A Special Day- “We said I do in 2002”

A special day indeed…today marks the 10 year of marriage for my husband Geoff and I. Happy Anniversary Honey! 

He surprised me big time by planning a trip to the Bahammas for the weekend. There, we renewed our wedding vows near the rocks of the big blue. It was absolutely stunning. What was more, the meaning of being near the rocks reciting vows that had deeper value to us on this day than the day we exchanged rings ten years before. We were believers, but not followers of Christ when we set out on this journey of marriage.  Thankfully the Lord humbled us ….and boy, did he humble us.

“Because the Lord disciplines those He loves, and he punishes everyone He accepts as a son.”

Although you can’t see anyone else in this photo…there were many people on the beach who were able to hear our testimony. So many sweet people came up to congratulate us…it truly was such a God given opportunity.

The Pastor explained that women need love and men need respect. He asked Geoff to draw a heart in the sand symbolizing the love he has for me. “Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and see to it that the wife respects her husband”~Ephesians 5:33

I would have never thought I would be standing here 10 faithful years later with 3 children having gone threw all we have been through together. It hasn’t been easy, but it has been so worth it. We’ve never stopped loving one another despite not knowing what we were saying I do to

I know that being married 10 years does not make me an expert, but I would like to share some things that we have learned as a couple.

1. Put God first – Many people do not understand this, but it really is the key to a successful marriage. Even if just one person is putting God first, amazing things can happen. Praise God.

2. Put your marriage before your children – Yikes! Why am I saying this? Because it is true. The best gift you can give your children is a strong foundation of a mom and dad who love one another. Make time to go out on dates and take trips. They don’t have to be expensive, but they must happen. Too often we get lost in our every day lives and we forget how much fun our spouse really is and what brought us together. This also sets an example of how you want your sons and daughters to go forward in marriage.

3. Have a sense of humor – Life, if it hasn’t already, will send you though storms. There are times that it seems so bad, the only thing you can do is have a sense of humor about it or it will pound you into the ground senseless.

4. Realize that change happens – You may not have planned the life you are living, but don’t keep dreaming about that so called life. Live the life that is in front of you and try to adapt as much as possible. God is sovereign and there is a reason for this change- most likely it is to purify you and reconcile you to Himself.

5. Know one another’s “Love Language– Gary Chapman wrote an excellent book called “The 5 Love Languages” , I highly recommend every couple read this. You may be loving your spouse in the way you like to be loved instead of how he likes to be loved {hardy har, right?}. Find out if you are “Words of Affirmation”, “Quality Time”, “Receiving Gifts”, “Acts of Service” or “Physical Touch”. This book really gave us an “Ah ha!” moment in our marriage.

6. Put the pride aside – Seek Pastoral counsel when {not if} you need biblical advice to get you back on track as a couple. Yes, we have done this and it was the best thing we ever did and will continue to do. A couple we know who has been happily married 50 years gives much credit to the one hour, one time a week spent with a pastor to discuss the topic of their marriage. It’s really ok. Breathe…

7. Know how to communicate – 2 Corinthians 10:5 says “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ” . What I whisper to myself? “Janelle, put a filter on it”.

8.  Compromise – Things don’t always go your way. Find a middle ground or be the bigger person and allow something other than your own selfish desires to take precedence. It’s hard at first, but you will find out it is easier in the end. “Janelle, get over yourself”. 

9. Take care of yourself – As wives, we can fall into taking care of everyone else but ourselves. We can end up feeling very down, unhealthy, and bitter. Do not expect perfection from yourself, but moderation. Take baby steps towards taking better care of yourself. Even if it is a daily shower {I’m not kidding here- this is hard when you have little ones} it will make you feel better. You will be a better spouse when you are confident and your husband will get fringe benefits too.

10. Forgive and forget conflicts – As we trust and follow Christ, God the father promises to remember those sins no more -“As far as the East is from the West, so has he removed our transgressions from us”~Psalm 103:12.  We should strive to do the same to completely forgive our spouses and not to keep a record of wrongs. (1 Corinthians 13:5 ) This gives freedom to both partners.

It’s been a blessing…this marriage. Thank you God and thank you Geoff for being so loving, patient, and hard working to give me all that we have. Above all, this marriage is our greatest asset.



  1. Congratulations! You are beautiful and I so enjoyed hearing the waves crashing into the shore. Felt like I was right there with you!!

  2. Wonderful post!! Congratulations on ten years!

  3. Beautiful. We have a redemption story as well. Adultery and separation within first year. Husband came to the saving knowledge of the Lord. I saw the ugly that was inside of me that had helped drive us into the ditch we were in. We got into counseling and 13 YEARS LATER…we are standing stronger than ever. Loved reading your story…reminded me of my own. 🙂

    You look beautiful and what a precious gift.

