Marriage is hard.

I'm not going to Parade around like I have a flawless marriage... and it seems like the more transparent we all are with each other, the guards come down, the masks come off and we can all breathe and stop pretending we are some super human love machines. Marriage is hard.... and I don't believe for a second yours is perfect either.... { this is said in a kind tone } :)

 I found out a little late in the game... after almost seven years into it. I had a dream as a youth... that I would be that sexy woman... awesome Mom.... and pretty much perfect wife. I haven't quite lived up to that lofty vision. You see.. months after Donnie and I met... we were quickly engaged. After dating lots of Mr Wrongs.... I knew he was Mr Right. We both grew up in the same beach town, it wasn't exactly "supportive of marriage".... and you rarely saw anyone doing under the age of 30. You see... I was 27 when Donnie and I got married and Donnie was 33. We were ready. Ready to stop playing dumb dating games, ready to be real... ready to start a family... ready to move on. Some of our friends thought we were crazy for getting married that young. Why give up your freedom willingly, they pleaded? Isn't that hilarious? Gotta love growing up at the beach..

When we moved to Texas... I realized .. 27 wasn't that young. Friends of mine were 26 with two children under their belt... with tons more maturity than I had in my life.. I was a slow learner when it came to emotions, relationships and dealing with set - backs.... which brings you to my above title. Marriage is hard. You can imagine...especially hard for someone like me... who borders on idealistic.... I can exasperate just about anyone... because I hold myself and everyone else around to me to high, almost unreachable expectations. I always thought having high expectations was a good thing....only problem is.. it surely sets you up for a lifetime of disappointment. Lets face it... no-ones perfect and that includes even our husbands { gasp } This is where God has shown me recently I need mercy. Did I mention, Marriage is hard?

 I am not saying this with any disrespect to marriage... and if you are a newlywed... you are probably cringing... or probably have already left my blog.. .feeling super sorry for me.... and trust me I was once there. When Donnie and I got pregnant {on our honeymoon .. I might add } we were shocked. we weren't planning for a baby.. but were not avoiding it either...  God had quick plans for us to be parents.. so we started reading parenting books... in the midst of trying to finish up our "marriage" books too. Honestly...we sorta skimmed over the marriage books... because marriage was all about love and romance, right? and we had that thing DOWN.. We laughed while reading the marriage books.. the authors were miserable... miserable people who should not have gotten married in the first place.. I thought... as I read what seemed to be a lot of struggles and pain. {Of course, that's the way I interpreted it at the time }.. There were chapters about "making time for each other", "making the other person a priority".." making time for romance"... "compromising in disagreements".... I thought... We are married.. of course we would make time for each other, have romance and compromise, right?... that's what married people do! and we are happy to do it!  And better yet... not in a contrived, planned out way because a book told me too....I mean what a romance buster for a newly wed, right?  So since we pretty much thought we had it to the next book... What to expect when you are expecting.! Okay.. this is more like it... practical information I can use.  -- [ if you aren't a sarcastic person. I am being facetious ]

Well... fast forward two children later, moving to another state, building up careers, running a business and fixing up a few houses and flipping them to pay our way out of debt that we had racked up living in California on credit cards. Here we are... and can I just say.... "woah "! Life gets different when you forget to hold hands because you are too busy holding diaper bags and pushing strollers...  things change when instead of flirting.. you discuss who changes the babies diaper while the other takes the five year old to wash her hands at the restaurant. Instead of gazing into each other eyes... and drinking wine at dinner... we now...  answer a slew of never ending questions from a curious five year old and try to calm a super fiery 18 month old from climbing out of her high chair. That's dinner. But guess what ? I wouldn't want it any other way! You know this.

