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Topics: Marriage, Women

Ten Years of Work, Not Bliss

December 3, 2013

Courtesy of Creation

By Trillia Newbell

In a few days, I celebrate my ten year anniversary.

I have been married to my sweet love for ten years! It would be easy to simply say it’s been blissful every step of the way, but if I said that I would be lying to you. It has not been blissful every step of the way. It has been work. But the work has resulted in a marriage that is now quite blissful.

Thern and I got married and brought along with us a little bit of baggage. We started our journey together before we were Christians. We dated for a few years and then were engaged. We got engaged twice and broke it off twice. God was truly merciful to not allow our first relationships to end in marriage—we would surely be struggling or divorced.

God first reconciled each of us to him and then to each other.  I became a Christian and a year or so later Thern became a Christian. We didn’t speak much and lived our lives as if we’d never get back together. But God had a better plan. Thern eventually expressed his interest in rekindling the fire and seeing if we were meant to be. Thank God he did! And yes, we were!

We were married in December 2003. From there began this journey we are now on called marriage.

For the first year of our marriage I continually evaluated him.  I had grown into a self-righteous woman (or perhaps I had always been—marriage really brings out the real you). I thought of ways he could lead better. I never cared much about things like paint color before, but all of a sudden these trivial things were very important. I had sweet relationships with girlfriends and compared him to them. I couldn’t understand why he wasn’t as open and gushy about everything (you know, like a girl would be).  We loved each other dearly but fought like cats and dogs.

But God, who says he will finish the good work he began, didn’t leave me there. By our second year of marriage, God was working in my heart to love Thern and grow into his helpmeet—not his “holy spirit.” I also simply enjoyed him much more. I was no longer out to change him. It was really miraculous. And I believe part of this work he was doing in my heart was to prepare us for trials.

We entered the tough season of miscarriages and financial scares, unified. I trusted Thern to lead me where before I had second guessed everything he had said. He helped me with my sorrow over the loss of our babies throughout the years and continually (and continues to—oh how I need this) preached the gospel to me. We began to understand what it means to become one—we were growing in our marriage.

Marriage is not a “walk in the park.” It can be wonderful and absolutely difficult at times. There are seasons where my husband and I have felt like we were constantly in a business transaction (the kids did this, we need to pick up that, did you get those, etc.). I’m fighting everyday for our marriage. I’m not concerned daily that we are going to fall apart. But I am aware that it doesn’t take much to become roommates rather than lovers and best friends.

Our ten years have included conflicts and make-ups, struggles and rejoicing, great sorrows and cheers. We have wept together and sung together. I’m thankful to celebrate these ten years with my love, not because we’ve had a perfect marriage but because we have had a marriage with roots deep in the gospel and hands clinging to those truths. I celebrate because God has been faithful to us. And it is because of God’s sweet grace and faithfulness that today I celebrate a marriage now filled with bliss and love (and a conflict here and there).


(Also, please check out these resources: The Meaning of Marriage by Tim and Kathy Keller; This Momentary Marriage by John Piper, and we have a new channel dedicated to Families! )


Trillia Newbell is the Lead Editor of Karis. You can follow her on twitter @trillianewbell



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