By: Emily Conley
We’re surrounded by negative portrayals of marriage in popular culture, celebrity divorces in the news, and inaccurate statistics about the failure of Christian marriages. This February, we're sharing the stories of married couples who've been there, with goal of strengthening and encouraging you. We've shared thoughts from couples who are engaged married five years, ten years, twenty years, and today, the story of a couple married for 27 years.
Irene serves ADF as Mail Room Clerk, and Don serves ADF as Chief Information Officer.
Tell us the story of how you met.
Definitely by God’s hand. We worked in the same organization, but on different floors. We didn’t know each other. Then, on October 1, 1987, a major earthquake struck the LA area. The floor where I worked was decimated, and I was moved to the floor Don worked on. Soon after, he asked me to lunch, and that was the start of our relationship
What about marriage has been different than you expected, or surprised you?
I learned that just because you love somebody doesn’t mean it’s easy to love him. Love requires effort, it requires work, it requires commitment. Love doesn’t conquer all; work and commitment does.
What challenges do you think marriages face today that maybe they didn’t in your parents’ generation?
Popular culture has given rise to extreme selfishness. This perhaps started in the 1980s when Don and I met and married. This culture has bred widespread divorce for really no cause other than thoughts like, “I’m tired of this,” “I want more,” or “I want something else.” Our parents stayed together, even in tough times, because they esteemed marriage and their own commitment above themselves. People today have a totally different mentality and a real lack of commitment. Combine this with a highly sexualized society where the morals of secular culture have been abandoned, and the stresses on marriage have multiplied.
Could you share with us the biggest challenge you’ve faced in your marriage?
Conflict is inevitable. The biggest challenge I’ve faced is learning to properly resolve major conflicts while ensuring that our relationship thrives and that we stay close and remain friends.
What’s been the biggest blessing you’ve received through marriage?
The biggest blessing is that I have a family of my own. This brings a sense of fulfillment and belonging. It brings a home. There is love and not emptiness. I don’t mean this selfishly, for this home is a place where I am free to love to my fullest as well.
What has made your marriage successful?
God. Seriously, it is so easy to be self-centered or become selfish when you get hurt. Staying close to God keeps our thinking right, leads to right decisions, and humbles us when our pride takes control.
If you could go back and give yourself one piece of advice before you were married, what would you say?
Understand that the male and female perspectives are often quite diverse. Feed your husband respect in his language, in the manner that he can receive it, not in your own language or by your own definition of respect.
In ten years, what do you hope will be true about your relationship with your spouse?
That our love for each other, our understanding of each other, and our friendship towards each other would be greater than ever. And that we keep to our goal bodyweight! :)
What advice would you give to someone who’s newly married?
Treat marriage as a ministry. Live a biblically defined marriage. And above all, never entertain the thought of quitting; divorce is not an option. If you have struggles, no matter how hard, let God do His healing in your marriage.
Inspire others with your marriage story
Marriage is beautiful, and it benefits society in ways no other relationship can. So show your photo, tell your story, and share your advice. The world needs it.
Tell Your Story
Religious FreedomWhy Two Female Athletes in Idaho Joined a Legal Battle Over a State Law
Female athletes deserve a voice in this lawsuit and the opportunity to protect women’s sports in Idaho.
Religious FreedomBig Win! This Wedding Officiant Won’t Be Forced to Perform Ceremonies Against Her Beliefs
Fortunately, Kristi still has the freedom to participate in the ceremonies she chooses, proclaim the messages she agrees with, and practice the beliefs she holds most dear.
Religious FreedomDo Wedding Officiants Have the Freedom to Decide What Ceremonies They Perform?
As Kristi Stokes developed and grew her business, Covenant Weddings, she found out something troubling about her local laws.