I Love Jesus and My Marriage is a Hot Mess 1

I Love Jesus and My Marriage is a Hot Mess

Oh marriage, you and your nonsense, romance, and folly.

My husband, Justin and I are coming up on our 25th wedding anniversary.

He was 22 when we met.

I thought he was wise for his years – he had facial hair and could buy beer legally.

[clickToTweet tweet=”I thought he was wise for his years – he had facial hair and could buy beer legally.” quote=”I thought he was wise for his years – he had facial hair and could buy beer legally.”]

Wranglers and worn work boots, he said stuff like, “slide on over pumpkin,” and “Blondie, that’s some nice pink paint on your pretty toes.”


It was only recently that I learned that he thought the words to our wedding march, played on a cassette tape of Amy Grant, were SKY WORD… like we were super heroes.  It was in fact, THY WORD.

Never the less, the wedding vows took and here we are together longer than we were apart, nearly 25 years later.

And it’s been an interesting 25 years.

Until he met me he’d never seen the ocean, left the country, or eaten Mormon potatoes.

Until I met him I’d never made out with someone with a moustache… or eaten bologna gravy.

We are a passionate people, he is nearly completely German.  I am Scottish-Norwegian.  We fight like a Nazi and a Viking, with yelling and insults to our great grandparent’s customs and character.

He likes Star Trek.

I am firmly committed to Star Wars.

[clickToTweet tweet=”He likes #StarTrek. I am firmly committed to #StarWars” quote=”He likes #StarTrek. I am firmly committed to #StarWars”]

Lately, we haven’t been getting along.  And not because he refuses to understand how much better Han Solo is than Captain Kirk.

This is common sense.  Kirk tries to be cool, Han is flat out cool.  I don’t understand; the graphics are lame, and the depth of the Trilogy far outweighs the simplicity of Star Trek.

I digress.

Here is where I could list a mountain of trespasses against Justin, if I wanted to, I could make them laugh out loud funny.

But, I won’t.

If he were a writer… or had more than a few sentences to express on any given day, I feel certain he would have a few things to say about me too.

This is where we are.  Amid foster-care trauma, missing our recruit-baby, exponential changes, albeit positive, to his company, book writing, chasing the vandals, our 3 and 5-year-old sons, wedding planning, baby burping, doctorate school registration, potty-training, and ranch maintenance – we aren’t getting along.

We aren’t Chip and Joanna. Donald and Melania. Or the Captain and Tennille.

We are Justin and Jami.

This is how we roll, at least in the current season.

Perhaps we should look better.  I know,  I am a fraud.  Why would you want to read what I am writing if all I have is complaints?  Am I not studying for a doctorate degree in Marriage Counseling?

No, it’s not in shambles.  Yes, we know how to be better.  But honestly, what’s wrong with a season of ick?  Certainly, there’s concern all will be lost, but I think we are better than that.

He’s my friend.

Granted, I have a couple of places I can think of that would be ideal locations to hide a body, but truly –  I would miss him.  And every morning I treat my skin and attempt to make it soft and youthful.  I paint on red lips and curl my hair.  I wear the same perfume I always wear… sometimes he notices.

It occurs to me we live in a hurry up and fix it society that doesn’t appreciate the rough patches.  The seasons of grief – where we are one, but separate.  Of course, I want things to run a little smoother and be more amicable… but I am not panicked.

Again, my God reveals to me the blessing of the seasons.

At my worst, I am still loved.

At his worst, I still love.

Decidedly, egos and buttheadedness seem to be a priority, but one or the other is also quite quick to point out, “Hey, this is getting out of hand.

My grief for what we have lost and what we are losing are different than what Justin is experiencing.  And it doesn’t say in the bible that we must do everything together?  Grief is personal.  God is personal.

My shelves probably contain the formula where we might be fixed, and yes… most certainly a pastor might stop by and insist I submit.

But I know Justin.

He doesn’t want some passive wallflower that nods her head and spits amen.

He wants me.

We are a family.

We live in the same house.

We parent the same banshees.

We know the same God.

Right now, we also have our grief.  We know when to walk away and when to slide over.  And I have every confidence we will grow old together, and even more, every blessed assurance God is with us – and for us.

Perhaps someday I’ll look back and regret that we weren’t sweeter and more in tune now, in this time and season… But I propose we will look back and acknowledge… that was hard, and here we are.   The cooperate church and BIG Jesus have a list of things to do to fix me, while they inadvertently pick my marriage to death and then assign it certain failings.

I propose we instead – rest.

I submit to the fallacy of submission only in that I am willing to cry out, “UNCLE.”

In the urgency to bring sexy back or the terror of believing that all is lost, I desire to calmly step into a state of surrender where belief is the only requirement.

No threats.

