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Marriage is a journey you travel with someone. It’s not always perfect but that’s okay. We are meant to grow together and get better at being “better people for each other.” I am glad Troy and I haven’t had it all figured out since the beginning of “us.” What a boring story we would have to tell you now if we were always perfectly in love and never fighting! It’s the victories in the tough struggles that give hope.  

Here are the Top 3 Battles I’ve fought in marriage:

1. Fighting Over Preference vs. Principle - The Battle of Parmesan

Not even married a few months, I found myself in tears outside of our local grocery store. I had stormed out with conviction that Troy was being unfair and stubborn. He wanted to buy the cheap pre-grated Kraft parmesan cheese. I wanted to buy the freshly grated stuff that cost a few good dollars more. He refused and called me crazy for wanting to spend so much money on cheese. I refuted and called him a dictator, squelching my rights to quality parmesan. Neither of us would budge on the matter.

We have learned and continue to learn to discern matters of preference over matters of principle when we argue. Basically, in a nutshell, we are learning to choose our battles wisely. This has helped us tremendously in our marriage. If Troy believes that only Heinz ketchup is worthy of our table, then it’s Heinz ketchup always and only. It’s his preference. It’s not a principle. Therefore it’s not really worth the debate. Same is true for my precious freshly grated parmesan, by the way.

 There have been times where we had to hash it out over matters of principle - like how we handled church conflict, parenting issues, money management, etc. There are certain “principles” we need to fight for to be on the same page. Time must be spent on discussing and praying about how we address these principles together. We need to think alike and respond alike to those principles. We don’t need to think alike or respond alike to our preferences. Life is too short and love is too important to argue over parmesan.

2. Busyness Killing Off Romance - The Battle of Just Two Seconds  

  “I’ll be up  in just two seconds. I need to finish this email,” I shout up the stairs.

Two seconds turns into two minutes which turns into a good forty-five minutes. By the time I make it up to my bedroom, my husband is asleep soundly in our bed.

If I am going to be straight up honest with you, busyness is still quite a struggle for me. I have a terrible time saying “no.” This is an area that God has His finger on at the moment and I am more aware than ever that my “busy schedule” has at times squelched the romance in my marriage. As sad as it is to admit, there have been a few “Date Nights” that have taken a backseat to what needed to get done. I am currently unlearning this bad habit and instead trying to submit my schedule to my husband. I don’t mean this in a “subservient” kind of way but more in the way of accountability.

Does my schedule make room for romance and connection to happen within my marriage? Asking this question and inviting my husband to be a part of this conversation is important.

3. Living Only in the Identity of Motherhood - The Battle of Mom Jeans

I am checking my phone constantly.

“Do you think the school pick up went fine?” I nervously ask Troy. We were away together at a wedding and I was worrying about whether the babysitter had picked up the kids from school.

Troy takes my hand, “I am sure it went fine.”

 Ten minutes go by and I am pacing:

“I hope Silas did alright on his spelling test. I tested him yesterday and he had trouble with one word.”

 Again, he consoles me, “He did great. Don’t worry about it.”

Not even a minute later and I say, “Olive is wanting to invite more friends to her birthday party. What do you think about this? I am not sure if our living room can hold 20 little girls, but I would hate for anyone to feel left out.”

Finally he speaks up, “I was hoping to enjoy this day with my wife and not just the mother of my children.”

At first, I think he is being cheeky, but then I remember that I am not just the mother of his two kids but I am the girl he fell in love with 15 years ago. I forget that often and have allowed the conversation that happens between us to almost always revolve around our kids.

 Hey, the hard truth is that kids do take up a lot of brain space for moms. This is why I need to be intentional to create conversation that includes all aspects of our lives. I need to ask Troy about what he has been reading…what song he likes on the radio…where he would like to travel…what he has been dreaming about lately. You know, all those questions you ask when you are dating and smitten by love. I need to tell him the things that I appreciate in him and the strengths I see in his character. Again, this is not something I have mastered, but something I am continually working on.  If all we talk about is the kids…well then, what in the world will we talk about when the kids are all grown up and out of the house?

I am not just the mother of my husband’s children, but I am the love his life.<<Click to Tweet

I think I would be a lot more fun to be around if I remembered that.

Fight hard for your marriage. And work toward winning the battles together. Your story will give hope to somebody out there.


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Noelle Rhodes is married to her best friend, Troy, and mama to two of the most hilarious human beings to exist: Silas and Olive Pearl. She and her family reside in Derry/Londonderry, Northern Ireland, as missionaries. When she is not wrangling her children or beating her husband in a game of Scrabble, you would probably find her doing laundry. 

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