What I Learned in the First 15 Years of Marriage

It is hard to fathom that we have been married for 15 years. In some ways, it has gone by so quickly. In other ways, when I realize all that has happened, it is amazing that it has all been crammed in within 15 years.

I am still incredibly amazed that Amanda agreed to marry me. That’s not just obligatory speech that hopes to earn brownie points with the wife. That’s real talk. Amanda is incredible. She was amazing then, but she proves to be even more stellar with every passing year.

I tell pre-marital couples often regarding how I felt on our wedding day. I woke up that morning in my doublewide trailer and thought to myself: “I’m not ready to get married yet. I still feel like a kid.”

There was so much I was clueless about. I didn’t know what it meant to be a husband. People talked about the need to lead a family, but I felt inadequate just to lead myself. Where was I supposed to be leading anyway?

All I knew that morning was the truth by which I proposed to her the previous year.

“I think we can follow Jesus better together than we can on our own.”

That’s why I proposed. That’s why she agreed. That’s why we were married. That’s why we are still married.

These 15 years have been full. We earned 3 additional degrees. We were blessed with 3 children. We each had job changes. We’ve ministered on different continents. We have discipled others in our home and through the church. We embarked upon a big move. We’ve experienced remarkable joys and devastating heartbreaks.

Along the way, I have studied marriage. In fact, I have taught, preached, written, and counseled numerous times and engaged many people regarding marriage. I’ve officiated approximately 50 weddings since we exchanged our vows.

In 15 years, you would think I would have learned something. In essence, I have. If someone asked Amanda if I was a better husband now than when we started, I pray she would say I have progressed. I’ve changed. She’s changed. We are different people than when we first were married.

In reality though, not much has changed. Sure, my dedication to learning how to love her better through the years has adapted. I’ve learned to listen to what she needs rather than just assuming what she wants. But through all the adjustments, it really still comes down to that original concept:

I can follow Jesus better with her than I can without her.

Marrying Amanda has caused me to secure undistracted devotion to the Lord (1 Cor. 7:35). She helps me follow Jesus more closely. We desire that people could look at our relationship and better understand the love of Jesus (Eph. 5:25).

What have I learned in the first 15 years of marriage?

Marriage is simple if I wholeheartedly follow Jesus and selflessly serve her.

It really is simple. It is simple in theory but not always in practice. Any other motive or approach just falls short.

While I am thankful for the progress I’ve made in the first 15 years, I’m thankful I have a lifetime to practice it.

Amanda, I will spend all of my years loving you and never have dreamt for a minute that I wasted a one.