June 5 marks 8 amazing and crazy years being wed to the love of my life. We have been together for 12 years. He was my high school sweetheart. He was and is my best friend. We went to Junior & Senior prom together. We both got our driver’s license when we were dating. We worked as lifeguards together at our “first official job.” He is the one person who can frustrate me and then make me laugh so hard in the same conversation. He knows how to turn my frown upside down. He knows all of the quirks that make Lizzy, Lizzy. He knows how OCD I am about vacuuming and mopping the floors, yet he loves and accepts me anyway. Guys, I used to ask him not to walk on the “fresh” vacuum marks. And he loved me anyway. Mind blown.
I envisioned a picture of marriage as a young gal, and it’s nothing like I thought it would be. It’s better, but is not an easy adventure. It is actually much harder than you can ever anticipate when you get engaged at 18 years old. It has changed me and challenged me as a person. God has changed me. I’ve had to learn to lean on Him first and my husband second. My husband is not God, nor should I put Him on a pedestal. We are human. We are imperfect. We NEED God to make this union last and THRIVE.
We have been through our fair share of heartaches together. We’ve had our fair share of huge fights. There have been losses, struggles, tests, and downright frustrating and aggravating moments that made us question everything. There have also been memories, fairytale-like moments and the promise of spending our lives on this earth together. There has been a beautiful new life brought into this world.
Russ inspires me. He is one of the most talented and driven people I know, even when he doesn’t realize it. He is a hard-worker. It makes me tear up as I thank the Lord for allowing my child to have this amazing man and hero to grow up with. My heart is so full when I see Russ interact with Liam. Liam ADORES Russ more than I ever could’ve imagined.
8 years is just a few of the many years we hope to spend together on this earth, and I’m so excited to continue embarking on this journey of life with him, especially raising a family. For those reading this, you may or may not be married. For those waiting for their “Prince Charming,” I want to share some advice with you. Realize that your #1 Prince Charming is Jesus. He is the only One who can truly rescue you and put you back on track – no one person can “fix” you or make you feel whole.
1. Marriage is a journey.
Too often, people envision a romance novel as their ideal picture of marriage. Guess what? Men pass gas. They have morning breath. They leave the toilet seat up and forget to replace the empty toilet paper roll. We all have quirks that we must learn to love or accept about one another.
Sometimes your spouse won’t clean their ears and you’ll see earwax when you lay beside them at night. Don’t expect the person you marry to be perfect and flawless all the time. When you date, you put on your best face. Women tend to wear makeup all the time when they are dating. Men might also be surprised once they say “I do.” I mean, our lips don’t naturally sparkle, do they?
Marriage = real life, real people, and realistic expectations.
2. Spouses aren’t God.
There is only ONE God and it does not work to try and replace Him. He is the only one who can truly heal your pain and give you purpose in life. Don’t marry someone and expect them to be those things for you. They can’t fix your self-esteem or make you happy 100% of the time. Make sure your relationship with Christ comes first and make sure you marry someone with the same core values. Don’t wait until after you say “I do” to ask the important questions.
3. There will be obstacles, heartache, and loss.
Our first few years of marriage brought obstacles I didn’t expect. We can’t predict the future, we just have to trust God to lead us through the road of twists turns, and even the pot holes and dead ends.
Don’t think your marriage isn’t meant to be just because things get tough.
When things get tough, you have to cling tighter to God and to one another. Difficult times can make your marriage stronger. Our marriage brought some struggles, heartache, and loss. At this point in our marriage, we see that God used and IS USING these things in our lives to make us stronger and cling to Him.
We face difficult moments that lead to beautiful destinations. The twists and turns of the road can lead us to something GREATER – something unexpected.
4. Work on yourself and stop pointing fingers.
It’s so easy to point fingers at our spouse when we aren’t focused on God and feel as though we aren’t succeeding in life. I still struggle with this. We need to stop pointing fingers at the other person and learn to lean on God for guidance, direction, and purpose. We need to realize that there is always room for improvement in ourselves (not just the other person).
Take ownership. Take responsibility. Don’t blame.
Things can make you bitter or better.
Ouch. Trust me – I’m talking to myself!
5. Make memories.
Learn to be creative and cherish every moment together. Russ and I love spontaneous road trips. We love working out together. We enjoy making waffles together and having Netflix marathons once Liam is in bed. Learn to appreciate the little things about your spouse. Now, much of our time together is spent as a family with our little boy – making memories and seeing this little life God blessed us with.
Here it is! This photo was taken on June 5, 2010 as we were leaving our wedding venue and beginning our journey as husband and wife. Let the adventure continue. ❤️
Beautiful Chaos is about finding joy, hope, and healing in every phase of life.