Intentionally Ever After

Long, long ago in a valley far away a girl married a boy.  They had a beautiful wedding, drove off into the sunset to a magical honeymoon and lived happily ever after.


25 years ago TODAY in a Minnesota town not so far away a girl married a boy. They had a beautiful and meaningful wedding, drove off the next day after brunch to a honeymoon where the girl puked 92% of it with the flu.....
and lived intentionally ever after


Marriage is the most fantastic, challenging, encouraging, demanding, loving, troublesome, amazing, tough, magnificently worthwhile long distant event...ever. My husband and I have endured the good and the bad for 25 years and have our hopes set on at least 50 more!  But marriage is not a fairy tale like the first statement above.  It is a real life tale that needs to be lived intentionally or it won't go the distance.  

I can {with 100% certainty} say that when Craig came to the little blue house on Stanton Ave, in campus town at Iowa State University, on a Tuesday and sat on my bed with me and presented me with a little handmade coupon book where the last page said "Good for a life as my wife. Will you marry me?", that I was thinking fairy tale.  I was amazed at how pretty the ring was and started dreaming of my wedding dress within minutes of screaming "YES!!".  Oh no worries, I for sure knew what the commitment of marriage meant and understood what I was agreeing to.  I had seen my parents, grandparents, Craig's parents and grandparents model it for me very well!  But I was in happily ever after mode.


This is us on our first anniversary, in Ames, IA while attending Iowa State.  We were 19 and 20 years old.  SO YOUNG!  Oh, for the LOVE! 



Somewhere in the year or so after that, when Craig left for Pensacola for Naval Aviation Training and we were apart for almost a year, I changed from existing in Fairy Taleville to Real Life Taleville.  The wedding ceremony became more about what we were promising and our covenant we were making with God than the dress and the flowers.  The honeymoon became more about something that was affordable and practical for and Ensign's salary than a tropical island vacation that would put a young couple in debt.  And our marriage became more about being intentional in our love, forgiveness and grace that would be needed if we wanted to hang out together for the long haul than a cutesy image of an always happy, perfect couple.   

This marriage stuff is NOT FOR WIMPS!  It is hard.  We can annoy the crud out of each other.  We are two VERY imperfect people who have, at time, not been kind to each other.  This is work.  This takes effort.  This takes endurance... patience... humility... and more.  BUT.... this. is. worth. it.  BEST decision we ever made was to love each other. 

With God's help we have loved each other intentionally on the good and bad days.
And we are grateful.  

Today, in a town that is home, a woman celebrates a marriage with a man.   They have had 25 years of love and grace, will drive to the east coast in a few weeks with their children for the first true "just us" family vacation in 10 years, and live intentionally ever after.


That is my kind of real life tale. 



June 24, 2014 — Sarah Stevens



Maureen said:

You are such a gifted writer Sarah! What a loving tribute to Craig, and your marriage. God bless you both in all your years ahead of you! You have been a loving example of marriage and Christ as center of your marriage to all of us around you.
Have a wonderful trip with your family. Cherish these times. : )
Happy 25th Anniversary!
The Dietlins

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