Five years married. I’m still processing that my husband and I have been married for 60 months, 1,825 days… however you want to break it down. Granted, we’ve been together almost a total 10 years.
Still – knowing my husband is about to be 28-years-old and that I met him when I was 18 makes me feel like time should take a breather on the sidelines for a minute. Chill, Time – this isn’t a race.
Yes, I hear it only gets worse.
Matt and I have always had much in common. We shared the same major and minor in college. We are both natural communicators and leaders who are passionate, expressive and competitive.
Our relationship blossomed from an intertwined love for LSU, history, our families, and Italian food. Over time that grew to jointly include dogs (him not a fan at first), Disney, Patriots football (not for me in the beginning) and Marvel movies.
Like any long-standing relationship, there’s also been a healthy presence of differences. Matt is an introvert with extrovert tendencies. I’m an extrovert… with very extrovert tendencies.
Matt is a strategist and builder with strengths in administration and structure. On the other end of the leadership spectrum, I’m an altruist and shepherd who guides from strengths of inspiration and insight. (Fancy ways of saying he likes working with ideas, and I enjoy working with people.)
After five years married, I can speak of our differences with thankfulness and appreciation.
Unfortunately, hindsight reminds me that this wasn’t always the case. I can certainly recall when our personalities and internal make-up worked against each other and not for one another.
More than just learning how to share toothpaste and schedules in the newlywed years, ministry brought on the additional adventure of learning how to serve together, lead together – basically, how to even work together outside of our family unit.
While some of the tiffs of the early years were from normal newlywed difficulties, I can also see how it was stacked with unhealthy responses birthed out of jealousy and rivalry. The attributes we admired most about each other were also the characteristics that drove us apart the farthest.
I won’t generalize and say that this is an issue for all couples in ministry. It really isn’t something everyone encounters. I would argue though that it happens more than talked about, especially in the marriages of strong leaders with shared, similar gifts. (i.e. Imagine in any business capacity working with the same person you live with, both having the same roles that oversee similar departments…)
At one time I thought, “This is just what marriage looks like. Everyone argues. Everyone struggles.” There’s some truth in in that – but that’s also a copout.
With some intentional effort and tools, I remember when the competitiveness wasn’t so evident. I remember when I was proud and not envious of my husband. I remember the season when our marriage became better.
Still growing in these areas every day that passes, here’s how it all started to change in our relationship, our friendship, and our ministry: