So God Made a Mother Collection ➔

We were going on four years of marriage, adjusting to being parents, and working full-time jobs that kept us running. The miscommunications between us were so bad that we were constantly triggering the fight-or-flight response in each other, resulting in daily arguments. Eventually, the arguments turned into straight up fights. And before too long, our communication had become so degraded that we both chose to flee rather than fight. While we still lived under the same roof, both of us had checked out emotionally. We internalized everything and communicated nothing. By mid-year, there was no husband and wife about our relationship.

We were in full-on roommate mode.

The excerpt above is from what was probably the most personal post I have ever shared – Fight-or-Flight. It told the tale of a time when my husband and I were nothing more than roommates (and not friendly ones), who happened to be raising a son, and how we worked through it. 

I wish I could tell you that five years later we have everything all figured out and that our marriage is easy-peasy. But – it is not. The truth is marriage is never “easy.”

Marriage takes constant work. It takes two people who are willing to put in the time and effort each and every day ’til death does them part. Although it still isn’t easy, my husband and I have figured out a few ways to work smarter, not harder in our own marriage. Here are our secrets – the habits that quite literally saved our marriage. 

Each day we habitually put forth the effort to…

The First Ten Years:  How Two Broken People Kept Their Marriage From Failing

Put God first and each other immediately after.

This principle is one that my dad explained to me as soon as he found out my husband and I were serious about spending our lives together. He told me that when you find the person whom you are going to marry, you put God first because you always put God first (Proverbs 3:5-6), but then immediately after God is your spouse – not your parents (Genesis 2:24), not your siblings, not anyone, but your spouse. Not even your kids come before your spouse.

I heard my dad’s advice, but I did not heed it. I cannot speak for my husband, but I most definitely put him (my husband) first instead of putting Him (God) first. And I did that for quite a long time because in my human understanding I couldn’t fathom how that could hurt us, but it did. And what’s worse is that when our son came along, I moved my husband and God down the bench, putting our son first. It resulted in unhappiness like I had never known. 

Embarrassing as it may be to admit, this may well have been the hardest thing for me to make a habit. But once I got this one figured out, the rest of what you are about to read followed suit much more quickly. 

Love unconditionally. 

No matter what anyone tells you, love is a choice. And my husband and I – we choose to love each other unconditionally as we have been called to do (John 13:34). Don’t get me wrong, we used to play the why-do-you-love-me game, as I imagine most couples have. We even came up with a laundry list of “good reasons” why we loved each other. And do you know what transpired when life happened and those “good reasons” began to drop off the list one-by-one? Roommate mode – roommate mode happened. 

We no longer play that game. It isn’t, “I love you because – fill in the blank,” anymore. It is, “I love you – period.” No reasons. No conditions. No matter what. We just love each other – flaws and all.
  
Forgive.
 
Grudge holding, score keeping, and being perpetually peeved with each other – for a long time we let these things stifle our relationship as husband and wife. We constantly felt the need to punish each other, which was nothing but hurtful, mostly to ourselves, and completely unproductive. However, the definition of forgiveness never made more sense to me than it did on Day 25 of The Love Dare… 
 
“When you forgive another person, you’re not turning them loose. You’re just turning them over to God, who can be counted on to deal with them His way. You’re saving yourself the trouble of scripting any more arguments or trying to prevail in the situation. It’s not about winning and losing anymore. It’s about freedom. It’s about letting go.”
 
I am by no means saying that I never do things that upset my husband, and vice versa. But now that we both know and understand just how good forgiveness feels, we no longer hold grudges indefinitely, or dig up past transgressions to use as ammunition in new arguments. Instead, we are quick to forgive – to let go and let God. 
 

Work on ourselves. 

“If you’re thinking that your spouse – not you – is the one who needs work in this area, you’re likely suffering from a bad case of ignorance, with a secondary condition of selfishness.” – The Love Dare, Day 5
 
Because the behavior of others is almost always a direct result of our own actions, our actions need to be the focus. I am always asking myself, “What can I do better?”  Not to mention, we do not have the power to change anything but ourselves and our reactions. Therefore, Tom and I take time for self-reflection. We work on ourselves and pray for each other. 
 
