stuff” and wean off the Zoloft. I knew that if it was truly him, he would give me the grace to face my depression and become an overcomer. I was obedient…. but honestly, I was SO scared as to what laid ahead. My family was in support of what I believed I heard from Jesus, and so began the active part of faith spelled R-I-S-K.

Sure enough, everything flooded back full force and I found that the depression wasn’t going to let me off easy. But I had heard the word of the Lord…and I stood my ground. I began to deal with each crushing moment that surfaced, memories of loss, rejections, failed dreams, and dissapointments. The grief was overwhelming, but I believed that Jesus would take my heart that was in pieces, and replace it with his.

He did. The process was work and it was HARD…. BUT ultimately, Jesus delivered my need for medication. I have found that with him, anything is possible. Life didn’t get easier and the junk didn’t magically disappear, but I now view each hardship as an opportunity for the Lord to show himself strong and as one who brings redemption. I can’t help but see the hope around the dark corners, no matter where I look. His promises are abundant over my life, and when I know he’s fighting for me, nothing stays hopeless.

Nothing stays hopeless. Not with the Holy Spirit.

I can’t hide from his hope any longer, can you?

Love always,

Rosie