Guest Blogger Jen Madiar on Love, Marriage and Life

Marriage is tough.

I wasn’t big into princess gear growing up, but somewhere along the way I became utterly intrigued by the big white dress, fanciful stuff and the idea of living happily ever after. In my ‘social’ 20’s, I had the luxury (?) of going out on many dates with many characters, from my landlord’s son to a friend’s Client. {I plead the fifth.} And I made quite a few mistakes along the way, but each relationship got me closer to the utopian vision of The Husband. When I met Eric in my late 20s, I knew much better what I wanted and needed from a relationship. We loved each other, the timing was right, and after several years of dating, we made the faith-filled leap to being husband and wife in July of 2005.

Our wedding day was amazing and beautiful and everything we could have imagined. But before the ink dried on all those thank you’s, it became clear that we were navigating un-chartered territory. We had surrounded ourselves with friends and family at our wedding whose relationships we cherished – and admired. Soon after, some of those relationships started to crumble. We wondered why, never wanting to pry but also wanting to support them and learn something from their experiences along the way.

“Marriage is tough,” several said. “You’ll see.”

We bought the house and settled into our careers and along came babies. Now, see, I think that’s when marriage got tough. Kids, those adorable little beings, can sometimes steal sleep and collarbones and money and pheromones. Then loved ones started dying and careers changed and money got tight and throw in a brain aneurysm for good measure, and well, stop the madness! Is this what our friends alluded to when they said marriage is tough? With every marriage that crumbled around us, we had The Conversation. “Could it happen to us?” “What can we do better?” “Why do some marriages work and others don’t?”

The magazines tell us to go out on a weekly date night or read 50 Shades of Grey aloud or take special time for our partner every day. That really sounds lovely in theory, but more realistically we send each other broken texts, share two-minute phone calls and exchange pleasantries in passing. We also have a bi-annual kid-free vacation, occasionally go out to eat with other grownups and more often than not, sleep in the same bed. On a great day, we have uninterrupted and meaningful conversation, laugh, and take stock of the good that we have. And so far, this has worked for us. With three little kids this is, to put it mildly, not always easy. But we are a team, and beyond that, we are a family. We do not always like each other, but we do always love each other.

So here we are on our seven year anniversary, and I warned Eric I was going to embarrass him. Ready? I love that my husband is a hard worker, and that he has made it possible to have those three little kids. I love his hearty laugh and his ability to recognize when I am right. I love that he has always made me feel like his equal and that we are in this together. I love that his brain is healthy and that he reads intellectual books with fancy philosophical titles while I lie next to him and read People Magazine. But most of all, I love that he loves me. And trust me, there’s more of me to love than on my wedding day.

Yes, marriage is tough. But I’m so glad that I found the person I was meant to share the journey with. Seven years in, many more to go, much to learn, and so very much to be thankful for.


Submitted by Springfield Moms contributor Jennifer Handrich Madiar who is a Wisconsin Badger, Green Bay Packer rooting mom of three kids ages five and under. In her previous life, she worked in Advertising, then Education, then Marketing. Now she combines the three and has added at least 271 additional areas of expertise in her current job of Mom. She, her husband and their family live in Springfield, Illinois.


Share Button


  1. J Handrich says:

    How beautiful, Jennifer. You continue to have such a wonderful way with words. Blessings on you both.

  2. C Conklin says:

    Very well said Jennifer, having a great partner can make all the difference in the crazy world of marriage.

  3. Mike Diggins says:

    Awesome, Jen! very neat reflections. I was nodding my head in agreement to many parts of this! Happy Anniversary. It gets much easier 4 years from now (our kids are 9, 7, 5). just kidding! Hope to meet the fam sometime soon!

  4. Shelli Haferbecker says:

    Love the article Jen! It is so true and you write so so nice. I’m very happy for you.

  5. Marsha Adams says:

    Jen! Thank you for sharing your story and Jack with Allison and me. Eric and you make it all look simple. It is good for other couples to realize marriage can be a struggle but if you truly work at it, you will make it. I loved your story

Leave a Comment