 
Over the course of nine years of marriage, I can say with confidence that marriage is never effortless, and never will be – ever. It will always take effort and it will always be work. I can also say with confidence that choosing to work on my marriage has been the single most rewarding thing that I have ever done. 
 
Marriage takes work. Thankfully, there’s an app that can help! Lasting—the nation’s #1 relationship counseling app—provides accessible sessions designed to help you build a healthy marriage. Download and take Lasting’s free Relationship Health Assessment.
 
For more stories from the heart, follow Her View From Home on Facebook.
 
You may also like:  The Top 6 Things That Destroy A Marriage – A Letter From A Divorce Mediator
 
 
 

Terryn Drieling

Hi, I’m Terryn. I grew up on a northeast Nebraska feed yard with pens of cattle as my backyard. That is where I fell in love with raising beef. So when I went off to college in the big city of Lincoln, NE, I focused my studies on animal science with the goal of one day becoming a feed yard manager. While at UNL, I met my never-boring, always-entertaining husband, Tom. After earning my degree in 2006, we moved out to the panhandle of Nebraska where I took a job on the animal health crew of a local feed yard. I loved my job, so-much-so that I would argue I never actually worked. Over the course of the next seven years Tom and I got married, welcomed a son and then a daughter, and I continued loving my life and career. I couldn’t imagine life any other way. But then, God inserted a plot twist into our story… And I am so thankful for His twist because I am happier than I have ever been doing things I never thought I’d do. I am now a stay-at-home-mom and ranch wife who has discovered new passions in photography and writing/blogging. Faith Family & Beef where I share my story as a wife, mother, lover of coffee, and dabbler in photography – living in the Nebraska Sandhills, bringing up a family while raising beef. Follow along on my blog: https://www.faithfamilyandbeef.com/

While I Wait for Another Door to Open, I’ll Hold One For Someone Else

In: Faith, Living
Woman teaching another woman by computer

I’m waiting for another door. All my life, I’ve been told that when God closes one door, He opens another. And here I am, staring at the imminent end of the business I’ve built from nothing. Closing down what I started up from sheer willpower, too much caffeine, and the bold determination to work for myself. Scratching out what I made from scratch . . . and it feels horrible. God didn’t just close this door. He slammed it shut, boarded the whole thing up, and hammered the nails in where I cannot pry them open. Believe me. I’ve tried....

Keep Reading

Separating Work From Home is a Must For Me

In: Faith, Motherhood
Mom with baby smiling

If I close my eyes and let myself, I can still see the 11-year-old boy with his pale feet sticking out from under the blanket, on his way to the morgue after a gun accident.   If I close my eyes and let myself, I can still see the still, blue form of the 3-month-old who passed away in his sleep. We gave CPR and all the medicines “just in case,” but that baby was gone long before his caregiver brought him in through the door. If I close my eyes and let myself, I can still see the 3-year-old...

Keep Reading

When Teens Are Hard to Love, You Love Them Harder

In: Faith, Motherhood, Teen
Teen boy sitting with hood up

I lay face down on the floor, praying. Praying in the loosest sense of the word. Praying in the Romans 8:26 way—you know, when the Spirit “intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.” Because I could not utter any actual coherent thoughts at that point. I was weary and beaten down. Day after day I had been in combat, battling an opponent I didn’t anticipate: one of my children. My own child, one of the people I had lovingly grown inside my body and loved sacrificially for all these years, had staunchly and repeatedly put himself in opposition...

