I remember it like it was yesterday.  We were sitting in pre-marital counseling, giddy-excited because THIS IS IT!  He put a ring on it, and we’re getting MARRIED!  Twenty-two years young- fresh out of campus housing and college dining halls- and yet so convinced that we knew exactly what we were getting ourselves into.  We were sitting side by side and most likely hand in hand when our pastor asked us about discord in our relationship.  “So, tell me- what do you guys fight about?” he asked.

We looked at each other, thought for a moment, and laughed.  “Well.  We’ve never really fought,” we replied with an air of pride.

He smiled kindly, as pastors do, all the while surely blessing our naive little hearts.  After all, he had scored the personality tests we had taken just weeks before.  The tests that verified how vastly different Matt and I are in personality.  The scores over which we chuckled, shrugged our shoulders, and moved on.  Because this marriage thing?  It’ll be a BREEZE.

We were so cute.

That was ten years ago.

Actually, this was ten years ago:

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One whole decade.  And it feels pretty momentous to me.  Because, as it turns it, marriage is wonderful.  Beautiful.  Sanctifying.  But totally and completely not a breeze.

It takes work.  Sacrifice.  So much effort some days that it’s far from romantic.

Which is precisely why I handed Matt a jar full of rocks this morning.  For our anniversary.  Just hang on, it’s really not as bad as it sounds.

In the Bible, there’s this story about a guy named Samuel.  God had just saved his people, the Israelites, in an epic battle against the Philistines. And so, Samuel decided to set up a rock- which he called Ebenezer- to commemorate the occasion and to help him to remember God’s help.

“Thus far the Lord has helped us,” he said. (1 Samuel 7:12)

I feel this today.  Me and Matt?  I may be biased, but I think our marriage is pretty awesome.  With every additional year we have under our belts, we have learned how to love each other better.  We have more history, and it’s made us stronger.

Still the truth remains: marriage is a straight-up battle ground.  Because a good marriage doesn’t just happen.  You gotta fight for it.  And sometimes, in all of the fighting, we need to take a step back and remember how far the Lord has brought us.  How much he has done for us.  His help thus far.

Enter the Jar of Rocks, aka our Ebenezer stones:


This idea is not original to me.  Okay, so it kind of dates back to Bible times.  But it also dates back to a recent wedding we attended in which they made something similar.  Regardless, it is now officially one of my favorite items in our home.

Written on each stone is a moment of God’s goodness, an event to which we can look back and remember.  Remember God’s goodness.  His providence.  His love.  His hand on our marriage and our family.  Tangible reminders for when my own memory fails.


Samuel actually isn’t the only one in scripture to use stones as a reminder of God’s goodness.  After God allowed the Israelites to cross the Jordan River into the Promised Land, Joshua, too, set up his own pile of stones.

“He said to the Israelites, ‘In the future when your descendants ask their parents, ‘What do these stones mean?’ tell them, ‘Israel crossed the Jordan on dry ground.’ For the Lord your God dried up the Jordan before you until you had crossed over. The Lord your God did to the Jordan what he had done to the Red Sea when he dried it up before us until we had crossed over.  He did this so that all the peoples of the earth might know that the hand of the Lord is powerful and so that you might always fear the Lord your God.

Every event, every moment, represented by the stones in our jar, points me to exactly that.  That the Lord is powerful.  Powerful in our marriage.  Powerful in our family.  And, in light of this, the only response we can have is awe and worship.

Some days, connecting and relating and marriage in general comes easily to us.  Other days, it, quite honestly, looks a lot more like really hard work.  However, if our marriage, imperfect though it may be, can point anyone back to the Lord’s goodness and power- if we’re brought to worship in light of all he has done- then the fight and the effort and the daily surrenders are not in vain.

Ten years later, I love Matt more than ever before.  Seriously- it’s not just semantics.  But what’s even more awesome is that this crazy journey of the past ten years has allowed us this great wealth of experiences and reminders of God’s past grace upon which we can draw.  These years have taught us to run to God for our comfort, approval, and satisfaction more than ever.  To pursue Christ above all else.  And THAT, you guys, is the ultimate win.

Here’s to many decades more.  I have a 20 pound bag of stones all ready to add to our jar as the years fly by, and you better believe I plan to use ’em up.

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