So for the last several days I’ve been posting on my social media platforms (FaceBook, Twitter and Instagram) about a significant milestone in our families life. Tomorrow, August 5th marks 18 years of marriage for John and Cindy Fiala! Okay, it’s not twenty, thirty, forty or fifty yet (we’re not that old), but for two people who took the risk to jump into marriage for a second time, in our mid-life season, 18 years is something to celebrate.
We’ve all heard the statistics on marriage and especially on 2nd marriages. So when we jumped in and took the challenge, we determined right from the get-go that we had to be intentional. Because we didn’t want to become another statistic and because we knew the pain, heartache, and trauma that comes with divorce firsthand.
Here’s a recap of what we’ve learned over the last 18 years:
- Neither one of us is perfect, in fact we’re both pretty flawed. Our flaw-ness doesn’t give us the excuse of staying that way or wading in the muck. In fact, our marriage is meant to help us identify our flaws and through grace and love, be refined, changed and renewed. My husband is a very clear mirror that reflects my good characteristics and the flawed ones that I can’t see without him and vice versa. We believe the best in each other and in the people we are still growing into (and out of, Lord have mercy). Note: See original post on August 1st on social media.
- We forgive each other often and always, even before things might happen that require forgiveness. This is not passive permission-giving that allows us to take advantage of each other, but full acknowledgement that we’re going to hurt each other, there is forgiveness… always forgiveness. Note: see full post on August 2nd on social media
- Marriage is more than physical attraction, tight bods and newlywed expectations. We got married mid-life okay… not too old to miss out on a lot of steaminess, but old enough to experience growing older together quicker than if we’d gotten married in our twenty’s. As we’ve matured, our love, passion and connection has too. It doesn’t look the same, but I can say that it is easier, settled, honest and we’re more connected now than we’ve ever been. We may snore the roof off (so who knew that small people snore too?), groan some days when we get out of bed from sore muscles and joints, but the touch of his hand on my waist still gives me goosebumps and my voice is the one he wants to hear when things feel upside-down. I love this season of our marriage, y’all should be jealous.
- We follow each other. We submit to each other mutually. We love Jesus and love that he came to create a new way… a new community where both men and women are equal in God’s economy and in marriage. We both have been given gifts and skills regardless of our gender and we ebb and flow with that. When God called us to TX for a ministry position for me… John quit his job without another one lined-up and followed. People thought we (he) was crazy. When God called us to Colorado for John’s job, I quit my job (I loved the work at Preston Trail in TX and let me tell you it was hard to leave). Here’s the thing, we really don’t follow each other as much as we follow the leading of our God. We determined long ago that our answer was “yes”, to whatever the question God laid before us. Sometimes that means John will lead, sometimes that means I will lead. We just follow. Note: see the original post August 4th on social media.
We’re still learning and we made the decision years ago, before we said “I do”, that we would work on this thing every day. That means we go to marriage conferences, we lead marriage conferences and studies, because for the loooove, we need it! We talk through hard things so hard things don’t trip us up later. We listen and lean into wise counsel, we go to counseling when we need it (and we’ve needed it several times over the years) and we celebrate each other. In little and big ways… every day. Things that are celebrated are repeated.