    • Thank you for sharing that Talysa- so many have the same issues in marriage and need to see that God can heal all wounds!!! There isn’t anything he hasn’t and cannot fix!!!! YEA~ 13 years!!

  4. Loved this post!!!! Congratulations!!!! I’ve been married 25 and wouldn’t change a thing about your sound advice! Here’s to 50 more years together!!!

    Patty from TX

  5. Janelle, congrats! How lovely. Your tips are so true. May God bless you with many more years of joy!

  6. tiffany says:

    Hey, you are going to be in my neck of the woods congrats!

  7. Joanna Vanderkooi says:

    Friday, May 11, 2012……tomorrow, is our 27th anniversary. What a blessing it has been. I have so much for which to be thankful, first of all being my/our salvation. And, second of all, would be my amazing husband. I won’t take the time or space to extol all his virtues. We both know, after all these years, that neither of us is perfect, but, boy, do we love each other, even after rearing the three kids together, and sending them off to Hungary, Florida, and the Adirondacks. God is still faithful, we are still loving each other more and more, and the future will be even more blessed as we grow closer to each other and the Lord. He IS our Rock, our common ground. Blessings on ALL our marriages. This world needs to see good, godly marriages, that strive together for His perfect will.

  8. Savannah says:

    Happy Anniversary,
    I love every ounce of your post and could relate, thank you so much for your wisdom it was much needed and appreciated. You really should write a book 🙂 you looked absolutely beautiful by the way 🙂 God bless you and Geoff with many more years to come!

  9. We’ve just been married for 10 months but I’ve already experienced that your tips are really great!
    Congratulations on the two of you 🙂
    It looks like you had amazing time!

  10. Congratulations! Thank you for sharing this special time in your lives. Your photographs are lovely!

    Your post brings back sweet memories. My husband and I also renewed our vows on our tenth wedding anniversary (although not in quite as sunny a setting!) and it was such a blessing. Like you we were believers when we married, but our faith had deepened and become so much richer. It was wonderful to be able to stand before God and our family and friends once again and recommit our marriage to God as well as recommitting to each other. That was 11 years ago now.

    Blessings to you and your family on your anniversary!

  11. Janelle- congratulations! What beautiful photos, looks like a wonderful time you both had. 10 years is wonderful, and I love the 10 lessons you shared with us. Gives me lots to think about.

    Working Kansas Homemaker

  12. Congratulations! And such good advice. If women would only realize that their husbands want to be respected and appreciated, marriages would be a lot happier. I too recommend the book ‘The Five Love Languages.’ Explains a lot.

  13. Congrats!!

    I loved reading every lil bit of advice you have given.


  14. Jamie Lynn says:

    Wow, Janelle. This was som timely for me. God just (like 2 weeks ago) put a stop to my career ambitions. I asked Him why and the answer definitely has to do with changing me from self-reliance to submission, from fear to faith. I have been married 6 1/2 years and God is giving me the gift of a blessed marriage. Up til now it has been “good” but I can see that He wants to take me from a cultural perspective on marriage/family to a Biblical one. Thank you for contributing to my understanding of what God is speaking to my spirit. I look forward to raising my children in all of the fullness of motherhood that God has intended, instead of the world’s version of a family.

  15. Congrats, what a special weekend! Thanks for sharing. 🙂

  16. My husband and I also have our 10 year anniversary this year-at the end of July! So excited about it! I would add two things to your list that have served us well. 1) Respect each other. Anytime you are frustrated or angry, etc, just think about the fact that you love that person and respect them and you will find perspective. Even if in your anger you can only respect them as a Child of God, that is ok. Eventually you will come around. And, this respect is not only treating your partner with respect, but watching your tongue in public as well and speaking of them only with respect. 2) Patience with each other. This takes you a very very long way in marriage. 🙂 Especially when faced with an aspect about your partner that you do not understand (and no matter who you are, you will never completely understand another person).
    I love your blog! You are very encouraging to new and old believers!

  17. Oh, what a beautiful post…beautiful couple…beautiful reminder to stand firm. We celebrated our 19th this year and I am so glad we have walked through so many things together – I adore my husband more than ever today – I’m a blessed woman! Love the whole surprize weekend thing…got me thinking..

    Really liked this post – we were believers as well when we first got married but FAR from followers of Christ…he has changed us (me)…cleaned our hearts and set us on the straight and narrow.

    A huge congratulations to you and your husband.

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