The Rumley Family

Loving Jesus, Loving Life

Tag: anniversary (page 1 of 2)

Eleven.

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It didn’t start out easy. It’s still not easy all the time.

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In the beginning, we were young. I was selfish and immature. SO selfish. Our arguments were emotional, at least on my end. And when he didn’t react with emotion (Mr. Steady over there), it made me even more mad. There were tears.

When we found out we were pregnant the first time, 2 months after the wedding, we were terrified. And thrilled. A tiny miracle, so quickly after we said our vows.

“Grace Elizabeth” means “undeserved gift from God.” And while that is certainly true of any sweet baby, I realize that God gave us a sweet gift that November a decade ago when he gifted us – practically kids ourselves – with our 9lb 12oz baby girl.

I was newly 22, not even married 11 months. And I was now a mama.

It was NOT the plan.

We were to get married; I was going to finish college. I was going to teach for a couple of years. AND THEN we were going to start our family, and I would be a stay-at-home mom.

Instead, God knew that if I continued in my immature, selfish ways, I would most likely destroy myself and our marriage. Having a baby and learning how to parent with Luke was one huge factor in teaching me the meaning of selflessness and sacrifice. It grew me up.

What a gift from the all-knowing God, rescuing me from my sin!

It is not always easy, this marriage thing.

When we argued, we had to swallow our pride and face each other. We didn’t (and still don’t) go to sleep with unresolved issues in our relationship. We forced ourselves to have physical contact when we were arguing, even when the last thing I wanted to do was have contact with that man. There’s just something about touch that dissolves anger.

We prayed together. Every day.

We committed to read God’s Word regularly.

We had to slowly, patiently learn a rhythm of life together.

We both had to grow in maturity and (more importantly) Christlikeness.

It takes work.

I had to learn to be a submissive wife, as God’s Word calls me to be. I had to learn to hold my tongue sometimes, and use it to encourage and build up my husband more. I realized that my job is to help Luke to become the man that God means for him to be, and I’ve had to grow into that role.

A good, strong marriage takes work.

And it’s undeniably worth it.

Because here we are, 11 years later, and I feel like we just haven’t had enough time together. Like we’re just beginning this crazy life together.

Sure, there are days that I want to smack him. (That’s my sin nature, of course.)

But over all, it just keeps getting better and better with time.

Because we work at it. Because we’re committed. Because we know that it is ultimately worth it.

Those vows we took on December 20, 2003? They hang above our bed, giving us a reminder of what we promised each other, and even more importantly, what we promised God.

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I’m praising that awesome God today for His goodness in giving me the gift of marriage – a sanctifying, electrifying, life-changing blessing.

I’m praising God today for giving me Luke – a man after His own heart, hardworking, intelligent, hilarious, sweet, and who loves God, the church, and his family well. I am a blessed woman.

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This marriage thing is so worth it.

Celebrating 10 Years: Mexico

Luke and I celebrated our 10th anniversary in December. I know people say it all the time, but seriously, it goes by SO FAST.

Wasn’t it just yesterday that it was the night before our wedding and I was painting my toe nails that beautiful dark red and crying because no matter where I looked, I couldn’t find my undergarments for the next day?

And now I’m here, sitting in my warm house at my Steelcase desk (12 years of hubby working at Steelcase will do that to your office), while one son plays Legos, the other colors sweetly at the table, and two daughters are lying on the couches reading books.

It might sound blase to you, but to me…this is the stuff I always wished for. God has fulfilled my dreams!

And at the top of the list of fulfilled dreams is a godly man to lead our family.

That Godly Man and I were able to celebrate our decade together by flying off to Mexico, sans children. (Thanks, Mom and Dad Liabenow, for taking care of them for us!)

It was a beautiful, relaxing week.

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We stayed at the Ocean Maya Royale in Playa del Carmen. Isn’t it beautiful?

Actually, when we first arrived, we sat down in this beautiful little area, and after enjoying it for about 15 minutes, we were very nicely told that it was for Privileged guests only. Hahahaheeheeheehohoho. Not sure why it makes me giggle, but at least we enjoyed it for a few minutes before we were kicked out to the peasants’ beach.

Thankfully, the peasants’ beach was still beautiful and had those canopy beds and chairs. But it was much more crowded, difficult to find a spot to land, and didn’t come with a waitress to serve us our favorite beverages. Eh, you get what you pay for, I guess!

So, speaking of beverages, Luke and I are not drinkers. And all-inclusive resorts tend to be popular with the drinking crowd, since there’s free-flowing alcohol.

