What 8 Years of Marriage Has Taught Me about Joy & Pain

Guest Post from Danielle Darnell

While I’m away, I’m excited to share with you several guest posts from friends and colleagues that are passionate about marriages, relationships, and conflict resolution. This week’s post comes from Danielle Darnell. She and her husband Jake live in Kalamazoo, MI with their 2 little girls, Story and Teagan. When not working or mom-ing, Danielle loves to cycle, build tables, write about personal finance, and spend as many hours as she can gathered around a table with old friends and new, enjoying life together.

The Beginning Is Only The Beginning

Next month we will celebrate our 8th anniversary. But we’ve been together far longer than 8 years, 15 in fact. Brought together through brokenness, we met during our freshman year of high school, shortly after my parents separated and two years before his parents did the same.

We each had front row seats to the pain and damage that can arise through marriage and divorce. We bonded through trading war stories, helping each other reconcile the pain, and delivering just the right dash of humor when needed. And the thing we said more than anything is that someday when we get married to our spouses, we will do things differently.

Madly In Love (4)

We weren’t naive, we knew marriage took “work”, but we also knew that any amount of work and sacrifice was better than experiencing what we were going through at the hands of divorce. We knew what not to do, so we each began searching out scripture and mentors to help show us what to do.

Over the next few years, our friendship grew, but life took us apart for college. Through God’s grace, we stayed in touch and began to experience our feelings morph from friendship into love for each other. And we realized all the pain, all the tears, and all the late night talks about divorce had been knitting us together and laying a foundation for our own future marriage.

We married at 20 and 21, having already traveled the ups and downs of seven years of friendship together. By the time our wedding day arrived, I thought we were invincible. We knew what not to do, and we had a pretty good idea of what to do – what else was there to figure out?

A lot.

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“I wrote a book too” – God.

I don’t know about you but writing isn’t easy – at least not for me. I labor over the words and word order to do the best I can at saying what is in my heart. And yet I write because I want to make a difference. I want to take what God has given me and pass it on to you in hopes of it being a true source of encouragement. My promise to you, my reader, is this:

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It’s Not Over Yet! Four Things to Remember:

I had been working with a couple through a great number of difficulties. Both were very committed to the process and working hard. He was fighting his own battles both past and present; she was fighting hers. At one point she was particularly distressed, struggling to keep moving forward. It was then a thought came to mind to share with them:

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When Divorce Becomes an Option…

“Is divorce an option?” I ask couples when they come to see me for marriage counseling.  Unfortunately for too many it is. Then I tell them that having the possibility of divorce in their mind almost assures that it will happen sooner or later. It is the first of several steps that lead to ruin…

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Where Is God? Do You Wonder Sometimes…

Are you now, or have you ever gone through a difficulty in marriage when you wondered where God is?  You have been deeply hurt or betrayed by your spouse.  You are greatly frustrated or confused over a matter.  Maybe life with each other has just become mundane.  You wonder if there will ever be anything more.  Whether you have prayed or not, you have found no answers.  I have a question…

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3 Things To Do When Your Morning Turns To Night

By Mark Oelze

We have all been there, known someone who has, or feared the day when it would be us.  A marriage fails, a child dies, a spouse loses their job, or  —  fill in the blank.  The morning starts out bright, but suddenly it turns to night and we can’t find our way.  What do we do?

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Why you must pay attention in your marriage to these…

I love going on walks with my wife.  It gets us away from the house and all the distractions.  We get to just BE with each other.  But inevitably it happens at least once every time we walk.  I get a pebble in my shoe.  I don’t know why – maybe I have the wrong size shoe.  Maybe pebbles like me.  But I can’t believe how uncomfortable one step is with just a little pebble in the shoe!  How can something that small take the joy out of a walk with my wife?

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