Becoming One: Melissa and Eric

by Andrea Cooley

I'm excited to share another look into a godly marriage today! I met Melissa in high school youth group and remember doing Bible studies and playing tennis with her. We went our separate ways after graduation, but reconnected through Facebook now that we both have kids. She is a wife, mother of two sweet girls, and woman of God who I have a great respect for. Her soft ways and humble spirit speak volumes into my life and many others. I am always encouraged and challenged when reading her blog The Cross and The Kitchen Sink. She offers a great perspective on serving God day in and being Christ like to our little ones while you're washing dishes, changing diapers, and making meals.

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When did you get married?
Eric and I were married 7 1/2 years ago, on July 23, 2005. We were 22.

How long did you date before getting married?
We had met in high school at youth group but never dated then. We went to college in separate states and kept up mostly through emails and AOL instant messenger (anyone else remember those days?). Right before our senior year of college we began dating. By that point we knew each other well so we dated only for five months before we were engaged and another five months before we were married.

What was one of your biggest challenges the first few months of marriage?
In the first weeks of our marriage we moved across the country, Eric began grad school, and I looked for my first real job. There were a lot of changes! Also our relationship had mostly been long distance so we had a lot to learn about life together.

I remember we were at orientation for Eric’s school and we had no idea how to meet other people as a couple. He watched the single guys get to know one another and I watched the single girls meet and we just stood there by ourselves. Finally we saw another young couple sit alone on a bench together. So we found our own bench. Later we became good friends with them and found out they had just been married too and felt the same way we did, so we often laughed about that, but it was hard at the time.

What was something you wish you’d known before the wedding?
Early in our marriage I came across a couple of resources that I have been so grateful for. One was Shaunti Feldhahn’s book, For Women Only. It spelled out what it means to respect your husband.

For example, I didn’t know what it meant to nag my husband. Proverbs 21:9 says that it’s better for your husband to live on the corner of your roof than with a nagging wife. Yikes! I was tempted to make life miserable without even meaning to. God taught me to pray instead of nag. So I’m grateful I came across this early in our marriage but before marriage would have been even better!

What have you learned since you’ve been married?
So much! One thing is just letting it sink in that life’s not about me, it’s about God. When we think of “Happily Ever After” too often we make Prince Charming into someone who dotes on us day and night. You wouldn’t even want a marriage like that. I’ve learned what it means to consider someone else more significant that myself and how difficult it is to do that every single day. But it’s beautiful and receiving forgiveness when I don’t is beautiful too.

What's your secret to a happy marriage?
Keeping God most important is a big thing and puts everything else in perspective. When we disagree or have an argument about something I need to focus on my responsibility, not my husband’s. Even if it was only 10% my fault, that 10% is 100% something I need to deal with.

What’s the best part about being married?
Eric’s my best friend, I love sharing life with him.

*Want to tell us about your marriage? Drop us an email, we'd love to share your story!

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Andrea Cooley

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