Husband & Wife: Comrades, Not Only Lovers

Husband and Wife: Comrades, Not Only Lovers

I sat across from my friend as she rocked her fourth child, a baby girl. The previous three were boys and they ran wild around us as we talked about life, family, and specifically, marriage. She laughed at herself as she thought back to her initial expectations for marriage. I used to think he’d bring home flowers on a regular basis, she said, referring to her husband. But after getting pregnant on their honeymoon, their first year of marriage looked entirely different than either of them expected.

As she shared her own experience, I honestly couldn’t remember what I expected when I got married. I was not the kind of girl that grew up dreaming of my wedding day. I never really thought much about marriage either. But, when I met a handsome Ukrainian named Vitaliy all of that changed. As I planned for my future, I knew I wanted it to include him. Forever. And I didn’t mind if forever started right then and there.

Though talks about marriage began, we soon learned one of the hardest and most valuable lessons of our lives: plans and expectations do not always turn out as we envision them. But, with perseverance and grace, you can pick up the pieces and make something beautiful from the mess.

The reality is that Vitaliy and I started our marriage in a less than ideal situation. A year before we got married his entire family was in a car accident in Ukraine. His mother, father, and younger brother died in the accident, but his two younger sisters survived. The only thing that looked remotely familiar when we got married were the two of us, but even we weren’t the same anymore. We were living in a new part of the country, surrounded by new faces and places, filled with grief, and trying to manage our new roles as husband and wife, along with becoming guardians of Vitaliy’s 16 year old sister. While most couples are soaring in a state of honeymoon bliss, we were deep in the midst of the grieving process and, quite honestly, operating in survival mode. Not only were we grieving the loss of Vitalily’s family, but we were also grieving the loss of the life and future we had envisioned for ourselves.

I understand that my story may not look exactly like yours. And no marriage is the same as the next. I simply hope to ease the hearts of those who may be feeling overwhelmed that marriage has not turned out to be what they expected. You’re not alone. I promise. And there really is hope. Remember, you can make something beautiful regardless of the mess you or life have made of things.

And I know this because we not only survived, but our marriage thrived and has become something beautiful itself. Randy Alcorn paints a unique picture of marriage. The following thought completely changed the way I approached marriage and has helped me keep my expectations in perspective.

Husband and wife must be more than just lovers. They must be comrades, soldiers fighting side by side for the same great cause. They should not only lie down face-to-face, but also stand shoulder to shoulder.

The truth is that my friend’s husband does bring her home flowers just not as often as she originally imagined. Because remember, they are lovers. But the daily grind of managing everyday life will often result in them needing to be comrades – defending, serving, and sacrificing for each other. It’s not easy, but done with perseverance and grace, and you’ll find yourself building something beautiful together, one day at a time.

Originally written for the beautiful Cottage Hill Magazine.

Our Little Marriage Tip


If you have been reading along for awhile now, you know that our marriage started during very difficult circumstances.

We were navigating through some of life’s hardest challenges (i.e. death, a big move, parenting, etc) all at once. Long, difficult conversations were necessary and they occurred regularly. It was the only way we were able to stay connected and continue fighting together against the odds. But a pattern began to emerge and thankfully Vitaliy caught it early on.

We started noticing that whenever we had serious conversations late in the evening, they usually didn’t end well and progress wasn’t made. It’s hard to think clearly or argue well when you’re tired. So, Vitaliy suggested we implement a new rule for our marriage:

No serious conversations after 9pm.

At first, I hated this rule. Vitaliy would throw it out in the middle of a conversation, when he could sense where things were headed, and it infuriated me. How could he stay so calm? How could he go to bed without resolving this? But we kept the rule and I slowly began to see the pattern I wasn’t able to see earlier.

And now, almost 10 years into our marriage, I have a feeling this rule has saved us many times from unnecessary fights or hurting each other with our words. It’s not about avoiding the difficult conversations or just “letting it go”, it’s about holding off until we’re both able to invest our very best into the conversation.

So, that’s it, our little marriage tip, no serious discussions after 9pm. It will prevent a world of miscommunication and unnecessary arguments.

What about you…any little marriage tips or rules you and your spouse follow that you swear by? Leave me a note!

Photo from 2010

I Love To Clean

Where you and i fell in love

Or it could be said better, I clean to love. Yesterday I loved my husband by cleaning the house.

He’s been gone the last week and came home last night and I wanted him to come back to a clean home. I know from previous experiences and through communication that he feels loved when I clean.

But your spouse may not be the same. He may feel loved when you say something nice to him. Or she may feel loved when you cook a hot meal for her.

I will never forget hearing a woman speak who learned after many, many years of marriage that her husband could have cared less to have a home-cooked meal every night. But she slaved away in the kitchen night after night, sometimes even bitter about it, because she assumed it was what he wanted. He one day shared that he would have been just as happy with take-out every night if it would have made her happier and less stressed. But they had never talked about it!

Communication is key. Have the conversation. Find out what really matters to each other. Express how you feel most loved.

The truth is we both clean the house. But if I’m looking for a special way to say “I love you” without actually saying it, I get to cleaning. And he feels loved.

Photo: Today is the day Vitaliy proposed to me 10 years ago. He flew through Chicago (the city where we met, fell in love and got engaged) yesterday and sent me this photo. He always has been a romantic and it’s one of the things I love most about him. No shame in his game!