Committed: the start of a story

I can't believe the launch of our Committed Series starts this week! One thing I will say about Committed is that it is full of heart! I wanted to start a series of Instagram and Blog posts that, I hope, will bring a new reputation to the word marriage but also show people that marriage isn't a scary word or a word that should be associated with failure! Sadly, I feel like we live in a society that has made the word divorce a norm. In 2019, the divorce rate was somewhere between 40 to 50 percent in the United States. Guys!!!!! 40-50 percent...if that doesn't want to make you burst into tears I don't know what will! I'm writing this post during a pandemic, which that in itself is troubling. Reports are stating that we should be prepared to see divorce rates go even higher due to stay-at-home orders. Come on...higher than 50 percent? It literally breaks my heart. I felt like now, more than ever, is the perfect time to launch Committed-I want to give couples who may be struggling hope but to really help change the view of marriage in our society. But to honestly do this, I have to share with you my marriage and committed journey. It's the only way I know to show you, first-hand, how marriage a divorce and then a second marriage has truly changed my entire view of marriage and how the word committed means more to me now than ever!

As a little girl I knew I would be married someday- I didn't say wanted to be married I said I knew I would be married. It was just what I thought people did. I never really put any thought behind it except that someday I would be married. I definitely wasn't a little girl who planned her wedding or dreamed of the big proposal. Let's be real, I was too busy throwing a softball around to dream of a wedding! I just knew that someday I would be married. Simple enough, right? As I got older, I started to date and some of the boys I dated (looking back) were probably great husband material and others were well, we will just say they weren't. I don't think I ever looked at the big picture when dating. One of my favorite conversations with my husband, Alex, is to talk about our life before we met. Some might think it's a dangerous road to go down but I think it's the complete opposite. I know he had relationships before me and I know he dealt with real-life things before me. And not that I am nosey or a jealous wife, I just enjoy getting to know all there is to know about the man I call husband. It really makes me appreciate him even more to hear his stories and his journey to our marriage. Two completely different lives and two completely different roads that led us together. I actually get emotional when I think of all the steps we took ( individually) to finally take our steps together as a married couple.

The marriage I have now is the marriage I deserve. One thing I want you to do is reread that sentence. "The marriage I have now is the marriage I deserve." I hear so many times people saying something like this " this marriage or this person is more than I deserve". Why have we brainwashed ourselves to think that we don't deserve a good marriage? No matter the road you have walked down, cruddy relationship mistakes you have made or the versions of yourself that peeked its ugly little head during toxic relationships, you deserve a good marriage! I hope you know deep down that you are deserving of a good marriage, no matter what! It took me many years to condition my brain to not think toxic or to think that I'm not deserving.

I mentioned earlier it took a marriage, a divorce then a second marriage for my view of marriage and relationships to change. I was so jaded on marriage before I met my husband, Alex. I was convinced that all marriages were fake, all marriages were not worth the work and all marriages ended in divorce and if they didn't end in divorce it is only because there was some major pride going on. It was during my first marriage that I encountered major abuse of every kind-you name it I probably lived it. I know that may be tough to hear and a little shocking that someone "like me" went through something so traumatic. It's just proof that we all have a road. It was that road that showed me so much about myself and who I was designed to be.

Marriage was not something I ever thought I wanted to go through again. My heart was damaged and I had a very unhealthy view of marriage and relationships in general. Divorce does something rotten to your soul-even if its the best thing to do to literally save your life, it alters so much. But let's fast-forward through the years of therapy, bad decisions and chaos that I once lived-I am sure you get the idea- and let's pause at the part of my life where I met Alex.

Dating Alex and eventually marrying him has been the coolest experience of my life.

I have learned so much about love, respect, integrity, honesty and partnership in this marriage. Together we are committed. When you are in a marriage that has the foundation of faith and honesty it really can't go terribly wrong. We have healthy boundaries that we aren't afraid to talk about, we are on the same page when it comes to marriage topics like finances, friendships, and our children. Being truly committed to someone means protecting their heart, cheering them on when they are having down times, listening to them talk about their favorite things even when it's not your favorite things, pointing them to the light-always- not speaking ill of them when the other is not around, and to me the most important part of being committed is never allowing yourself to get in a mindset of defeat.

I think one of the best marriage advice I have ever been given is to never let your partner feel unloved. Place your marriage high on your priority list. Every single day when my husband walks through the door from work, I make the effort to literally stop whatever it is I'm doing and greet him at the door with a hug and kiss. It's important that he knows he was missed during the day but really that I am excited he is home.

I'm committed to make sure he never feels unworthy, that he is not my priority and especially not loved.

As we start posting stories of Committed, I hope you take time in your own relationship to see where you can improve because let's be real...we all can improve! Maybe it's being more engaged, maybe its holding a hand after a rough day or maybe it's just recommitting yourself to the marriage. I encourage you to evaluate who is in your life that might be a distraction to your marriage. Marriage is a commitment but it can be fun! I had to re-learn what committed meant to have the marriage I have today. For so

long I thought my happiness was defined by: if my spouse was happy then I was happy. But the harsh reality to a good marriage, find your own happiness first.

Over the next few weeks, you are going to read real stories of real couples who are committed to their marriage. You will find yourself laughing, maybe crying a bit but hopefully really encouraged that there are couples who are truly committed and who don't view marriage the way the world views marriage. I am so thankful for my journey and so proud of my committed marriage. I hope you follow along and enjoy our new series of Committed.

...till next time! Karie

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