20 Really *is* Great

Two days ago, the Mr. and I celebrated the big 2-0. That hardly seems possible. I had great intentions of getting this post up on the big day, but rather I chose to enjoy it, unplugged, and completely present to my husband and family.

No regrets.

Enjoy the photos and the look back! If you love a good “here’s how we met,” click away.


You know how you look up sometimes and wonder how you got from there, to here, that fast?

Twenty years ago the Mr. and I got hitched. The day before, the hour preceding our rehearsal dinner, I was confirmed in the Catholic church.

As beautiful and well-planned as that day was (and trust me, we planned a lot) no one ever shared how much marriage would change me. I mean, they might’ve said things like, “This is only the beginning!” or “May you have a lifetime of happiness.” But for me, as I reflect back on that day, I remember seeing many knowing glances, kind nods and small smiles as couple after couple hugged us and wished us well.

They knew what we had yet to learn: marriage is sanctifying, if you let it be.

In the early years, Scott and I scraped by on nothing as we moved to Iowa and completed our graduate degrees at Iowa State. Y’all. We had no money, froze our butts off and saw more snow than I thought God could ever make. Those were some good years, not just because we learned how far a jar of peanut butter could really go, but because God led us to the doors of a beautiful church. There, we met couples who formed us and our faith. A priest who was a good, good father. {Cue the Chris Tomlin.} And, a group of graduate students that opened our eyes to other religions and cultures that surely shaped our worldview on tolerance and acceptance.

Along came another move, this time to Indiana (waving to Carmel and Westfield peeps!) and our first baby, first house and first set of awesome neighbors. When I say awesome, I mean it. Scott and I started volunteering with the youth ministry program. What an enriching, fun, exhausting and spiritually satisfying few years those were.

A move to Texas and five babies later, here we are.

Our twenty years haven’t been without suffering, without desolation, without frustration and without pain. It’s what led us to the counseling door after our son’s premature birth. A loving, compassionate counselor can do beautiful things for your marriage. Trust me.

But, mostly, as I look back on these last two decades I am reminded how deep and wide God’s love must be for me. For, I’ve experienced amazing love through my husband and kids and if God’s is greater? Holy smokes. There are books I could write about the things I adore about Scott, and a few appendices I could write about the things that drive me nuts. But, since I still leave my shoes in the middle of the floor and run the van until it’s on “E,” I’ll keep those to myself.

Scott, this is for you: thank you for asking me out to that George Strait concert all those years ago. It took us a while to get there, but we finally did. Thanks for holding my hand on dates, letting me sob on your shoulder when the days are just too hard, making me feel like the prettiest woman in the room and supporting me in all my endeavors. You tell it to me straight, always. Your love of being a father is pretty great. Who else would feed the kids chocolate cake? And thank you for being such a strong faith leader in our home. You are the spiritual head of our house and your example is a beautiful one for our kids.

These past 20 years have been imperfectly perfect. Just the way God intended. I don’t know how many years we will enjoy together as a couple, but I am profoundly grateful for these 20. Our love, it is deep and wide, filled with respect, faith and gratitude.

You really are my better half.

Happy anniversary, sweetheart.

Whitakers, blog


  1. Nicole on July 29, 2016 at 2:44 pm

    Congratulations on 20 years! Such a terrific milestone, and glad to hear you spent it unplugged.

    I love your honesty in these posts. Everything from your faith formation, to your need for counseling, to leaving the van on E. Your comments about your feelings are just so real. It’s obvious how much you love your dashing husband and family. My hubby and I are approaching 20 years together (married for 13), and yes, I can’t believe how quickly and not quickly that has come.

    Best wishes to you as you encounter the next 20 and beyond!

  2. Penny Churchill on July 29, 2016 at 2:56 pm

    Happy Anniversary to you, and may you be blessed with many, many more anniversaries!!

    I believe there is a lot to be said about beginning a marriage while living on a small amount of money and struggling a bit. It draws you together to form a strong bond to work together and form your future, and without a doubt, your faith in God is the glue that binds the relationship. My husband and I married 50 years ago when he was just starting his Senior year in college. And, he became a Catholic just two weeks before our wedding. I worked full time when he went to classes and became pregnant three months after our wedding. Not for one moment did we ever think we wouldn’t make it.

    By the way – I grew up in northern Indiana, so we have a little more in common!

    Again, still enjoying your blogs and photos! Keep ’em coming!

  3. Christina on July 29, 2016 at 3:17 pm

    Congratulations! Also, you have NOT aged. Tell me all your secrets. 😉

  4. Elise on July 29, 2016 at 6:44 pm

    Happy Anniversary to you and your husband! Thank you for being such an inspiring example of the true beauty God intends for this sacrament. I loved when you said, “marriage is sanctifying” – yes! What a great reminder. I so appreciate your honesty & openness, and I deeply respect and admire the Christ-centered love you and your husband witness to the world. God bless you both!

  5. Verdina on July 30, 2016 at 10:30 am

    Congratulations! You two are such a beautiful example of God’s love — the way He intended marriage to be. Thank you for honestly sharing your ups and downs! And… are you always the prettiest girl in the room? I told Fr. Kevin, years ago, that I thought you were the most beautiful woman I had ever met, inside and out! Don’t ever doubt it. Your love of God and family gives you a very special glow!

    Here’s to the next 20 – 40 -60 – ?

  6. Missy on July 31, 2016 at 8:51 am

    Congrats on 20!

  7. Claire on August 3, 2016 at 1:39 pm

    Happy anniversary!!!!

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