Marriage After 16 Years

By Peppi Sims


Many years ago I was at a friend’s birthday party. We were going around the room recording one another asking the question, “What do you want to do when you grow up?” Of course, only being teenagers, we had some pretty ridiculous ideas as to what that would be. When the camera zoomed around to me I responded with, “I want to be a wife and mom and get married by 18.” Insert panic/shocked face from my parents and friends! Haha! Fast forward a few years, July 18, 2005, I started living out the dream that was in my heart. I married the person I needed, wanted, and loved more than anyone I had ever known. 

Sixteen years later….I’m still married to the man I need, want, and love more than anyone else I have ever known. How is that possible? I wish I could say it was because I have been perfect or that I was so smart at 18 and I knew exactly what I was doing. I mean, I was still learning how to make grilled cheese sandwiches at 18! And as impressive as my husband is as a man, father, pastor, leader, you name it, there have been ample times he or I could have held bitterness and frustration toward one another but WE CHOSE NOT TO. Great marriages are as intentional about doing things as much as they are about not doing some things. I think CHOOSING to have a great marriage is an easy choice, but CHOOSING to do what it takes for a great marriage takes more intentionality but is well worth the effort you put in.  

I would love to give you a few tips that we regularly implement in our own relationship that we have seen much fruit come from.

  1. Live to make the other person’s day. I have never seen a healthy marriage consist of one person’s needs being met. Marriage is a Team sport in every sense of the word. There are seasons where one person can play a bigger role, that’s completely normal. Be sensitive to the season you are both in. While marriage is a team sport it is SO important to not keep score. Let your motives always be pure where you are serving one another.
  2. Lean in and Listen. I was watching a couple eat dinner together at a nice restaurant recently. They were dressed to the 9’s and seemed to know everyone in the place. It all looked good on paper. But, I noticed when she would talk to him he couldn’t be further away emotionally. Proximity isn’t a replacement for intentionality. How do we internally judge whether someone has been married a long time or if they’re newlyweds? Body language and facial expressions tell us more than words ever could. Be intentional about showing your spouse I’m here, I care, I’m listening.
  3. Do not let anyone else be a bigger fan of your spouse than you. While I am far from a relationship expert, it’s hard not to notice that in the world you can almost count on a spouse bad mouthing their spouse worse than anyone else. Not only should we not say some things, we should equally be as adamant about saying some things. Our spouse needs to hear from us what we admire about them. They need to hear that they’re seen and appreciated. They need to hear we believe in them. When was the last time we thanked them for providing for the family? Just remember, someone is going to be their biggest fan! Let it be you, their spouse! 

I want to share one fact about me that you’ll never care to know, but I’m going to tell you anyways. I am a huge vacuum enthusiast. I do not need the nicest vacuum but you better not hand me one of those vacuums that barely pick up anything or spits out more than it cleans up. If you were to ask me what vacuum you should buy, I would tell you the best vacuum for the value that I have found is a Shark! It’s so good! Anyways…do you know I could have my favorite vacuum in my possession and push it all around the house and it makes no difference? Why? I have to plug it into the wall and press power in order for it to actually work. Did you know you can have a spouse, complete with a gorgeous wedding day and a marriage certificate but if you do not take time to plug into your marriage it will never work at its full potential? You can go through all the motions of getting married, even desiring to have a great marriage, but we have to make our marriage our priority. 

August 8, 2022