Marcus and Crystal Ryan

Marcus and Crystal Ryan.

Editor's note: National Marriage Week USA (Feb. 7 to 14) is a collaborative campaign to strengthen individual marriages, reduce the divorce rate, and build a culture that fosters strong marriages. This four-part article series are written by local residents and is sponsored by the Family and Marriage Coalition of Aiken Inc. (FAMCO). Contact Roger Rollins at 803-640-4689 or rogerrollins@atlanticbb.net.

This article is about Marcus and Crystal Ryan’s marriage story.

After seven years of being married the verse in the Bible from Amos 3:3 “How can two walk together unless they are agreed?” rings more true than ever. Who wants to walk through life together miserably? And a marriage where two walk separately is not marriage like God intended.

Four years ago we wrote an article on how the premarital training provided by FAMCO impacted our relationship. Since then we’ve had major changes and massive lessons learned.

We both lost our positions with a world class horse racing operation, only to see our one horse business grow to a string of near 20 thoroughbreds. It’s a tough industry and working side-by-side for long hours has its joys and its challenges. We could never be where we are if not for walking together with common goals in one heart and one mind.

We are so grateful to Roger and Barb Rollins for sharing their home, time, experience and wisdom with us. They not only stressed the importance of praying together, they made sure to lead us in it. You can’t be in one heart and mind unless you’re seeking the lord for his direction, and his way, and we do. He has never let us down.

It’s tough taking the time to pray when there are so many immediate pressing needs, just as it was hard to take the time to go to the premarital counseling years ago. But now the sacrifice seems so tiny compared to the huge gains. The sessions were the foundation for a loving marriage.

Not only is our business and working together challenging, we also have a daughter from a previous relationship and anyone knows how tough that can be. This was one of the issues we talked about during our premarital training and it’s nothing short of a miracle how our relationship has changed with our daughter’s biological dad. He’s even an investment partner in the sales horse side of the business. Truly nothing is impossible with God. Sometimes it takes getting a neutral, Godly person to shed some light on matters.

Another issue we discussed deeply was our finances. The aptitude assessment taken during the counseling showed us just how different the two of us looked at our finances. The premarital training showed us the middle ground where both our strengths met, and the weaknesses were left on the side of the road.

Another important lesson is to remember why you fell in love with that person and learning to show them your affection in their "love language." When times get tough be quick to forgive and accept forgiveness.

Do not expect that person to meet every need you have, and when you’re left feeling let down or frustrated, remember that only Jesus is able to understand you completely. Go to Him in prayer about it.

It never feels good to disagree or argue but when two people are trying to make one life together it’s bound to happen. The Prepare/Enrich assessment tool referred to above showed us where we are most likely to encounter problems (it was right.). It also gives you the tools to work through it, instead of just thinking you’re just wrong for each other and it’s best to split. For the times those tools aren’t sharp enough, always sharpen the tools with the Word of God. Go to the Word (Bible) together, and the peace, love and harmony will soon be back.