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15 Lessons from 15 Years of Marriage

Looking back to our wedding, 15 years ago today, I’m more in awe than ever at God’s merciful hand in leading me to a beautiful and godly woman. Honestly, I was head over heals in love and had little clue what marriage meant for me, all I knew was that I just wanted to get married to this one pretty Ukrainian girl really, really badly.

Christina and I on our wedding day, June 14th 1997

I wouldn’t say we’ve ever had a bad marriage, but we’re both born sinners in desperate need of change. Thankfully, God has changed us both a lot over the past 15 years. I thought this would be an appropriate time to share some of the lessons God has taught me through marriage to a truly wonderful woman.

Enjoying some time together in the Carpathian mountains

I decided to keep the list down to 15, one for each year of our marriage!

1. Marriage is probably the greatest tool beside the Bible that pushes me towards godliness.

2. My wife is way smarter than me in many areas of life and I have no problem with that.

3. Forgiveness must be a way of life because neither of us are perfect!

4. It’s just as important, and sometimes as difficult, to learn to forgive as it is to learn how to accept forgiveness.

5. A hurtful word can never be completely taken back.

6. I always try to tell my wife I’ll be home an hour later than I think and if I’m lucky I make it home 10 minutes before I told her I’d be home.

7. I need to pray with my wife and pray for my wife every day.

8. I simply cannot lead my wife spiritually if I am not growing spiritually myself.

9. Communication skills are overrated, all problems in marriage stem from sinful heart and need to be treated on a heart level first!

10. When I find myself wishing my wife was more like myself I just stop for a minute and imagine how awful it would be to be married to myself!

11. It’s my job to look after the physical and spiritual well-being of my wife and I can’t delegate it to anyone else.

12. My success in almost every aspect can be directly attributed to my wife!

13. Only God himself knows me better than my wife, so if she has some criticism for me, I better listen!

14. The job of a mother of five and homeschooler of four is never ever done! She needs my help at home.

15. Outside of my relationship with God my relationship with my wife will always be the primary relationship. I need to be her best friend, her partner and her lover and I must fight vigorously to keep it that way!

I am still learning! I hope that God gives me many more years to learn many more lessons.

So, what did I miss? Is there anything you would add to my list? Let me know in the comments below.

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I am a pastor, missionary, and preacher of the Gospel of Jesus Christ in Ukraine since 2007. God blessed me with a wonderful wife and 5 amazing children! My greatest passion is to teach, encourage, and exhort others to turn to Jesus, who is Savior, Lord, and God!

  • Great post; thank you!
    I can’t think of anything else to add.

    • Caleb & Christina. I’m sorry I missed this post the other day. It’s quite lovely, Caleb. Thank you for sharing. If I can be honestly frank; we can all learn and apply Godly ways and improve more. Happy 15th Wedding Anniversary!

      • Your right Kimberly, it’s a process we must continually be working on.

    • Give me a few more years and I’m sure I’ll have some more lessons to add!

  • Cindy Palm

    Caleb, I really liked this and I am going to save it in my files. You never know when stuff like this will come in handy. I have to agree to everything you stated. I liked #15-yes, we constantly have to battle to keep God first and then our partners next. It is so totally worth it. I am amazed at how much I love being with JIm and miss him when he is not around. We will be celebrating 28 years this August. God bless you and all you and Christina are doing to further the gospel of Christ!! Love you, Cindy

    • Thanks Cindy! You’re right we do need to keep that perspective of God first. I am glad that God has given you guys 28 years together, you’re a great example! Give Jim my greetings.

  • Briana C.

    Wonderful lessons, thanks for sharing! I especially agree with #10. It would be quite tragic if my husband was just like me, no matter how perfect I (falsely) see myself at times. Happy anniversary to you and Christina!! May God bless you with many more years to grow together in Him.

    • Briana, it is true that sometimes we want our spouse to be more like ourselves, but what we should really want for them and for us it to be more like Christ!

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  • Julie Mattern


    This great! Phil does all these things, for which I’m very grateful. I believe we both have done the most growing spiritually and otherwise since we’ve been married. October 12 2012 will be our 10th anniversary.

    Phil and I often refer to one another as “My Dearest Friend” ever since we saw a PBS special on the Revolutionary War. In the production, characters pretending to be John and Abigail Adams recited the letters they had written to one another; we noticed that their letters always began with “My Dearest Friend”. And we thought, “Gee, that’s nice; maybe we should do that!”

    I don’t think communication skills are overrated. How else are each of us supposed to know what the other is thinking unless it’s verbally expressed? Phil and I do a great deal of conversing on many different topics!
    I appreciate Phil’s knowledge on a variety of subjects, and like having him share his opinions. We often don’t agree on things, but at least I’m learning to hear someone out and at least consider another viewpoint.

    • Julie, I agree, communication skills are important but there is also a lot more to marriage than simply communicating. That’s why I said it’s really a heart issue. I believe that if we put the priority on having a humble and loving heart towards our spouse that the communication will eventually come almost in a natural way.

      Blessings to you and Phil! How many years is it for your guys now?