I guess... I was starting to feel unappreciated... a mothers job is never done... and I started to envy even the quiet time Donnie had on his drive home from work. I sure would love thirty minutes of silence to think.. When he would get home, he would be tired... I would need words of affirmation after a long day with the kids, working and homeschooling. I felt like he was withdrawing.... I started to wonder if I was still pretty to him.. after giving my body up for babies.... or if I still had that Mojo... since what was once "sexy" was now " milk drinks for the baby". I started to miss those long nights.. we would stay up and just talk and laugh all night long.. not caring if we were tired the next day.. when now... we were exhausted by the end of the day... and  lucky enough if we get our shoes off. { okay not really... but you get it }

slowly... we started disconnecting... and things started happening. I was starting to realize... the above.. "marriage is hard". My neighbor... who is a mother to 11 wonderful children and awesome woman of God... prays with me a lot. She is always checking in on me to see how I am doing. I got to telling her... my exasperation with marriage.... and she was quick to offer up prayer, suggested books and even paid for us to attend a weekend to remember! We were hesitant.. after all... we never take a weekend away from our kids... and to go stay in a hotel to attend a seminar.. wasn't quite the vacation we were hoping for..... we fought it... we had stuff to do, a list I'm sure as long as yours, yard work, errands, plans, you know... life. But my neighbor was persistent... and God had a hold on our hearts.. we knew... if we didn't go.. we would be disobeying God...he was clear to both of us.. that this was something we NEEDED to do. There was no time to waste. So we went.

 Oh. My. Goodness. Life.Changing. We were reminded of each other. We were reminded of why we ever fell in love in the first place... and can I just tell you.... I walked out of that seminar.. loving my husband MORE than I ever did the day I married him. I started to see more clearly what was happening... we expected our marriage to be easy... and didn't put the work in that needed ... instead we poured overtly into our kids and allowed our marriage to be lost in the shuffle. we forgot to carve out time intentionally for each other.. I came into that seminar with a chip on my shoulder.. wishing my husband could just BE.... what I needed him to be.... and instead I left... with a better understanding of how I have dropped the ball more than once... and I realized I so need God in my life more than ever to work miracles in my marriage. You see,.. the devil.. he hates your marriage... a holy union and legacy of family passed down for generations... is glorifying to the Lord... and if the devil can cause trouble... you can bet where he wants to cause it is in your marriage.

I know this may sound cheesy.. but at one point.. they had you turn to your spouse and say "you are not my enemy" of course accompanied by laughter.. I mean isn't that a given? we chose each other...! we are not enemies... but we DO have an enemy who is plotting to kill, steal and destroy... and marriage is one of things he is after. I started to see more visibly.. how desperate the enemy wanted to destroy my family....and if he couldn't do it by divorce... he would at least try to keep us " strangers living together"... two who have drifted.. too busy to connect. You see... it is not flesh that we  are at battle with.. but a powerful invisible force.... and if we can start to get out of our "worldly head space" we will quickly see.... that we don't have to fall for the devils obnoxious schemes.... because we belong to the mighty one... and the devil is powerless to our holy God. Isn't it a beautiful thing to know that God created Marriage, and that he gave us the other to enjoy fully and completely... he wants that for us! Our God isn't one who wants boring marriages... we were made for intimacy and  deep companionship.

So problem solved. Devil defeated.... ? Yes! ..... but the battle isn't over until we stop breathing. Now that we are more keenly aware of the attacks that not only "might" but " will " take place on our marriage... we are suiting up....  we have the armor needed for this grand battle.  Donnie and I have decided to FIGHT for our family.... fight no matter how hard it may be... for a legacy. For our children and their children.And what a precious gift to receive back.. after it had been stolen from us. We were so moved by the seminar... and so re-kindled... we felt an overwhelming desire to help other people get their marriages back.... so I decided to write this for YOU....

I wrote this for you, whomever you may be. Maybe your the person who is nauseated by the fake facebook/blog marriages and lives of people around you and on the Internet. I am learning that there are no perfect marriages...and the ones that " look perfect" have weathered some storm.. you can be sure of it.  In fact.. the marriages I admire most.. are ones that have come forth to share their hardships and real stories.... its not always been easy.. they have had to fight. Nothing easy is really ever that rewarding. Where there is no struggle there is no strength. I wrote this for you, if you feel alone, unappreciated or unknown in your marriage... you are really not as alone as you might think... but the enemy wants you to dwell right there... in self pity and resentment... don't allow it. Pray.. Pray... and Pray some more. Pray for your husband... wife... children... covering over your home... Pray!

