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, and coming up, we'll hear from couples who've been married ten years, twenty years, and longer.
Steve serves ADF as a Development Representative Manager, and he and Monique have been married almost 5 years.
Tell us the story of how you met.
We met at a Young Life camp in northern AZ in 2007. I was playing frisbee golf with some friends, and Monique, trying to be helpful, was about to pick up my frisbee, which would have ruined my shot. I yelled at her to please leave it where it was, and that was our first interaction. I was immediately attracted to Monique, but she took much longer. The next week, we saw each other at our college group at Highlands Church, and that was when I “knew” we would end up together. It ended up taking 3 years before she actually said yes to being my girlfriend.
What about marriage has been different than you expected, or surprised you?
The amount of intentionality that it takes to communicate well and continue to pursue each other. This has become even more of a challenge with the addition of a child. When you look towards marriage and have met the person that you plan to marry, it’s easy to believe that you will have those butterflies forever and that loving them will come naturally. It took us a year or two to realize that marriage involves a lot of work and swallowing our pride.
What challenges do you think marriages face today that maybe they didn’t in your parents’ generation?
One major one is the temptation of pornography. Computers and the Internet were not available during my parent’s generation, and now online access is in our pockets on our cell phones. Although the secular world is mixed on this issue, we think there’s a serious problem with pornography. The temptation is everywhere and sexual images are far more prevalent and available than ever before.
Could you share with us the biggest challenge you’ve faced in your marriage?
The biggest challenge we have faced is continuing to date each other. Now that we know one another pretty well, it has been a real struggle to keep things fresh and continue to grow closer in that way. When we do fight, it usually occurs when we haven’t spent quality time together.
What’s been the biggest blessing you’ve received through marriage?
The biggest blessing for us has been having a partner in life to love and support in the middle of all the struggles. We are not perfect, and we are both selfish, but we are learning more and more how to bear one another’s burdens, and it is great.
What has made your marriage successful?
Unplugging from technology every once in a while and continuing to learn about who we are. It can be hard to think of conversation topics at this point, so recently, we bought decks of cards that have random questions on them. We’ll spend an hour or so a few times a week and just go back and forth answering questions.
If you could go back and give yourself one piece of advice before you were married, what would you say?
It would be to make a weekly date night and to stick to it no matter what. We have tried to do that more recently, but with a 1-year-old, it can be a little tricky. In the same way, we would make a regular day to pray for our marriage and to talk through things.
In ten years, what do you hope will be true about your relationship with your spouse?
We hope to continue learning new things about each other and figuring out ways to sacrificially love the other.
What advice would you give to someone who’s newly married?
We would tell them to pray regularly, to make a priority of unplugging, and to go on dates.
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
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