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My husband and I just celebrated 20 years of marriage last week. For the first five years of our marriage, we had no kids. We now have six. We have been through multiple moves, job changes, pregnancies, miscarriage, child loss, the death of loved ones, grief, three adoptions, mental illness etc. I see marriage totally differently than I did 20 years ago. 

I believe, above everything, it takes two people willing to sacrifice and work hard (maybe one more than the other during different seasons) in order for the marriage to stay afloat. Marriage, if done right, does not puff one up with pride, but offers up humble pie regularly.

I have seen how my oversensitivity, OCD, anxiety, and hidden perfectionism have impacted my husband negatively. My husband has seen how his occasional thoughtlessness, spending habits, and lack of filter and tact have affected me detrimentally.

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We have always been friends. We’ve lost trust and gained it backonly to lose it again for a bit. We’ve tried to forgive easily, but sometimes we’re just human, and we’ve held onto things. We’ve always loved each other, but we’re not always “in love,” and we’ve learned that that’s okay.

This past year tested us beyond anything we’d ever experienced before. We both had expectations we felt the other should fill and neither of us felt like we were up to the challenge. We were at an impasse, and I said something I absolutely regret, “Maybe I should just go.” It wasn’t a threat, but more of me seeing myself as the problem, feeling like there was nothing I could change about the situation to make it better.

Obviously, I didn’t want to gonor would I havebut I felt trapped between what was humanly possible for me to do and what I felt like I needed to do for our marriage and family. Those words were an expression of “flight.” Sometimes, when reaching a solution is a brand new level of difficult, it’s tempting and very human to just want to run away.

It has been a tough few months. Honestly, there have been difficult years. However, the commitment we have for one another grows stronger with these trials. When we can look at one another time and time again and say, “This stinks. I wish we were in a better place. But, no matter how long it takes, we’re going to figure it out. We made a commitment and we’re staying in it.”

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

Neither of us has stepped outside the marriage. Neither one of us has abandoned or permanently, chronically harmed the other physically, emotionally, or verbally. We argue with respect, and we get up every morning ready to try.

One of the things that drives our pre-teen daughter crazy is that we’re constantly saying we’re a team, and we truly (sometimes annoyingly) are. The truth that not every parent can give their child(ren) a committed, team-oriented marriage is a blessing not lost on me.

If you’re fighting for your marriage right now, if you’re both fighting the best you can, keep going. It is worth it! Each time the sea calms, there is a new level of love, appreciation, gratitude, and friendship created. You won’t regret never giving up.

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Crystal Fulmer

I am a mother of three biological children and an adopted sibling set of three, a homeschooler, a pastor's wife, a former teacher, and a group-home houseparent. I am a trauma and mental illness survivor. I love to write for encouragement, and I've been finally been convinced to write and publish a book, The Grace of Getting Up, now available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble online, and Westbow Press online bookstore. Please join me on this journey on FB or insta @thegraceofgettingup.

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