No counseling.

No… “OMG!!!  We must behave as teenagers and whisper sweet nothings or we will pay for our betrayal and all will know the truth – we suck.”

Furthermore, this is where I believe our marriages are most failed by the teaching of a nasty and wrathful God, with his hell fire and brimstone. That God is not the God I know.  You can’t convince me otherwise.

He knows me.

He knows Justin.

He likes us.

He loves us.

He is for us.

He is a God of restoration if we let Him accomplish the work we are incapable of in our humanness.

It’s a marathon… not a sprint.  This journey, this relationship – this marriage doesn’t have to look or behave like a romantic comedy.  Granted, it’s one for the books, it is unpredictable, volatile, and fragile.

There are high speed chases, murder plots, arrest warrants, treasures, romance, intrigue, and mystery!

“Who the &*^% left the lid off the milk again???” and “What is this sticky blue stuff all over the cat????”

When did the repair fall to me and this man?  When were our feeble attempts to successfully “fix” anything without Jesus effective?

Not once.

I love him better now than I did when I was 19.  But I am only human.  To date, the road has only gotten bumpier, and I am tired of being tired.  More, I am tired of thinking the battle is mine.  Desperate is always pitiable.  This damsel in distress sits in the high tower, hands tied and unwilling to tug at the ropes burrowing into my less than dainty writs.

To submit isn’t necessarily to give in or give up, instead it is to tumble into the place where I finally rest in the Great and Merciful Healer’s loving embrace.

This morning sitting at my vanity, I curled my hair, lashes, and primed my lips, a lump rose in my throat.  Today is a long visit for our foster love; we are nearing the end.  I had heated words with one of the semi-adult-babies.  I must drive Justin’s monster diesel truck into town for the whole day, the lady-baby has my car. I know this is hardly an issue for some, but this truck/beast is freaking enormous and fickle as a two-year-old who lost his woobie.  I miss the recruit-baby, we aren’t even half way to Bootcamp graduation.  I am altogether weepy. I let out a little whimper out as I applied another coat of waterproof mascara… “Jesus… help.”

Immediately I noticed Justin stood in the doorway with a chair from our room.  Coffee in hand and vandals on his heels, he inquired, “Can we sit and visit while you get ready?”

Far from perfect.

Less than romantic.

Broken and weary… certainly not the end – a long shot from the beginning I replied…

“Sure, slide on over.”

May your floors be sticky and your calling ordained. Love, Jami

There are three things that are too amazing for me, four that I do not understand: the way of an eagle in the sky, the way of a snake on a rock, the way of a ship on the high seas, and the way of a man with a woman. Proverbs 30:18-19


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  1. Dawn on April 23, 2017 at 12:33 pm

    Love this post! Thanks for being real! Prayers sent your way that things feel smoother by the end of the day!

    • jami_amerine on April 23, 2017 at 12:38 pm

      Aw! Thanks Dawn!

  2. Glenna McKelvie on April 23, 2017 at 1:03 pm

    About the 25th year of my (our) marriage, I thought I wiuld
    drown from pressures and problems! Going on 48 years of
    marriage, life is a breeze!

  3. Barb on April 23, 2017 at 1:05 pm

    wow, I so needed this post this morning….I especially feel the part about “the seasons of grief, when we are one, but separate” . That about says it all for us recently. We are mourning the life that we thought that we would have as my husband’s Parkinson’s begins a to win again after a reprieve with brain surgery ….now is again winning after 21 years. I feel us separating into our own sense of loss, it is different for each of us. 35 years of marriage and we are still fighting it together, but somehow separately. Hope that you both can come back together for each other.

    • jami_amerine on April 23, 2017 at 8:27 pm

      Praying for you.

  4. Julie Richmond on April 23, 2017 at 1:55 pm

    He is definitely for you and Justin! Blessings for a beautiful day my friend!

  5. Joyce on April 23, 2017 at 2:27 pm

    This is one of the best posts I’ve ever read on coping with the day-to-day dealings of marriage! We’re coming up on 34 years in a couple of weeks. I told hubby a few years ago that we might as well stay together because there isn’t another person in the world that would be able to live with either of us LOL. I could also not blindly submit as he has such trouble making decisions about anything. With God in the equation, it’s not easy, but easier to work things through. You’re going through a lot lately, and I would be pulling my hair out trying to cope. It’s good to know each other’s failings and to prop the other one up when necessary. Hold on, things will get better!

    • jami_amerine on April 23, 2017 at 8:28 pm


  6. Tonya Frantz on April 23, 2017 at 3:18 pm

    Thank you so much for your candidness and honesty. I know it will be helpful to many. And as you said…God is for you, and our God is a God of restoration. Praying for your mama heart and for your marriage. Blessings.

