From where I stand. 

I’m not an expert on many things. I can’t tell you how to remove stains, or talk theology. I hate politics, and can’t help my teenage son with his algebra homework.  

I was trying to think of what I possibly could be an expert on. I know how to handle four kids with the stomach flu, and I know about good mascara. I can talk for days about God’s love, and how to care for someone with an eating disorder, or what to say to someone who has lost a child. But those latter things also make me cry.  

I’d love to say I’m an expert Christian, a perfect Catholic. But I’m not. I’m flawed and messy. I’d love to say I’m the quinnessential “police” wife. But I’m not. I cry for days over things people write, I can’t read the news, and I’m not as strong as he needs me to be.

So when I tell you I’m not an expert at marriage…please know I am not. It’s been  15 and a half years since we vowed to love each other through sickness and health. 5,667 days since I stood before God and my family and I promised to love for richer and poorer. And while I feel like I’ve grown up a lot in those 186 months, my marriage is a living part of my story. We are both constantly changing, growing, bending, and being stretched beyond our comfortable. 

I’ve noticed as I’ve approached the new year, that I rarely wrote about my marriage last year. Maybe because of its sacredness, maybe because I am so incredibly flawed. But from where I’ve stood recently I’ve felt there are things I need to share about, because I’m not an expert but I am a part of a marriage. 

In the past few years many of our friends have split up. Marriages that we thought were solid have crumbled. The reasons have always been more complicated than an explanation can give…there is always so much that is involved in a marriage that falls apart. Sometimes we on the outside try to simplify or understand, sometimes those on the inside do as well. But here’s the truth: Marriage as a living part of a story, when dying can be toxic beyond words, especially when one has made their mind up. And there are no easy answers. And all of it…is hard. 

And maybe that’s why I’ve hesitated to write about it. Because I’m not an expert. Because it is so complicated. Because even when you want Christ as the center, sometimes the world and pressures of so many other moving parts start to weigh and break you. 

Infidelity. Emotional and/or Physical.


Stress…infertility. Death of a parent. A child. PTSD. Depression. Trauma.

Work…too much, too little. 

Addiction (…to pornography, substances, gambling, video games).

And those things…they can kill even the best marriages. And they are uncomfortable to even type- much less face.   Then throw in the everyday stresses of life and everything that can go wrong with communication, and parenting, and lack of sleep. 

You want real marriage? 

A month ago my husband and I got in a fight. Usually we just fuss at each other. But this was a big one. Wires were crossed, and things were said. Hard things. The kind of things that run razor wire across your heart. The kind of things that make you want to say…

“What the heck are we still doing here?” 

“Why are you even with me?” 

“Why were you ever with me?” 

The apologies came long before the forgiveness. On both sides. And I had to really assess where I was. Where we were. Do I think my husband loves me? Absolutely. Does he adore me and want to be with me? Without any shadow of a doubt. Could he say the same about me? 

This is “for real life” as our daughter Grace calls it. And mistakes are made in for real life. 

So after this fight. And after we had talked for days. And tears were shed. And we prayed together I realized something I had been taking for granted. Something I feel like we all take for granted every single day. Something that is crucial to marriage. It’s not the big things. It’s the little ones. 

We forget to watch for those when we are busy living, but in order to keep our marriages, our relationships, our love alive we have to remember it is a living part of our story thing. And we have to care for living things. 

My love, he does the little things. 

He will always get coffee ready the night before for me. 

He brings me a Diet Dr. Pepper every Friday afternoon. 

He scrapes my car off when there’s ice. 

He always carries my bags. 

He always gives me the best seat on the couch or at the table. 

He does the dinner dishes every night when he’s home. 

He brought me a coffee yesterday at work because I had a sore throat. 

He never complains when I work out, or spend time with friends…or that we are having tacos again. 

He kisses me goodnight and tells me he loves me everyday. 

He always lets me receive the Eucharist first at Mass. 

For a while…a long time…I forgot to look for the little things. Instead I focused on all the big stuff that never amounts up to the daily actions of the little stuff. Our lives became a checklist of debts to clear, kids to raise, schedules to organize. But busy work doesn’t get the important stuff done.  

That’s the stuff that keeps things alive. 

Especially when we are living marriage on Gods terms. Because I can’t or won’t say, the things that steal and kill good marriages will ever go away, but the little things keep us constantly moving towards each other. Feeding a marriage that we want to work. Loving someone else more than my pride, sacrificing for our marriage. That means being honoring in my speech and actions. Because he’s worthy of my whole heart. 

On those days I didn’t remember to give my marriage to God, I gave myself to a million different things that with enough time could have been the destruction of a family. My family. 

Those things. They aren’t worth it. 

So I give my marriage to God. Every day. And I notice the little things. They matter.  I will never be an expert on it, but I trust the One who breathes life into our marriage. 

I give Him our Love. 

I give our Joys. 

And I give Him our Sorrows. 

Especially on the days I ask Why. Or I forget Why. Because it’s hard and real, and messy. And a beautiful living part of our beautiful love story. 

For Real Life? 

For Real Life.