I Want That

My wife and I sat across our large kitchen table from a bright, young newlywed couple several months ago. They had asked us to do their pre-marital counseling many months before and we wanted to sit down with them after their first three months of marital bliss to ask them how things were going.

We want what you guys have,”  said the young man. “You guys seem to have it all together. You have a great home, great kids and a great relationship.”

Boy, did we have them fooled. I certainly understood where this young man’s question came from. When we were newlyweds there were many couples that we wanted to try to emulate. We valued their parenting skills, their walks with God and their relationship with one another.

“We finally arrived,” I thought quietly to myself while a little smirk appeared on my face. My wife and I just had a conversation a few months prior to our meeting that night discussing the fact that we felt as though we had arrived at the place we had talked about for so many years. We both were working jobs that we enjoyed and felt called to. Our kids had grown to a place where they were getting themselves dressed in the morning, and participating in chores around the house. We were making a decent living and were able to do things like go on vacations and save money instead of living paycheck to paycheck. We were real live adults!

After snapping back from my brief moment of daydreaming, this young couple was again before me asking how we got to where we were. A moment of pride welled up within me which was quickly burst when my wife said, “It hasn’t been easy…at all!” At that moment a phrase that a mentor of mine stated came rushing back, “Marriage is long-term obedience heading in the same direction.” We have certainly had our share of problems during our 13 years of marriage, that’s for sure. Come to think of it, there wasn’t much that came easily or naturally along the way.

It had occurred to me that we had arrived at this place in our lives mainly because of the marvelous grace and mercy of Jesus, but secondly because of our hard work and perseverance in the face of very difficult odds. And this young couple said they wanted what we had. Well, I’ve got news for them, and for you too reading this. We can’t begin with what it took many people decades or even a lifetime to accomplish.

In the same way that it takes many years to build a home, get an education, raise kids, or become the spiritual giant we always hoped and strived to be, it takes many years to build a marriage. In fact it is the toil, the pain, the blood, sweat and tears that create great marriages. Don’t try to take the easy way out in building a great relationship, if, in fact, there is an easy way. Keep fighting with one another, keep being honest with one another, keep making up with one another and above all keep loving one other.

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.  Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” James 1:2-4


Ryan & Heather Carboneau believe in the redeeming grace of Jesus Christ and the life-changing power of relationships. They are a deep and authentic couple who have been trained in Spiritual Direction by Dr. Larry Crabb. The Carboneaus live and breathe to have ‘conversations that matter’. They also believe in making their mess, their ministry. Ryan and Heather have served as missionaries for 6 years, pre-marital counselors for 8 years, and as executive assistants for many different organizations. Ryan is an ordained pastor and is currently working on his PhD in Professional Counseling and Heather is a stylist and currently travels as the relationship coordinator with the Extraordinary Women conference team. They have been married for 13 years and reside in Forest, VA with their two daughters, Faith and Eden

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