Life changed the day my husband and I said our vows to one another. I had no idea, at the time, how much my life would change, nor how much I would change from that moment on.
Our marriage started out as bliss, as most do, but ours was quite different than most.
We didn’t have any family members or friends with us during that moment. Instead, we went to our local town office and were married in their meeting room. I had no idea who our witnesses were- Josh knew one or two. We were so happy, though. We were finally together, and nothing could stop that now.
You see, there were church issues. No one knew how to handle our situation, so everyone was flying by the seat of their pants. Some thought we should wait a while- some thought years- others thought we should just get married and not worry about it. We wanted to please everyone, even though we knew what God wanted us to do. We wanted to do things the right way, and not cause any contention. There was enough contention among others, that we didn’t need to add to it.
There is such a very long backstory to this, but I don’t feel the need to share that, at this time. It’s a hard subject to talk about and for some, to even read. We all just kind of want to put it behind us, and leave it there for the rest of our lives. But, this is my marriage. This is how it happened, and that’s something I can’t ever put behind me. I had a beautiful, absolutely glorious day, the day I married my love. We were so happy and there was so much love between us. I always want to remember the way I felt that day, and I never want anything to mar that memory.
I remember standing there in that strange room, that I had never been in before, with the love of my life. We had our rings in our hands, anxiously waiting to put them on each other’s hands. I knew this was right. I knew that I would love this man for the rest of my life. Since the day we had started dating, I had felt so much love from him. I never felt anything less. He was so kind and compassionate; so smart and so caring. Most importantly, he loved the Lord and was dedicated to Him. Plus, he was good-looking to boot!
We had such a strong connection with each other. When picking out our wedding bands, we both knew that we wanted engravements on them. We each chose what we wanted engraved on the other one’s. His says, “I will love you forever.” Mine says, “With undying love.” This is how we feel about each other to this very day. Our love has never wavered, I can be proud to say. Are we perfect? Not even close, but the love that God has blessed us with for each other, is. God wanted us to be together. He wanted us to be the perfect person for the other. A marriage takes work on both ends, not just one. It takes work every single day, not just on the days that we want it to. By the time we may want it to work, it could be all over.
When I married Josh, I married into his family. His family was extremely different than mine. Different, but good. I came from a family of 4, whereas he came from a family of 8- him being the baby of 6 kids. I had been really close to his twin sisters for a few years, and this is how Josh and I got to know each other. There were a lot of people in this family, especially when extended family and them all got together, but I liked it. I was really intimidated by it at first, maybe even for a long time, but it still worked, and I was really happy being in this big family.
After we were married, my parents really had nothing to do with us. They had separated from anyone that wasn’t going to their church, and we weren’t, so… From that point on, my family was Josh’s family. I have an older brother, that I love dearly, but he’s always lived a ways away, so we’ve never seen each other very often. I had to learn to love my husband’s family, as my own. This was not easy. It was as if my family didn’t exist anymore. No one in this family had experienced the same emotions that I had, so I felt no strong connection with any of them. I always clung pretty tight to Josh during our family get-togethers. It wasn’t because I didn’t love these people. No. It was only because I was hurting all the time, and I felt that he was the only one that understood, to even a small degree. I’m a bit of an introvert, so talking with others about my emotions is not a strong point in my life. It never will be either. No matter how much I work at it, I just can’t seem to do it that well. I feel that it makes me a stronger person, though. I’m able to deal with problems quite well by myself now. I always talk with Josh about everything- I feel the most comfortable opening up to him, obviously. He’s always so understanding, and I always feel so much better after talking with him.
This family has always loved me as one of their own. The Bell family is a big family, and somewhat close. We were closer years ago, than what we are now, mostly because we go to different churches and some live further away than others. We’ve all been able to become our own people and individuals over the years, and it’s been a good thing, I think. God has been good to this family.
Little did I know that after I married this beautiful soul that I would be spending every holiday with his family. I would no longer have the option of spending them with my own. Some years are fine, whereas other years are horrendous. Not because of my “new” family, but because of the lack of memories I’m able to make with my own. I’m happy, though. I know that this is where God wants me. I’ve no idea why He chose this path for me, and I’ve no idea what He’s doing with me. I trust Him, though, knowing that His way is the perfect way, and He’s always looking out for my good. It may not always seem that way, but as I look back over my life, I see that I’m in a really good place, and that it’s all because of Him.
Growing up, I lived a pretty simple life. I was the baby of the family, with my brother being almost 4 years older than me. We always ate dinner at 5:00 sharp- it was on the table when my dad came through the door from work. We lived in a family neighborhood, and Dale, my brother, and I were always out riding bikes and playing with our cousins. Such wonderful memories we have!