Treasure the love you have received above all. It will survive long after your gold and good health have vanished. - Og Mandino

If you would like to check out one of these seminars.. go here.
A good book on the subject?... Right now I am reading this one.
A must see movie.

I don't know you, whomever is touched by this... but today I pray for you, pray for you to break free and receive back what has been stolen from you, marriage is a beautiful thing.... fight for it! get it back and protect it with everything you have. It is hard..... but worth fighting for.


  1. I completely agree with your comments on no marriage being perfect, and the ones who seem that way have been through some storms! By no means is my marriage perfect right now, but we have been in such a good place for the past year or two that it almost feels that way... but that being said, we went through some MAJOR major stuff to get here, and learned some hard lessons, and almost lost each other in the midst of it all. So now, we just really understand what we have, and the fact that we dont want to lose it, and it has changed so much in our daily lives. Alot of the petty stuff that used to be such a burden has fallen to the way side. Not all of it of course, it never does. So glad you and donnie have rediscovered that space. love this!

  2. Laura.. i love it. :) Such a rad place to be in... to come out on the other side. God can redeem what we mess up. Thank you so much for reading and writing what you did here! xo

  3. We almost got divorced 7 years ago. We were ((this)) close. And someone gifted us with a Weekend to Remember. It was pivotal in changing out marriage. I'm thankful for the role that it played. It didn't "fix" things but it gave us some valuable tools.
    I'm glad you two got to go to one. You're one of my favorite couples. <3

  4. We have been to two Weekend to Remembers--once when we were first married (and in our early, early 20s), and one after Tristan was born, I guess 7 years ago. They are amazing. We've been through a lot of storms in the last 15 years (today is our anniversary!)...and we've discovered that it's a choice of whether the storm will destroy you or bind you together. I love what you said about being intentional and fighting for your family--when we don't realize that it's a fight, we let our guard down and forget to choose each other every day. Great post, Shauna!

  5. So beautiful, thank you for writing this. We are in the process of preparing to share more of our story- the darkest parts we would rather keep hidden- but we believe that true freedom and healing comes through transparency. I struggle sometimes with the lines I've drawn for what I do and don't share in my blog (some things simply can't be properly explained in a few words/how will it affect me getting a job/friendships), but it leaves it feeling a bit mundane. I trust that God is still preparing our hearts and working in us so one day we can stand on the mountain and proclaim the depth of the grace He has shown us through our lives.
    P.S. Gorgeous wedding photos and Hi, Dan Bradford! :)

  6. Wow!

    We are parents to an almost 4 year old of whom we had 11 months after being married, in the first 6 months we obviously became pregnant and I was diagnosed with cancer,

    We need this so badly. It sounds like a wonderful experience.

  7. do you know how wonderful your honesty is? i mean, my marriage was HORRENDOUS for the first 3 years, but the past 4 have been wonderful with only some intermittent horrendousness. ;) and what a beautiful bride you were!!!! holy cats!

  8. get it! Thank you so much for sharing! I've been married for 13 years and we realized on our honeymoon that marriage was going to be tough! Yikes. When we go to weddings, I write on the card..."marriage is tough". Ha! I'm sure they love that...but I follow that up with, "it's worth it!". Thank you for being real...your words resinated with me.

  9. Love this and every word you said is so true!

  10. This was an amazing post! I really love and appreciate your honesty and can totally relate. My hubs and I have been through the sunshine and the rain (and the hail, sleet, snow, blizzard...) but it's sooo worth it for the testimony and being able to witness God's grace for yourselves. And you're right when you say that God redeems and covers our past mistakes, He washes them white as snow! Thank you for your testimony, prayer, and encouragement! You're so awesome :-)

  11. I was so moved by this post...I looked up to see when A Weekend to Remember would be in our area...well, we just attended last weekend in Minneapolis. Yep, it was amazing. I blogged about it over at if you get a chance to peak. Thanks again for mentioning this!