We had two small children. My wife, Charlotte, stayed at home with them. I was working with a church that was a wonderful place to be but in many ways was consuming me. (I don’t mean for this statement to be a reflection on that church. Rather, it had more to do with my inexperience and the expectations that I had for myself in ministry. Some of these expectations were completely unrealistic.)
Money was tight. I felt incredibly behind in my work. Our children, being small children, needed a lot of time and energy. These were exhausting times in many ways. I say this not complaining but just recognizing that this was a time of life that took much energy and time. Looking back, I can see that I really underestimated just how hard and demanding this time of life was for my wife.
Later, we moved to Kansas City, Missouri, and then Waco, Texas. Our children would spend most of their "growing up" years in Waco.
During those years of being a family and being a married person, I probably tended to think that marriage was primarily about personal happiness. In particular, I wanted to make sure my spouse was happy. It would be many years before I realized that God was using our marriage to shape us into a certain kind of people. (Gary Thomas’ book Sacred Marriage was very influential in my thinking on this point.) Yes, marriage brought joy, friendship, companionship, etc. However, it brought a purpose much larger than ourselves. It is that purpose that makes all the difference in how we live as married people.