BUT this resort had a GREAT alternative for us: a smoothie bar. Mmmmmmmmm. They had various fruits and veggies, and we could either choose a recipe from their list or tell them which fruits/veggies to put in. Our favorite ended up being the Conga – orange, pineapple, apple, watermelon, papaya, and strawberry.

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One of my favorite parts of the trip besides the oh-so-tasty Conga was the water sports. We swam in the pools and ocean, of course, but even more enjoyable was the kayaking.

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We also tried snorkeling near the hotel, but the ocean had been too stirred up that week by weather changes. So, we paid a fee to be taken on a boat out to a coral reef for some snorkeling. It was worth the money, definitely a highlight of the trip.

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We spent three nights at this hotel, and then we were given the opportunity to transfer to the Ocean chain’s “newest hotel” in Puerto Morales. We took them up on it, and found out that what they meant was “most newly acquired hotel.” It was NOT new by any stretch of the imagination. But for the most part it was still nice(ish) – just much different in layout and feel of the resort.

The water was too choppy for kayaking at this resort, but were still able to play tennis, which we had done a couple times at the first one. We pretty much stink at it, but it was fun to play together.

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We also enjoyed a romantic dinner by the pool in honor of our anniversary.

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And the last morning we were there, before we had to head to the airport, we were able to have breakfast delivered to our room, and we ate overlooking a beautiful ocean scene.

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In all, it was a very refreshing, relaxing trip. It was good for us to break away from the demands of every day to just relax together, have fun together, and spend some time focusing on our relationship. I sure am thankful that God gave me this man, and I’m looking forward to the next 10 years together…and the vacation that will follow! 😉

Book Review: 10 Great Dates

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It’s always a good thing to ask your spouse specific questions in a posture of humility and love. It’s a good thing to work on building up your relationship. It’s a good thing to spend time together, building into one another and learning how to make the other person feel loved.

Luke and I have always been passionate about striving to have a healthy marriage, and encouraging others to work toward that end as well. Ten years ago, we vowed to love and serve one another, with God as the head of our household, and sometimes it’s a lot of work. But let me tell you, a decade down the road, every ounce of effort has been worth it. We will never look back and regret time spent to strengthen the bonds between us.

And that’s why I chose to review this book. Because I’m always on the lookout for fun, creative ways to build up our relationship. So, let me tell you what I found…

When I began reading 10 Great Dates: Connecting Faith, Love, and Marriage by Peter & Heather Larson and David & Claudia Arp, I had a hard time connecting to the authors. Honestly? I have read other marriage books, and none of this stuff was really new to me.

It also made a big difference that Luke and I are extremely compatible in the spiritual category of life. In fact, in our pre-marriage counseling, that’s the one category where we were 100% compatible. And that makes a HUGE (let me repeat….HUUUUUUUUGE) difference in our marriage.

I would definitely tell someone who is hoping to get married that it’s important to enjoy the other person, to have fun together, to laugh together…But the BIGGEST advice I’d give is to be sure that their spiritual views are very similar to, or the same as, yours. Our spiritual views shape our entire worldview, and that determines how we make decisions (big and small) in life. I’m telling you, this is HUGE.

So, back on track…The authors didn’t have quite the same experience and spent the beginning of the book talking about how they had trouble connecting spiritually as couples. Honestly? As much as I enjoy reading other couples’ relationship anecdotes, I felt like maybe this book was a waste of time. Not because we’re even close to perfect, but for once, this is an area where we’re doing okay. We haven’t always done things the right way, but over the years we have made it a habit to pray together daily, to read the Bible together daily, and to be very involved with our local church body. Those things have made a huge impact on our spiritual intimacy.

I think that if I had gotten this book out of the library, I might have just stopped reading at the introduction and taken it back. After all, if the section where the authors are trying to sell the book to me isn’t working, why bother? But really, the book did end up having some good, quality relationship advice / probing questions to help a developing relationship. So, whether you’ve been married 1 month, a year, or a decade, it might be worth a looksee.

The book has 10 chapters, and each chapter is formatted the same way:
-It begins with the bulk of the lesson, including relationship stories and the main point of the chapter. This is the part where you’ll really take away what you want to learn. I liked this section, but it was a little confusing having two couples narrate, since they went back and forth with their experiences.
-Then comes a section about preparing for your date, including a chapter summary (which Luke thought was helpful, since [let’s be honest here] he wouldn’t be inclined to read the whole chapter himself).
-Last in the chapter is a Post-Date Spiritual Discovery section, where you can spend about 15 minutes doing a couple’s devotional with your spouse, related to what you read in the chapter and discussed on your date.
-One of the most important parts of each chapter is actually located in the back of the book: two copies of a tear-out page with questions for each spouse to answer individually, then bring to your date and discuss.

