Pre-Order So God Made a Mother

When I said “for better or for worse” nearly 10 years ago, I meant it, but in all honesty, I’m not sure what I thought “for better or for worse” was going to look like in our marriage.

Job changes, financial difficulties, arguments over household chores, parenting differences—sure, I considered and expected things like these to pop in our lives, and some of them did. What I didn’t expect, though, were many things we’ve experienced as husband and wife:

Watching the TV screen together during an ultrasound, only to see my empty womb and crumpling into your arms as we began to grieve the loss of the child who was no longer there.

Watching you rush from the delivery room with our second daughter as she was whisked away to the NICU and I lay on the table trying to process what was happening.

Receiving your phone call in the middle of the night while I was away on business that our then nearly 3-month-old baby had been rushed to the hospital by ambulance.

All of these experiences, and so many more like them, have filled our lives, our marriage. And as much as these moments have been painful and trying, and even emotionally, mentally and spiritually paralyzing, there have been amazing gifts provided to us through them. As I look back across the landscape of our 10 years of marriage, I’m amazed at how I also, in my naïveté, never stopped to think about how these difficult times, the ones that no one wants to go through, the ones I think most couples are afraid to face for fear of what it will do to them and their marriages, would be the most refining and defining moments for us as a couple.

Yes, I still look at you and swoon, knowing that you are the most handsome man I’ve ever laid eyes on; yes, 10 years later, your sense of humor and wit still leave me in stitches each day, but I look at you now and I see so much more.

I see the man who has held me together as I fell apart over the loss of our son. I see the man who brought me the desperately needed reassurance that Ava would be in good hands in the NICU and our older daughter, Olivia was being taken care of by family. I see the man who encouraged me to stay calm when Ava was rushed to the hospital and I was gone, the man who was the cool, calm, collected one I absolutely needed at that time, and so did she.

I know that when we said “for better or for worse” a decade ago, you probably didn’t consider any of these moments either, but I hope you can look back on them and many others to see the “more” of me that I’ve become because of our relationship. And I can only hope that you, too, can look upon these days of our lives and see that, although they were unexpected, the fruits of these experiences are exactly what we had in mind when we said, “I do”:

A happy family.

A loving marriage that grows stronger by the day.

A bond that even that the most trying times will not break.

Strong faith.

Joy and purpose in our lives.

I look forward to the next 10 years with a mix of both excitement and peace. There will be so many more “for better or worse” moments in our lives, but I look forward to being better with you because of both the better and the worse.

Originally published on The Mighty

You may also like: 

Dear Husband, I Am With You Even When It’s Hard

Husband, We Make the Very Best Team

Dear Husband, When Life Is Hard You Are Still My Person

Want more stories of love, family, and faith from the heart of every home, delivered straight to you? Sign up here!

So God Made a Mother book by Leslie Means

If you liked this, you'll love our new book, SO GOD MADE A MOTHER available for pre-order now!

Pre-Order Now

Melissa Ohden

Melissa Ohden is a well-known Christian and Pro-Life Speaker. She is the author of the award-winning book, You Carried Me: A Daughter’s Memoir. Melissa is a frequent guest on radio programs such as Focus on the Family, the BBC, and the Mike Huckabee show. Melissa’s a frequent contributor to sites including The Mighty, LifeNews, and Fox News. Melissa, her husband Ryan, and daughters Olivia and Ava reside in Kansas City, Missouri.

Marry the Man Who Glues the Pieces Back Together

In: Marriage
Man gluing broken object, color photo

This is my husband. Quietly sitting on the morning after Thanksgiving. In the midst of a post-holiday hosting mess. Surrounded by an over-tired, over-stimulated, and over-active preschooler. Next to a wife who is already at her breaking point before the clock has even struck noon. But he is the quiet calm in the chaos. Sitting here delicately and deliberately gluing back together the tiny pieces of a broken soldier. Taking every single shard of plastic and expertly putting it back together—just right. His head, and his heart, have fully committed to making this better. Making sure there are no broken...

Keep Reading

Once Upon a Time You Got All of Me

In: Marriage, Motherhood
Husband and wife on wedding day, color photo

First there was us, and now it’s them. We have four little hands that need us, and it’s so hard to get lost in parenthood and forget that at once upon a time it was me and you. I promise you, it won’t always be like this. It won’t always be this hard. I remember when we would go for leisurely walks and long Sunday brunches. Now it takes us an hour to leave the house for a 15-minute walk. I want so badly to spend hours lying in bed, talking like we used to, but now I’m so tired...

