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As you read this I am peacefully basking in a lovely five-day getaway  in the mountains with the Love of My Life. We try to do this a few times a year, but we make our anniversary getaway a priority. A couple weekends in Omaha a year to reconnect and focus on us and one extra long weekend to celebrate our past, our present and our future.

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I have my parents to thank for setting an example for me when I was a child. They enjoyed date nights regularly as well as their annual anniversary week away. They were always affectionate and enjoyed time with friends and doing many of the same recreational activities. Even though I may have given them a hard time then, I appreciate the example they set for me. 

It is our duty as parents to teach our children how to love and to be loved. How we speak to and about our spouse tells our children how they should speak and accept being spoken to. If we belittle one another and criticize little faults our children will learn to be critical rather than forgiving and supportive. It is important to show our children that a marriage requires effort and it isn’t always easy and magical. As parents we should show our children how to resolve conflict and love through hardships peacefully and lovingly.

Whoever overlooks an offense fosters friendship, but whoever gossips about it separates friends. Proverbs 17:9

Living with me is no picnic, but somehow my husband still makes me feel as though he’s the luckiest man on earth for having me as his wife. When I am feeling irritable and critical, I remind myself that he chose me out of all the women in the world and if he can overlook my flaws and look at me with love in his eyes each and every day, then little annoyances are simply to be overlooked. 

On the other hand, as a spouse we commit to be our best for one another and for our children. I focus on growing in my faith, I work on improving my health, taking care of our family, our home and businesses and I make extra efforts regularly to let him know he’s special, appreciated and important. A marriage is a partnership and mutual respect is imperative to its level of success. 

We must never be complacent and willing to merely co-exist. A successful marriage means being willing to work together, to help and encourage one another to continually grow and improve. It does NOT mean agreeing on everything, having all the same interests and overlooking negative, harmful or destructive behavior. 

I am truly thankful to share my life with the BEST partner God could have made especially for me. He balances me, encourages me, understands me, loves me unconditionally and helps me to raise our awesome children to be our gifts to the world. 

Whether you are married to your true soul mate or you are struggling today to remember what it was that made you first fall in love, or perhaps you are in a difficult and painful relationship, let me share this with you…God does not want us to be unhappy. A very wise and loving priest once said this to me and it helped me more than you could ever know. Marriage is difficult, life is difficult. Having a person by your side every day for the rest of your life to grow in faith with and to share the ups and downs and every moment in between is worth the work. Our children witness much more than we sometimes realize and we not only owe it to ourselves, but to them and their future spouses as well. 

Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself”. Matthew 22:37-39

Make a commitment to serve God in your daily life,  and to be a loving and supportive spouse, pray together daily. Respect the gift of life God has given you and be true to yourself as well. Ask God into your marriage and keep Christ the center of your home. Work together and just as we pray in The Our Father, “forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us”  we will never be perfect, but God sees us as the perfect souls he created and we should see our spouse this way and work every day to become closer to the person God created us to be. 

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Today I am grateful to be married to my best friend. Darby, each and every day you make me smile, laugh, cry, cringe, soar and grow. Thank you for the happiest eleven years of my life and for the years and years to come. I know that no matter what triumphs and heartaches come our way, they will be possible because YOU will be by my side. Thank you for loving me regardless of my flaws, stretch marks, insanely compulsive ways and my daily shenanigans. Each day you make me proud to be your wife, grateful to be raising our kids together and excited to grow and learn together. Thank you for making our marriage and our children a priority, for being a positive, hard-working role model each and every day and for spending time with me and only me. Happy Anniversary and I am looking forward to many, many more.

Blessings!

Traci Runge

Traci was born and raised in San Diego and has called Kearney, Nebraska home for the past 18 years. She is married to Darby Runge and together they have 6 children. They own and operate Pro-Tint, a window tinting business. Along with being a full-time mom, Traci is also a Manager and Certified Trainer with SendOutCards, she works with businesses and individuals to build relationships and grow their income through Relationship Marketing. Traci works hard to balance her roles of mother, wife and business owner. She strives to help make the world a better place through kindness and love and leading by example. Traci is committed to her family, church and community and can often be found volunteering in some capacity. www.sendoutcards.com/tracirunge

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