The only farm animals I was ever around were horses, and that wasn’t very often. Like most girls, I went through a horse-loving phase, took some riding lessons, and thought that someday, I would have my own horse. Never. Happened. Thankfully. I still like horses, but there’s no love connection with us anymore. So, when I married Josh, I knew I was marrying a farmer. A cow farmer. I had never really thought of the fact that we just may have a working farm at our residence, even though his father had had cows there for many years. Within a year or so, we had a couple beef cows- in our own barn. Ever since, it’s just grown. It’s not cheap running a farm, even if it’s just a small one, so there were many hardships for several years. Josh had a plan, though, as always. He knew that we had to stick out some hard years, so we could do well at it in the future. He was right, of course.
I wasn’t used to the hardships, though. My family was pretty well-off for most of my childhood and adult years, that I lived at home. I didn’t have to worry about anything. It was very challenging having the right perspective on life for all those years that we struggled. Josh and I came from two very different backgrounds. Neither one was wrong, just different. We both had our own opinions about how things should be going in our life, but in the end, we’ve figured out that our backgrounds don’t matter. What matters is that we have our own lives to live and to make. How we grew up doesn’t really matter at this point. Both of our lives have changed a lot, not just mine. He’s had to make this place our’s, not anyone else’s (Remember that we bought this place off from his parents). It’s not easy doing this, but he’s done an incredible job, and he continues to make our place more and more beautiful with each passing year. It has always been a beautiful place, but it seems more beautiful, because it’s ours.
Most importantly, I’ve had to realize that I have to be content, no matter what’s going on. If I’m not content when we’re struggling, I’m not going to be content when we aren’t. This has taught me so much, and I’m so happy that we went through those hard years. I needed that. I needed to know that life wasn’t always easy. Life can be really, really hard, but we pushed through it, and we did this all by ourselves. We relied on God to help us through those hard times, and He helped us through them.
I look around our countrified spot here in this big, wide world and wouldn’t want to live anywhere else. This is our home, and I hope it always will be. It’s a working progress, as with any home, but it’s ours. It’s our home to do whatever we want to with. I never would’ve imagined that I would be a “farm girl”, but with each passing year, it comes out a little bit more. I love to take pleasure in the simple things in life- a beautiful flower, a bright red tomato, a basket full of freshly picked green beans, the smell of hay, the shiny coats on the cows in the pasture, etc… We really do live a beautiful life here.
In 2012, on our fifth wedding anniversary, we renewed our vows. Our youngest was about 6 months old, and we had all 3 of our boys there with us. We wanted to share our special day with all of our close friends and family, and it was such a beautiful day. I felt like a queen for the day. I felt beautiful. I was honored to renew my vows to this wonderful man, and with each passing year, I love him even more. We have a bond that could never be broken. My life has changed a lot over the past 8 years, but would I change it? Not for the world. We have a beautiful family of our own, and we make our own memories. My husband’s family may be different than what mine was, but I love them. I love them all.
In the past, I have had issues with resenting his family. Not because of anything they’ve done, but because of my emotions. I look at them and see how close they are to their mom and dad, and to each other, and I wish that I had that. I wish that I could relive memories with my brother, mom and dad. I wish that I could have traditions like they do. I don’t, though, and sometimes it’s a hard burden to bear. Sometimes, I just want to scream and let it all out, but that wouldn’t be fair to anyone else. This is my burden to bear, not there’s, and I can’t expect them to do things any differently. I will not expect them to stop having fun and making memories, just because I can’t do that with my own family. How awful would that make me? But, to be perfectly honest, I think that way, sometimes. These thoughts come on my hardest of days. This family needs to and should make these memories and keep their traditions strong. This is what all families should do and should want to do. It makes me happy to see them do this, and sometimes, brings tears to my eyes.
I’ve come to realize that this is just human nature. It’s perfectly human for me to feel this way- expected, actually. I don’t hate or dislike anyone. I love them all. Probably more than they think. I just don’t always know how to show it correctly. My life has changed so much, and my thoughts and feelings have, too. Sometimes, I don’t always know how to do all of this the right way, mostly because it’s still new to me. I’m still trying to figure all of this out. I’m so thankful for all of the people that God has blessed my life with. I have some really close friends that I’m able to share some of my hardest days with, and I have some friends that I’m able to just have some fun with. God has blessed me with another family that I’m able to make memories with, and this is a good thing.