at the Water's Edge

Living life and learning all I can along the way!

As Iron Sharpens Iron: 10 Years of Shaping a Life Together


June 16, 2017 marks our ten year wedding anniversary. Crazy. A whole decade of life, lived together. It hasn't always been easy, but it has always been worth it. There is something about two imperfect people coming together and committing the rest of their lives to one another that is at once beautiful and a recipe for disaster and conflict. It's a romantic thought: spending the rest of your days together. But the reality is that two people trying to merge their lives together is difficult. I I've been a conflict avoider my whole life, and so has Tom. So, it's not surprising that we brought those patterns into our marriage. Avoiding conflict may make for the sort of relationship that looks great on the outside, but it means we aren't dealing the inevitable differences, disappointments or failures. Over the years, we have learned the hard way that not having those conversations that *gasp* might lead to conflict, may only create greater issues down the road. Having the hard and uncomfortable conversations is what allows two lives to merge into one and creates the path for open communication so that we can truly do life together. Quality conversation, and yes, even conflict, can help each of us to become better people.

I want this to be a picture of our marriage. We rub off on one another, and, even when we clash, if we are constructive in our conversations, we can help shape one another into better people. I am a better person for having met Tom and for having lived with him for the past 10 years. Learning to see things from his perspective and to understand another's point of view has helped me to be more open-minded, accepting and supportive of other people -- even in disagreements. Our commitment to working through any challenges that come our way means that we've learned better communication skills that can also serve to deepen friendships, strengthen family relationships and even add value to our professional roles.

I see our marriage as an ongoing process of learning how to do life together and learning how to do it well. I had a conversation with a younger, unmarried friend recently who made a comment about finding a way to keep a marriage the way it is at the beginning. I understand what she meant -- keeping that romance alive, which is important. But, I told her that, actually, I didn't wish that we could remain in that first year of marriage. Not that it was bad -- some people claim the first year of marriage is the hardest, but that wasn't true for us. However, we were still young and in many ways immature and even naive about what it takes to build and maintain a good marriage. I don't want to be stuck in that first year, because we have grown and matured so much since then. Instead of capturing that feeling of a new marriage, my goal is to continue to build a better and stronger marriage, so that each year is better than the last. I'm so grateful for the lessons that we've learned and for the love that we've allowed to grow and deepen over the years.

We have been blessed to have a lot of really wonderful times in the past decade, with lots of fun shared together. God has also been faithful in bringing us through the challenging times and helping us to use those challenges as opportunities to deepen our relationship and grow in our character and love for one another.  Whatever life may bring, I am grateful to have Tom by my side, through it all. There's no one else I'd rather share the adventure of life with, and I hope for many wonderful decades of marriage yet to come!

Happy Anniversary!

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Hi there! My name is Dana and I live in West Michigan with my husband, Tom and our dog Copernicus. I created this space as a place to share the things I learn along this journey I call life. I work in marketing and I'm a sort of Jane of All Trades, interested in all things nature, gardening, cooking, exploring and learning new things. This blog is a conglomeration of my interests, hobbies, life and life lessons. Thanks for stopping by!