Keep Reading

In This Stage of Marriage, it Feels Like We’re Roommates Who Share the Same Kids

In: Faith, Marriage
Distant couple on phones in bed

How do you get it back? How do you get back the love you once had? Everyone told me marriage was hard and having kids was hard, but I had no idea it would be this hard. I thought everyone was lying because our relationship was solid before marriage. We were best friends. Some days I feel like we’re roommates who share the same kids. It disgusts me even to say that, but it’s the truth. Marriage is hard and has ugly sides to it that everyone seems afraid to talk about. RELATED: Keep Showing Up Even When Marriage is...

Keep Reading

You Are the God of Details, but God These Details Don’t Make Sense

In: Faith, Grief, Loss
Window open with shutters

That was not the plan. What just happened in there? We walked out a bit defeated. More than a bit. I felt deflated. Things were supposed to be different by now. This wasn’t what I asked for or expected. This wasn’t even what they told me would happen. We cross the street in silence. Headed to the car and as soon as I shut the car door, I could no longer hold it in. I let the tears flow. All this unknown. I don’t understand. This is life. This is foster care. This is what we chose. That doesn’t make...

Keep Reading

I Am a Good Enough Mom

In: Faith, Motherhood
Mother kissing toddler

I came to motherhood knowing nothing about the job. My mother’s example wasn’t an example at all, more of something to forget, and maybe even get therapy for. My own son was the first newborn I’d ever held. When I became a mom, I was 23 and clueless.  Because of my personality, I wanted to do everything right and parenthood was no exception. I read all the books on parenting I could. I talked to older moms and soaked up all the advice they gave me. Having no idea what I was doing made me look to outside sources to inform...

Keep Reading

God’s Plan For Me Wasn’t What I Expected

In: Faith, Motherhood
Woman walking with children silhouette

I grew up in a family where we knew who God was. We went to church, and we were involved in church. However, when we weren’t at church, time spent in the Word fell to the wayside. Don’t get me wrong, my parents were wonderful people, but we didn’t make that a priority in my house.  Going into adulthood, I realized I had deceived myself into believing I had a relationship with God. I knew God loved me, but I questioned whether I loved Him. I wasn’t living life in a way that was glorifying to Him. I’m not only...

Keep Reading

But God is Still Good

In: Faith, Living
Woman looking out window

“I can’t afford a new one,” I thought to myself as I shampooed another stain. This can’t keep happening. Maybe I made a mistake. I have to make this last. And the couch. And the clothes. And all the things. We are done having babies. The price of food has doubled. It’s astronomical to fill the cars with gas. Things are closing in on me. How can I best serve my family? Survival mode engaged. When I read the news, when I follow the headlines, when I listen to the conversations around me . . .  I hear fear. Loss....

Keep Reading

Jesus Helps Me Smile Through the Weary Moments of Motherhood

In: Faith, Motherhood
Woman holding toddler girl, color photo

“Mom, why aren’t you smiling?” My 4-year-old took one look at my face, and like an open book, she could read me. Sometimes I wish I could hide it better, tucked behind an infinite smile or a pasted-on happy face. Sometimes I wish my beautiful children—so young, free, and fun—wouldn’t see my face on a day like today. RELATED: Motherhood is Hard, But Loving You is the Easiest Thing I’ve Ever Done You see, it’s just so hard—all of it. And I am just so tired. Between working a job, trying to keep up with being a supportive wife and...

Keep Reading

The Guilt of an Angry Mother Meets Grace

In: Faith, Motherhood
Mother and son hug at home

“No one’s perfect,” I think. I’m mopping up my overspilled anger like the remnants of an erupted chocolate volcano that hit the kitchen floor.  It was the last bucking whine of “I don’t want chocolate in my milk” that did it. The culmination of about one million “I want chocolate in my milk”s ended with a sticky muddy river of it from highchair to floor.  After reasoning with my toddler, which never works well, I gave in to his adamant refusal of white milk for a chocolatey exchange. He responded to my surrender like a 2-year-old. He revolted. Little feet...

Keep Reading

Get our FREE phone wallpaper to encourage you as the new school year begins

It's bittersweet for a mother to watch her child grow—but you both are ready to soar.