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Anniversaries and Seasons of Life


Most people just celebrate Valentine’s Day in February, but it is also our anniversary month, so we get double the romance! This year we are celebrating 27 years of marriage!

I cannot believe it! In honor of my anniversary, I wanted to share a piece of our story and write about what we have learned about building a long-lasting marriage throughout our journey.

 

How it got started.

 

Tem Spafford at the beginning of their journey

My husband and I met at church in our early 20s and after a short friendship turned courtship pledged our lives to one another at the baby ages of 22 (me) and 21 (him).

We were best friends, but it’s safe to say that we had no idea what we were getting ourselves into as we were both naive about marriage despite being children of divorce.

Despite warnings of our youth during marriage counseling, we dove right in. We thought that all we needed was love and Jesus and it would all be perfect and problem free. 

 

Boy, we had a lot to learn. 

 

We soon discovered that we were both human beings with different personalities, and these differences create challenges. We have been through many seasons of closeness and many seasons of heartache. It has not always been easy. We have discovered some things that have helped our marriage along the way.

We have worked hard on our marriage together and continue to make choices about how we treat each other every day that contribute to the success of our marriage.

 

Our willingness to say we are sorry, and to forgive one another has kept our marriage strong.

 

We do not always agree on things, but we do discuss until we come to a consensus. We choose each other every day, even when things are hard or seem impossible. We bicker, but we do not call each other names or cut each other down.

I cannot say it has never happened, but I can count the times on one hand, so I think our track record is pretty good. We support each other and encourage each other to go beyond the limits of what we think we are capable of in studies, career, and anything we think about pursuing. 

 

We dream BIG dreams together. 

 

We have gone through some very hard seasons, so hard I wondered if we were going to make it. Parenting has been hard at times. We had to learn how to speak the same language, because “men are from Mars and women are from Venus” or so the saying goes.

There were times that circumstances weighed heavily on us both and we found help through doing marriage counseling with a couple from church. Other times, we turned to a Marriage and Family therapist for help.

Through this we learned about our communication styles and our attachment styles which helped us better understand each other.

We also really love personality typing and use them as tools to understand each other better. My favorites are the Enneagram and Meyers-Briggs

 

Being married to a military member is not always the easiest way to build a strong marriage. 

 

The challenges of separations, whether short term or long term, have the potential to make or break a marriage. Every PCS is a stressful life event and that is not always acknowledged as a such but instead called an “adventure”, but mental health calls moving one of life’s most stressful events.

While mindsets can help us through such things, so does acknowledging what we are feeling and going through in those moments. 

 

It’s ok to NOT be OK.

 

Team Spafford, stronger than ever!

Knowing how to lean on each other in those moments is essential for our marriage. There is no one else on earth I would rather talk to about literally everything than my husband and our friendship is the glue that really holds us together. 

I am thankful for my husband and our marriage. I would do it all over again. I love that we are growing older together and have been through so many seasons of life together.

It is a beautiful thing to look back at who we were, and what we have become together. 

 

 

 

*To learn more about Anna, you can visit her M:M Author page or see her profile below. The Command team at M:M would also congratulate her on her AFI MSOY nomination. You go Anna!

 

 

Author

  • Anna Spafford

    Anna has been an active-duty spouse for 19 years while her husband has served both in the Air Force, and now in the Space Force. She is the mother to five children, two dogs, and two cats. They are natives of Michigan, but are stationed at Vandenberg SFB, California. They have also been stationed in Texas, Ohio, Colorado, and Kansas. She is an online student at Grand Canyon University and is finishing up her bachelor’s degree in English with an Emphasis in Professional Writing. She will graduate in February of 2024. She hopes to use her degree to write important pieces that challenge the status quo and encourage others, especially those who are in the military community. Anna is most passionate about her family and spent many years homeschooling her children before pursuing her own education. She is a Key Spouse and considers herself an advocate for military family issues like EFMP, mental health, and improvements to military family medical care. One way she does this is through volunteering with the Exceptional Families of the Military which she has worked with since May of 2023.

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