North Jefferson News, Gardendale, AL

January 9, 2014

Danielle Cater: One year down, rest of my life to go

Danielle Cater: One year down, rest of my life to go

By Danielle Cater
North Jefferson News

NORTH JEFFERSON — Dec. 29, 2013 has come and gone, and for many people it held no lasting significance. But for me, it marked the first anniversary of marriage to my amazing husband.

By marrying Chuck, I not only married a truly wonderful man, I also got two more beautiful daughters to go along with the two God had already given me. If we look at a wider scope of this blessed union, I also married into a precious family that’s full of love and happy to welcome three more family members into their flock.

I always heard that when you marry a man, you marry his momma too, but in this case, I got a triple blessing: his momma and his two little girls. Yes, you read that right, I absolutely love my mother-in-law (or mother-in-love as she puts it). We are 12 months into this thing and I could not be happier with the family that God has blessed me with, from the husband, to the kids to the in-laws and extended family.

You may be saying to yourself, “Yep, she’s still in the honeymoon phase.” I hope you’re right. I hope I always stay in a honeymoon phase with my husband and family.

Neither one of us is new to this marriage thing. We know that there will be rough times. (We’ve already faced a few.) There will be moments when we don’t like our circumstance and we may not even like each other or our attitudes at times... but we have some things that are going to help pull us through those times.

The first weapon we have to fight for our marriage is Christ. We are a Christ-centered home and we know that through our crazy story of love, God is the One who actually brought us together and when God joins two people together, you can’t separate them. We do couples devotions every day and pray as a family. We pray over our baby girls every night and we know that without God we wouldn’t stand a chance at this love thing. He is love.

Our second weapon of warfare is good old-fashioned determination. We’ve both been through divorce and we know what that means for ourselves and our children, and we will never let that happen to our family again. We never make that an option because we know that is just an open door waiting for the weaker person to walk through. We made a vow to each other in front of our God and our family and we will honor that vow with everything that is in us.

Oh yes, I know there will be mornings when he rolls over and looks at me and thinks, “What in the world have I done! This is what I have to put up with for the rest of my life.” And some day I may feel the same, but it’s so much more than our feelings.

Marriage has to be more than just a whim. You won’t feel the same from day to day. Marriage has to be a commitment. It’s a covenant bond that you’ve made with your spouse that is suppose to last your whole lives through.

One other weapon we have fighting in our corner is our families. We are truly blessed to have parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins who are rooting for us. They’ve all seen us go through hard times and they see the joy that we bring to each other’s lives, and they are 100 percent in our corner for this marriage to last a lifetime. When your family supports your relationship with your spouse, it can make a big difference in your home. You learned how to be a husband from your daddy and she learned how to be a wife from her momma. We learned how to be a family from them and they should be supportive to help us make our own families grow and flourish. If I even tried to gripe about Chuck to my momma, I can guarantee she would take his side every time, because she knows the importance of unity in the home and she would push us to unite on whatever issue may come up.

Our marriages don’t just effect us, they effect everyone around us. Our friends look to see how our marriages are coming along. Our parents find peace or troubled hearts depending on our marriages. And our babies are certainly paying attention to our marriages. If you are the best momma in the world, but you are an awful wife, then you have still failed your children. That works for you fathers too. Your babies learn how to be wives and husbands by watching you with your spouse.

Our girls know beyond a shadow of a doubt that daddy and mommy love each other and we will always have each other’s backs. They know that he is my Prince Charming and I am his Princess (They are 5 and 6, so this analogy works quite well in our family.)

So as I celebrate our first anniversary, I want to encourage our married readers to look over your own lives and see what weapons you are using in your marriage. Don’t stop trying to win your spouse. Don’t take for granted that they know you love them. Pour into your marriage and watch it bloom. It’s not always easy to be married, but make a real effort to be a blessing to your spouse and see if that doesn’t make your marriage (and your life) so much better.

You are going to fail at this marriage thing sometimes. You’re going to be carried by your spouse at times and at times, they are going to be carried by you. But if both partners are always giving 100 percent to make the marriage work, then you’re building a really great foundation for a life-long marriage. I can’t wait for the next 90 years of my life with this amazing man by my side. He makes my life so much better just by being there. Isn’t that what a good spouse does?