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When I was in high school, I had a Bible study leader whom I greatly appreciated and respected. She provided gentle and honest guidance as well as a nonjudgmental listening ear–something I certainly valued and needed as a teenager.

Her husband was not a part of the youth group ministry, but I would see them together on Sunday mornings, and they appeared to honestly enjoy each other’s company and have an easy-going partnership. They had a small organic farm, which was a novel and somewhat risky enterprise in the 1990s, and three young children. I had observed many examples of wonderful mothers and caretakers while growing up, but I did not often encounter couples who seemed as happy as they did.

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One Wednesday night, I asked her how her marriage was so successful. She paused for half a second and then replied . . .

“We love Jesus, and we love each other. That’s pretty much all we have in common, but it’s enough.”

But it’s enough.

Her words have come back to me time and again over the years. When my then-boyfriend spent long summers training for the Marines, and we could talk only once a week on the phone, it was enough. After we got married and I had to finish graduate school in one state while he was stationed in another, and we saw each other just during holidays, it was enough.

When we bought our first house and spent all our free time remodeling and renovating, it wasn’t exciting, but it was our home, and it was enough. When our babies were born one right after the other, and we couldn’t see beyond the midnight feedings and the mountain of diapers and the endless trails of Goldfish cracker crumbs, we had our beautiful little family, and it was enough.

RELATED: Marriage Isn’t About Your Happiness

My husband and I actually do have many things in common, many activities we both truly enjoy as a couple: camping, canoeing, hiking, biking, skiing, traveling, watching The Umbrella Academy (and crossing our fingers for season three), taking our kids to church, and cooking really good food together.

But there are days, and there are times when we are simply at odds with one another or seasons of life when things do not flow smoothly.

And it’s then that I remember we love Jesus, and we love each other. And that’s enough.

If my children ask someday what holds us together or what is the secret to our partnership, I will credit my Bible study leader and say, “We love Jesus. We love each other.” And then I will add, “We love all of you kids. We love this life we made. And that’s enough.”

And that’s more than enough.

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Alexis Linehan

Alexis is an occupational therapist, the wife of a National Guard helicopter pilot, and the mama to four very energetic small humans. The military life has taken them to different states and through several deployments, but they currently call Nebraska home. Alexis enjoys cantoring at Mass, going on camping adventures with her family, and reading anything (and everything) under the sun. She volunteers for the National Guard Family Readiness and is a contributing writer at The Military Mom Collective. You can follow her on Facebook at This End Up in Life.

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