  7. Kathy on April 23, 2017 at 6:47 pm

    I love the openness and rawness of this post. I read it out loud to my husband. We are going to be celebrating 26 years this year. That fostering is not for the faint of heart. We did it despite all the warnings from people we looked up to. We did it because God asked us to. It about shook us to our core. We are still on the journey of growing and learning what God wants us to know. We are almost 8 years since we started that journey. It is still hard, but has become manageable. He is faithful and He is good. And, He is on our side. Hang on. I’ll pray for you.

    • jami_amerine on April 23, 2017 at 8:28 pm

      Thank you. And I you.

  8. Debbie Fox on April 23, 2017 at 6:56 pm

    Wow, did I need this today! So many similarities of where my husband & I are in our 26th year of marriage. Big stuff, little stuff (I have been having to drive the suburban, which I hate, because our daughter’s car is in the shop & she’s using mine)…it’s all icky right now. Good perspective. Thanks for sharing.

    • jami_amerine on April 23, 2017 at 8:29 pm

      Thank you.

  9. Brandi on April 23, 2017 at 11:26 pm

    I feel as though fter reading enough of your blog posts that I can call you friend 🙂
    So I want to share some tidbits with you that I got at my women’s retreat this week. Most of it I got from John 12:1-9 when Mary anoints Jesus with perfume using her hair. Something about her bravery reminds me of you. Here are some tidbits of encouraging words for you.
    She was brace
    She was secure in His presence
    She did what she could
    She had an eternal perspective
    She did not let the expectations of others weigh her down
    He was her advocate not her advisory
    He convicted but did not condemn
    He is her defender

    • jami_amerine on April 24, 2017 at 3:57 am


  10. Terry K. on April 24, 2017 at 6:10 am

    The struggle is part of the blessing. Steel that is tested is so much stronger than the untested. Hold on to each other, for this too shall pass, as long as the love is still there. <3

  11. Lisa on April 24, 2017 at 6:15 am

    This was amazing. Such eloquent writing, with a measure of truth I have never read (but greatly needed). Thank you.

    • jami_amerine on April 24, 2017 at 6:46 am

      Thank you Lisa.

  12. elizabeth edens on April 24, 2017 at 6:35 am

    Yes, yes, yes….love it. It is so true!

    • jami_amerine on April 24, 2017 at 6:46 am


  13. Monica on April 24, 2017 at 11:22 am

    So needed to hear this today. We’ve been together 14, married 12, and have a 13 year old. We’ve not taken in foster kids…we take in the college aged ones aged out of the system, ran away from abusive homes, or kicked out for being who they are instead of who their parents wanted them to be. We struggle. This year my son’s migraines switched from occasional to chronic, leaving me unable to work and be there for him. Or to drive the abused 21 year old to the doctor. Or to sit up all night with the young Vet with PTSD at 22. I know we are exactly where God wants us, but it’s hard. And just when I think I can’t do it anymore, he comes home on his lunch break from work with a slush and says, “come sit with me”. And we keep going.

    • jami_amerine on April 24, 2017 at 11:27 am

      #slideonover ❤️

  14. Jenn on April 24, 2017 at 2:06 pm

    Oh, Jami, I love this and you! So real. I’ll bet Chip and Joanna, Donald and Melania, and the Captain and Tennille could relate too. No relationship is always rainbows and puppy dogs. We all have our seasons and we must embrace them and lean on Jesus to carry us through. I feel like hubby and I are in a slump lately – needed this today.
    He is for you. He is for your marriage. Speaking your own words of life and love to you today.

  15. Tracy on April 24, 2017 at 7:54 pm

    Every season has a lesson. I feel you on this. Hugs!

  16. Kim on April 25, 2017 at 9:51 am

    23 1/2 years in here – high school sweethearts, married right after my college graduation, and life is HARD.
    Four kids, ages 19 to 4. One in college, one in preschool, one of the middles adopted internationally (read: orphanage care and developmental trauma). Financial & relational pressures, aging parents – it’s no wonder we are having a tough time.
    Being this far in is like swimming in the middle of the ocean – we left shore a long time ago, and there is no land in sight, and we don’t even agree on which direction to swim.
    Will we make it? Absolutely. It’s just not easy. Thank you for TRUTH. I can relate so well, I had tears as I read this.

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  18. Larry Johnson on April 30, 2017 at 1:56 pm

    When each of you wake up each morning ask yourself, “What can I do to make today a better day for my spouse?”

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  21. Marsha Bell on May 11, 2017 at 4:44 pm

    I loved when I heard a church lady say something to the effect of, “Submission is ducking low enough so you don’t get hit with the shrapnel when God smites your husband.” My hubby keeps his Kevlar body armor close at hand to avoid my shrapnel

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