A Word on Marriage (from my wife)

This was written my beautiful bride of 8 years (today!), Alison. May her thoughtfulness bless you as she shares some of our story.


A number of years ago, Fred and I went through premarital counseling with Jim Brinkerhoff, my campus minister from Auburn. His first statement at the beginning of the session was “Marriage is hard work.” In my naïve, “I’m currently planning a wedding, getting into shape, and trying on wedding bands” phase, I felt my mind snicker. Not that I didn’t believe him, but if you love someone, what makes marriage hard work? In my short 8 years (as of today), I have begun to understand what makes Jim’s statement so true. It isn’t the lack of love; it’s the reality of life. It’s moving to 3 different cities in various parts of the country. It’s buying and selling 3 homes during those moves and starting over each time with no one but your spouse. It’s releasing your mom to the Lord and dealing with the heartache of her absence. It’s being unemployed, changing jobs, and Fred currently being bi-vocational in ministry so I can stay home with our son. It’s having 2 miscarriages. It’s delivering our precious, healthy son. It’s learning how to parent. It’s wanting more children but not having that prayer answered at the moment. It’s sleepless nights with a crying baby and exhausted days with a busy toddler. It’s wanting time for yourself and a clean house with no dirty laundry. It’s adjusting to the various seasons of your life while attempting to be the spouse and parent God has called you to be. It’s accepting unmet expectations and releasing yourself from the pressure those expectations seem to cause. It’s an array of thoughts and feelings that come from your own experiences in life and in marriage. Your marriage.

So how does marriage work? If you’ve been married a lot longer than I, bear with me. But from what I can tell it’s having date nights at your favorite restaurant. It’s Netflix Friday night movie night. It’s weekend trips away. It’s random text messages throughout the day. It’s dinner at the table as much as possible. It’s coffee, muffins, and cartoons on Saturday mornings. It’s sporting events. It’s concern for one another’s dreams. It’s a listening ear that doesn’t interrupt. It’s saying “I may not understand why you’re upset, but I understand you.” It’s being compassionate in the midst of failure. It’s holding one another accountable to the calling of Jesus. It’s speaking God’s love into one another’s lives. It’s being their biggest fan. It’s sharing your thoughts and feelings, even if you aren’t “made that way.” It’s secrets that no one else knows. It’s offering forgiveness and being forgiven. It’s being quiet. It’s laughing…a lot. It’s defending your spouse even when others aren’t. It’s saying “I’m sorry” when you’ve let them down or been wrong, even if you thought you were right. It’s knowing what’s worth the fight and what isn’t. It’s knowing that only God’s love is perfect and grace and mercy surely abound. It’s compliments and compromise. It’s witnessing another’s life. It’s marriage. And it’s hard work. Have we mastered this list? Not at all. Do we try? Absolutely. Do we fail? Of course. But not one day has passed in the last 8 years that has ever caused me to question or rethink saying “I do,” and in God’s grace, nothing ever will.

I wrote this today to express my thoughts on marriage, but more importantly, to tell others what Jim so bodly told us: Marriage is hard work. Loving another unconditionally takes more than a beautiful dress and perfect flower arrangements. Wedding days are wonderful and fantastic and certainly something to be excited about, but the days after create your home, your life, and the lives of those you bring into it. So say “I do” with joy and expectation and take your marriage seriously. Marriage is hard work, but the work is worth the joy of having a healthy, happy life with the person you love.

About Fred

Fred came to serve greater Williamsburg and WCC as lead pastor in October of 2010 and is grateful to be a part of the family. He is a husband, father, certified trauma professional, S.T.A.R. (strategies for trauma awareness & resilience) practitioner, community organizer, TEDx alum, founder of 3e Restoration, Inc. and co-owner of Philoxenia Culture LLC. He received his B.S. in Ministry/Bible at Amridge University and his Master’s of Religious Education in Missional Leadership from Rochester University. Currently he is a candidate for a Doctorate of Ministry in Contextual Theology in at Northern Seminary in Chicago. Fred has also served as an adjunct professor for Rochester University and Regent University where taught courses in philosophy, ethics, leadership, pastoral care, intro to Christianity, and ethnography. He has also served as a guest lecturer on the subjects of racialized cultural systems, poverty, and missiology at various universities, such as William & Mary and Oklahoma Christian University. Fred has authored on book (Racialized Cultural Systems, Social Displacement and Christian Hospitality) and several curriculum offerings, including The FloorPlan: Living Toward Restoration & Resilience. Fred enjoys hanging out with his family anytime, anywhere. He is deeply grateful for how God graciously works through the Church in all her various forms, despite our brokenness. He is passionate about seeing the last, least, and lonely of every neighborhood, city and nation experience God’s in-breaking kingdom, and come to know Jesus as King. Oh, and his favorite season is Advent and Christmas. Fred is a founding member of the board of directors for Virginia Racial Healing Institute, a member of the leadership team for Williamsburg's local chapter of Coming to the Table, and a member of Greater Williamsburg Trauma-Informed Community Network's Racial Trauma Committee and Training Committee.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to A Word on Marriage (from my wife)

  1. Anonymous says:

    Alison, this is so beautifully written! I greatly miss both of you but am so thankful to still be blessed by posts like this that are a sweet example of a very real presence of Jesus in your lives and marriage.


    • Alison Liggin says:

      Thanks Aby (or should I call you by your new name Anonymous)! I miss you too, especially the peace that came with just being in your presence. Praying that your family is doing well. Hope to see you guys when we come to Athens in late May!


  2. Anonymous says:

    Previous post by Aby Owens. Sorry 🙂


  3. Amy Glenn Houk says:

    Alison, you are such a beautiful person! Uncle Jimmy & Aunt Barbara would, and am sure are, so proud of the person & Christian you are! I so enjoyed reading this blog.


    • Alison Liggin says:

      Thank you Amy! I appreciate your kind words and certainly hope my parents memory is honored through my life. Glad you enjoyed the blog!


  4. Kathy L. says:

    I must prepare an 8-week pre-marital counseling class for the last class for my Masters degree, and if it’s okay, I would like to quote you on this beautiful, transparent testimony to marriage. Thanks!


    • Fred says:

      Hi Kathy. This is Alison, Fred’s wife. I am honored that you would even ask. Of course, please use whatever will help. God bless you in your journey.


  5. Dave says:

    Alison, Fred asked me to check out your writing to encourage my son Paul and Ana, his wife to be as they begin their life together (5/19/12) and send this on to them. Thank you, thank you, thank you for your wonderful writing in regard to pursuing a God blessed union! I love Fred and he is a wonderful preacher, but your writing here is causing me to re-think women preachers! Thanks again to both of you! You are wonderful blessings (Ian too) at WCC! Dave


  6. Awesome reflection on the incredible journey of marriage.


Join the conversation, but please be gracious.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s