Keep Reading

I Hold the Hand of a Hardworking Man

In: Marriage
Wife and husband holding hands, color photo

I’m blessed to be married to a blue-collar man—he carries our burdens and worries on strong shoulders and our hopes and dreams in his hard-working hands. Those hands keep the bills paid and a roof over our heads, but it doesn’t come without sacrifice—long days gone, mud on my floors, sawdust in pockets, and grit and grime in my sink, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. He’s living his dream, and I’m cheering him on, doing my best to hold down the fort we call home. Beaten and battered, scarred and weathered, these hands are still gentle enough...

Keep Reading

What Happens When She Wants Another Baby and He Does Not?

In: Faith, Marriage, Motherhood
Husband and wife, pregnancy photo, color photo

I am on my knees, folded over, with my head resting on the carpet. I am in my closet, which doesn’t see much of the vacuum, and it is the only place I can find to sob out of sight. I feel hollowed out and defeated as if I have run a marathon and was cut short at the finish line. I cry out in prayer, pleading with God to soften the heart of my husband. I desperately want another child, and he desperately does not. I take a deep breath and dry my eyes because my 4-year-old outside the...

Keep Reading

Is Your Marriage on Cruise Control?

In: Faith, Marriage
Couple holding hands in car, above view

Cruising down the road, the highway curled before us like a ribbon into the horizon. Cozy road trips are a staple for my husband and me, and we look forward to the time together. Having been married for 37 years the adventure continues! We have loved each other through the ups and downs, and we have learned a lot about relationships. We also made a point of carefully watching successful relationships and surrounding ourselves with those whose marriages flourished. Nowadays, we have many young couples ask us what it takes to keep a marriage vibrant. One of the key ingredients...

Keep Reading

It’s Never Really about the Purse

In: Marriage
Purse sitting on counter, color photo

Last night, I lost my mind when you asked if I could try to keep my purses put away. You weren’t unkind. You weren’t upset. You even put the offending purse away for me. But asking me to put it away wasn’t the problem. It was the timing. I was gone all weekend hosting some writing friends for a mini writing retreat. I was home one day trying to catch up on all the things one gets behind on: laundry, groceries, and cleaning. The next day the kids had off school, so I took them to the museum for the...

Keep Reading

You’ve Never Stopped Loving Me

In: Marriage
The Worst of Me

My favorite picture of our wedding makes me sad. It sits on the top shelf in our living room. Next to it, is a seashell my dad gave my mom when they used to be married. There’s a rolled-up newspaper and a mishmash of toys next to it. In it, your hair is thicker; my body is younger. In it, are people who stood next to us that day, loved us, introduced us—some we no longer talk to. In it, I’m laughing and holding my best friend’s hand. That sunny day in Mexico surrounded by 99 of our most important...

Keep Reading

Every Type A Needs a Type B Person in Their Life

In: Friendship, Living, Marriage
Friends smiling

I spend a lot of time making lists, whether they are in my head, written on a piece of paper, or on my phone and laptop. Lists about what needs to be done today, later this week, or even a few months down the road. Even when I check off all the items on my list, more things pop up. There are always things demanding my attention. Initially, I thought having a list—or multiple lists—was a good thing. I felt organized and in charge of things. But when the lists started creeping their way into other facets of my life,...

Keep Reading

The L Is on the Mantel

In: Living, Marriage
Mantel showing Christmas decorations

This holiday season has been a little more exciting, stressful, chaotic, sleepless, and wonderful than any I can remember aside from the one when John and I were engaged and the four that welcomed our new babies to their first Christmases. In early November, we took a ride to look at a house I had seen online. It seemed promising from the description:  smaller yard, main floor laundry, an open floor plan, a direct route to our youngest child, her husband, and our youngest grandboys: an 8-year-old and his twin 3-year-old brothers. For the first time in recent home searches,...

Keep Reading

We Cope with the Stress

In: Living, Marriage
Woman on horse, black-and-white photo

We handle it differently. The stress. It’s the sight that initiates it. That dry brown ground. I start at a simmer, anger quickly rising up. Soon, I am at a rolling boil, and then I explode. Tears streaming down my face, I scream out my frustrations and end up dredging up every hurtful thing that has ever happened. I am rip-roaring mad at the entire world. I have been told I am too emotional like it is a badge of dishonor “Knock it off.” “Get your act together.” “Hold it together.” But it is just who I am.  He knows...

Keep Reading