Tuesday, September 13, 2011

keep love alive v. 1

photo credit

I am so excited to start this new series called Keep Love Alive!  I have asked a few of my friends to share their love stories and their secrets on how they keep their marriages alive.  I know in the past 9 years of being married there been those dry spells that aren't always the easiest....I hope that these posts will encourage you and help you to be intentional about your relationship with your spouse.

Today we have Stephanie, one of my oldest friends and most favorite people in the world.  Michael and I have always admired she and Scott's relationship and love them dearly. 

 Once upon a time…….oh wait, this is too fairy tale-ish…….
Years ago (seriously I am feeling old while typing this!!), when I was 17 years old, I was a senior in high school, thinking I knew EVERYTHING there is to know about life in general, I met the man (well, then he was a boy!) of my dreams.  It’s funny to say that phrase now, but I really did know, even then, that there was something about Scott Hathorn that I LOVED.  We were introduced by friends, and went on a blind-double date to see a play at the local theater, New Stage Theater, in Jackson.  I remember being amazed that he was so mature, he was 2 years younger than me mind you, and I remember the way he smelled!  His hair was gelled to perfection, his sweater had a giant red plus on the front, his jeans were a teensy bit wide-legged, and his smile melted my heart.  
Our conversation was minimal, and I remember kissing him hurriedly as he walked me to my door late that night—he still says I attacked him with the kiss and I admit it was because I was scared that that would be the last time we would see each other!  He called me within a few days, we continued to hang out and go on dates, we saw movies, acted silly, spent every possible minute we could TOGETHER—I think this drove him crazy now and then, but I loved it!   Two months after our first date, he asked me to be his “girlfriend”.  Six years later he asked me to marry him….I said yes, OF COURSE!
He was 2 years younger than me, but seemed so tremendously wise, still a trait I love about him! He loved Jesus intensely—and still does!  He respected me, didn’t try to kiss me too quickly (actually not until a few months into our relationship!)  He sought God’s will for his life—and He is still working towards this daily!  Have I mentioned that he RESPECTED me and completely loved me—everything about me—and still manages to accomplish this most difficult task daily!  He was and still is my beloved.
Don’t get me wrong, life hasn’t been peachy EVERYDAY OF OUR LIVES!  He has so gracefully put up with my neuroticism, my unmet needs for love and attention, my performance drive (even within our relationship), my NEED to be looked in the eyes when having conversation, my desire to talk things out and my inability to let things go, my motor mouth, my down-right-sinfulness and brokenness….man, he has put up with me loved me so gracefully.  


As years have passed and life has ticked on, we have made it through trials—anxiety, our brokenness, buying a house, starting a family (our sweet Natalie), crazy jobs, crazy ministry jobs, changing jobs, being broke , Grad school …this list could go on!  In the midst, we have lost ourselves time and time again, but have managed to hold each other up.  Over the past year, our relationship has seen more growth than we ever imagined we could/would see.  It seems that when God places us in difficult and trying circumstances, we learn quite a bit about ourselves and our spouses—Me + Graduate School, limited funds, lack of a full-time job for me, very little time together throughout the week, Scott being Daddy and Mommy at times, etc…
Here are a few things we have learned—a few things that keep our relationship grounded:
    •    “Stuff” and MONEY don’t matter—relationships do…
    •    Living on nothing = living more fully… (but definitely more trying!)
    •    A marriage is hard because you have to literally sacrifice your own selfish desires and needs daily—no , moment to moment…
    •    Give equal regard to one another—find the understandable part of the other’s point in EVERY argument or conflict…
    •    Exercise GRACE and EMPATHY for your spouse—while not to be used as an excuse, we must remember that we are all broken and fallen, and our spouses need the same GRACE that God has offered each of us…
    •    Listen…a gift that keeps on giving!
    •    Love as Christ loves the church…
    •    Don’t keep records of wrong—we ALL need forgiveness, specifically in our marriages!
    •    Don’t neglect your alone time together—find ways to be together—BE INTENTIONAL!
    •    Don’t neglect your intimacy—(you get my point!)  
I love you Scott!  I am thrilled that we will shortly be celebrating 7 years of marriage together—13 years of just being together period! We have grown up together, we have seen the world together—well parts of it! You know me best!  You love me, you love Natalie, you love Christ…you lead our family in ways that make me proud.
 I love who you are, I love your ins and outs, I will love you until Jesus takes us home….life with you is sweet.  Thank you for loving me unconditionally!