Friday, June 27, 2014

25 Years--Love Without Limit

I gave you a list of Brad's good stuff on Wednesday. Today, it's time for something a little different.

The Hard Stuff

No matter how great a marriage is, there’s gotta be some bad stuff. We’ve had our share of the bad stuff. Little bad stuff like, “You forgot to buy milk again.” or “Be quiet! I’m sleeping!” or "The garbage is overflowing! Didn't you notice?" You know what I’m talking about. Little things that blow over quickly.

We’ve also have our share of the big bad stuff. Hard stuff. Really hard stuff.

But here’s the thing.

Hard stuff is pillow talk. It’s not blog talk.

This post is for my kids. I want them to know that there has been some hard stuff in our lives. Brad and I may quibble and disagree in front of our kids from time to time, but we've always kept the hard stuff to ourselves. And we will continue to do so.

Yes, we've had hard stuff. Every marriage has hard stuff, and it is mostly invisible to the rest of the world.

I can't speak for anyone's marriage but ours, and I can't give you both sides of the story because only one side is mine to tell. I know that many marriages end in misery and divorce, and I know that each couple has to figure it out for themselves. I'm not judging anyone for the road they've chosen to take. The only tale I have to tell is my own.

Hard stuff can break you apart if you let it. Hard stuff takes time, patience, understanding, and a lot of prayer.

Hard stuff can take days and weeks to work through the storm before you can feel the calm.  The fury and hurt feelings can linger even longer--months, and for some people even years. 

What has gotten us through the bleakest, hardest, most divisive times in our marriage has always been and will always be the knowledge that our marriage isn't just about us. It's about the eight children we chose to join us in our family and in our journey together. It's about promises we made to each other--sacred covenants--across an altar in Salt Lake City on that blustery June day twenty-five years ago. We made those covenants with each other, but most importantly, we made those covenants with God, and He wants us to be happy and for our marriage to make us happy--not just every day, but for the rest of our lives and for eternity.* 

I've found that I'm happiest in my marriage and in my life when I put God first and Brad second and everything else somewhere after, including myself. Even when the storms are raging and so is my anger, I know that God can turn my heart, can change my vision, and can help me forgive. I know this, because I've witnessed it happen in my marriage again and again.

When we have invited God into the solution and worked through problems together, the hard stuff has had a bonding effect on us. Like strangers who survive a disaster side by side, we have come through those storms closer and more committed to each other, our family, and to God.

Some marriages may look perfect from the outside, but from the inside, every marriage has hard stuff--holes that can break a couple apart. But those holes don't have to be the end--they can be changed into something valuable.

I am blessed to be married to a man who has helped me make those holes beautiful.

I was rubbing Micah's back in Church last Sunday when I asked him, "Do you know how much I love you?" I ask that question a lot, and I usually get the same answer, but this time his answer surprised me.

"Without limit."

So profound from my ten year old. 

That's the goal for love in a marriage--love without limit. Love of the good stuff and in spite of and through the hard stuff.

Twenty-five years ago, I never would have guessed how beautiful the hard stuff can become, when you work together.

I love you, Brad--without limit. Thanks for 25 imperfect years, full of the good stuff and the bad stuff--the stuff of eternity.

*For more information on Mormon views of marriage, I wrote a blog post a few years ago that may answer your questions. Click here to read it.


  1. I really, really love this post! From the bottom of my heart-thank you for the time you take on your blog. It blesses my life.

  2. I really enjoyed reading your posts from your Anniversary week :) It's truly an inspiration for us to see a normal, happily married couple WITH kids. Happy anniversary, Jen and Brad!

  3. Happy 25th Anniversary! I really enjoyed reading your posts last week...just didn't get around to commenting. Also, congrats on your amazing guest post over at Clover Lane! That post made me cry.. it was so heartfelt and beautifully written. You're inspiring and your blog always speaks to me. Thank you! I often wonder how you do, college, volunteering, exercising, blogging, etc. You must have such great time management skills! I'd love to read about it! :)

  4. Beautiful...and so true. We've had some hard stuff ourselves. Still do!


    I have two poems on the subject:


    Two for the Road

  5. Oh my gosh! I love your line about hubby helping make those holes beautiful. I LOVED this post. I agree about not talking about the hard stuff in blog land, but loved that you admitted it happened. In my marriage, I have withstood something so damaging and hurtful (I still hurt from it), that I never would have thought possible to stay together....and yet, like you said, because of children, and because my hubby won't quit on us (or I on him), we have made it. I love him dearly. I believe that God has the power to heal all things, if I will only but let him. It's been so hard to put my full trust in God....but slowly I am learning to. I love your post. You are a beautiful woman. Thank you for sharing your life with us. It touches my very soul.

  6. love without limit. even when the waters be super muddy. very inspirational.