Some sample questions:
-Describe the religious atmosphere in your home growing up.
-What has been your experience reading the Bible?
-What major storms have you faced in your life and marriage?

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So, in leiu of going on 10 dates with Luke before posting this review, I took the book to Mexico for our 10-year anniversary celebration. We spent some time looking through it and answering questions together. Not exactly the way the authors intended, but it gave us an idea of the book’s effect.

A vast majority of the questions were things we have already discussed, for instance, “Was a belief in God important in your family?” Because Christ is so much the center of our relationship, of course we had already discussed these basics.

However, I will say that it was quality time spent together with this book, lying on the beach in Mexico. Even if we knew most of each other’s answers, it was good to hear each other out and talk about our relationship.

My take-away from the experience was not a huge revelation. Rather, we will keep plugging away, serving Christ together and building up our relationship in every way we can.

Because it is so worth it.

{A note – another reviewer on Amazon said that this should be called “10 Great Discussions,” and I would second that. I was expecting actual date ideas (places to go, things to do), but this book solely focused on the discussion portion of the date. Be forewarned.}

{Disclaimer: Bethany House publishers provided me with a free copy of this book in exchange for a review. No positive comments were required. All opinions are my own.}

A Decade Later

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I saw you the first day of college – August 26, 2000. You were doing improv comedy for us incoming freshmen. I’ve always liked people who can make me laugh.

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We spent that first year getting to know each other, being great friends. You flirted with me (and I reciprocated, of course), but you swear that you never did.

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And then, that next summer, I was done waiting. You were four hours away, and we talked mostly on Instant Messenger (remember that? ha!). We had a hard “conversation” where I told you that you were obviously not “the one,” since I was the only one interested in a relationship.

You disagreed.

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You drove the four hours to my house and asked me to date you. Of course I said yes. It was official on July 15, 2001.

That period of waiting was good for both of us. We started our relationship with a very healthy focus on God.

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We had a fun couple of years of dating.

And then you took me on a Surprise Date (canoeing on the Muskegon River, complete with a riverside picnic) and asked me the all-important question.

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That was June 28, 2003. We didn’t want to have a long engagement, so we set The Date for December 20, 2003.

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Three days after my finals were done, in the middle of my senior year.

It was a beautiful, snowy day in Cadillac when we vowed to love and cherish each other until one of us kicks the bucket.

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The perk of a snowy winter wedding is that the tropical honeymoon feels that much more tropical.

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God blessed us with the conception of our first little munchkin a whopping 8 weeks after the wedding. Wowsers.

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And in a whirlwind decade, we’ve had four kids in a span of 4-1/2 years…

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…built a house, sold a house…

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…bought another house, spent countless hours at FHBC, and had a slew of amazing, everyday, fun, hard, wonderful, awful, lovely memories.

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Only God gets the glory for the way He has worked in our individual lives, in our marriage, and in our family to bring glory to Himself. I pray that He continues to work away for many, many more years.

I love you, Luke. Happy 10th anniversary! Thank you for making me a very happy, blessed wife and mother. I’m always yours.

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Nine Years, and a Million Moments

We were so young back then. Or, at least, it seems like we were young now that we’re in our [gasp!] thirties. We were so full of excitement at what was to come, anticipation for our future, joy for the love God gave us. We hoped for so much, and yet we had no idea how good it could be.

I remember lots of raw emotions the first year. Some fighting and crying, lots of laughing, some terror at the prospect of becoming parents so quickly. Cooking mac n cheese, corn dogs, spaghetti. Watching the Simpsons and Wheel of Fortune on the couch after dinner in our tiny 1-bedroom apartment.

Now I look back and can see the way God used our marriage and our children and the details of our lives to shape us into who He wants us to be. He’s using each other and our babies to refine us. And to bless us.

Every day we have a choice to love each other and our kids, or not. Every day we face the decision of how we will live: by the Spirit, in love and truth, or for ourselves.

I’m praising God today that every single day of our marriage you have chosen me. You have chosen to keep your eyes off other women and on me. You have chosen to read your Bible, pray, and study so that you can be a great leader of our home. Every single day – even when I’m grouchy and tired and wear oversized tshirts and sweats to bed – you choose to show Christ’s love to me. Your love challenges me to be a more Christlike woman.

It’s been the best 9 years of my life.

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