On My 30th Anniversary: My Husband Is a Good Man

by | Dec 21, 2021 | Uncategorized | 22 comments

Merchandise is Here!

Thirty years ago I made the best decision of my life–but I really didn’t understand that at the time.

I don’t know how a 21-year-old can truly realize how important the choice of mate is. It’s so easy to think that love is all you need–and I did love Keith. It’s so easy to think that life will always be an exciting adventure, and that you will always feel so desperate to be together the way you do when you are dating.

You don’t realize that’s actually not the powerful stuff. 

The kind of love that lasts through decades, that adjusts to foibles, that shares the deepest memories and pains and joys–that’s the powerful stuff. 

I honestly can’t imagine my life without Keith.

In some ways we still grate on each other. I take his water bottle all the time, even though he likes cold water and he really hates it when it’s not in the fridge when he wants it. (I have two of my own, but I always leave them all over the house and can never find them). If he goes on errands, he will always forget at least one thing, even if he writes it down. He gets super grumpy when he’s driving and I’m supposed to be giving directions–because I get super grumpy when I’m trying to figure out where we are.

He’d rather go to bed earlier than me, and get up earlier, but we compromise. He hates fish, and I love it, so I rarely make it and I miss that. I absolutely adore ballroom dancing, and he tolerates it, but he does it for me anyway.

We had a rough first few years–not because we didn’t love each other, but because we had some major adjustments to make.

And then we had a huge tragedy when our son died.

But somehow working through those things just showed us that it’s so much easier together than it is apart, even with everyone’s foibles.

And yet I know that is not the case for every couple. And so I am grateful I have him.

We raised two girls together, and we truly loved it.

When I think back to the happiest years of my life, I would hands down say it was when the girls were 3-10. We just had so much fun. We had fun friends. While Keith worked a ton, we weren’t too busy as a couple. We were homeschooling, and all the teenage drama hadn’t started yet, and I just truly enjoyed my daughters.

Now they are grown and they have each married good men, and I have more time to do the things I feel called to do, and it is draining. Life is not easy the way it was twenty years ago.

And yet Keith is still here and he has become my support. While I was his support when he was doing 10 calls a month, and not sleeping very much, because our hospital was so chronically understaffed; when he was called at Katie’s third birthday party because a shaken baby had been brought in and was actively dying (he later did; I will always remember little Tyler’s name); when he just could never relax because the pager could go off at any minute–I tried to keep everything running smoothly, and I did.

A few times I answered the pager; when he was just too exhausted and ready to collapse, and I would tell the person at the other end of the line that if they wanted him there tomorrow, they needed to leave him alone tonight. Not often, but when he was ready to break.

Today it is Keith who is keeping things running smoothly. Who runs interference for me. Who is helping me keep perspective when I’m down. Who is helping me talk through things as we go on walks at the end of a hard day. Who took on all the laundry!

Who is helping me not give up, even when I’m tired.

Who makes me laugh.

Sometimes I have a hard time talking about how awesome my husband is, because I know so many of my readers don’t have that.

Even right now I’m embroiled in a controversy on social media because our newest study found that roughly half of Christian men use porn currently, and some abuse advocates feel that our study was a personal betrayal, because the number is higher and we’re distorting it.

I know the pain that so many feel because their husband isn’t a good man.

Why did I get a good man while others didn’t? That’s a hard one to answer. And I truly don’t know.

But he is a good man. And there are so many more good men that I know. Men who love their wives, who love their kids, who are responsible with their time, their money. Who want to honor their commitments. Who want to make the world a better place.

I am so grateful my husband is chief among those.

Thirty years is a long time. 

Sometimes we don’t have much to talk about. I already know it all. He already knows it all. There’s really nothing new. And so instead we dream about the next few years. We talk about our favourite memories. Where we’d like to go next (if we’re ever allowed to go anywhere again; three days ago we cancelled our thirtieth anniversary cruise). 

We dream about watching our grandchildren grow up and the role that we will play in their lives. We talk about old friends and new ones; we think about our parents and our families and how things may look different in a decade or two.

And unspoken there’s always the question: I wonder how long we will have together? 

I pray that it’s another thirty years, because I will never find another Keith. 

And so today we’re going to hold each other close and remember a little boy who isn’t with us anymore, and celebrate a new little girl who is. 

We will think about the two kids who married in 1991 and didn’t have a clue about life–and how somehow we grew together and made each other better people.

I would not be who I am without Keith. He has healed so many wounds deep inside me, just by loving me. I hope I have done the same for him. 

And I love him, dearly.

PS: Many have asked how they can support us at this time.

And I really appreciate the question! And all the notes of encouragement I’ve been sent over the last week.

Of course, buy The Great Sex Rescue for everyone you know! Give one to your pastor, your seminary professor, your women’s ministry leader. Pre-order The Good Guy’s Guide to Great Sex (if you’re going to buy it anyway, pre-ordering helps us immensely!). 

And you can also join our Patreon for as little as $5 a month. That money supports Joanna and Rebecca as they try to do more research and get into peer reviewed journals, and they’re both really tired right now. 

And finally, pray for us for encouragement and rest! We’re going into a busy season, and we feel a little beaten up. But there is much to do, and together we are all making a difference and changing the conversation around sex and marriage in the evangelical church.

Sheila Wray Gregoire

Sheila Wray Gregoire

Founder of Bare Marriage

Sheila is determined to help Christians find biblical, healthy, evidence-based help for their marriages. And in doing so, she's turning the evangelical world on its head, challenging many of the toxic teachings, especially in her newest book The Great Sex Rescue. She’s an award-winning author of 8 books and a sought-after speaker. With her humorous, no-nonsense approach, Sheila works with her husband Keith and daughter Rebecca to create podcasts and courses to help couples find true intimacy. Plus she knits. All the time. ENTJ, straight 8

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Sheila Wray Gregoire

Author at Bare Marriage

Sheila is determined to help Christians find biblical, healthy, evidence-based help for their marriages. And in doing so, she's turning the evangelical world on its head, challenging many of the toxic teachings, especially in her newest book The Great Sex Rescue. She’s an award-winning author of 8 books and a sought-after speaker. With her humorous, no-nonsense approach, Sheila works with her husband Keith and daughter Rebecca to create podcasts and courses to help couples find true intimacy. Plus she knits. All the time. ENTJ, straight 8

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22 Comments

  1. CMT

    Congratulations!

    This made me laugh:

    “ A few times I answered the pager; when he was just too exhausted and ready to collapse, and I would tell the person at the other end of the line that if they wanted him there tomorrow, they needed to leave him alone tonight”

    I feel that! There were definitely times when my husband wanted to do things like that for me, but I wouldn’t let him because I was afraid of getting in trouble haha.

    Reply
  2. Jen

    Congratulations on this big anniversary! To make it this far AND be happy shows an awesome commitment to each other and to health. Enjoy your day!!

    Reply
  3. Erin M

    Happy Anniversary!! I love hearing the love stories of happy couples! Maybe you should write your love story in a book someday. I’d read it!! I, too, am married to an incredibly good man. And I understand what you mean when you say it’s healing to be loved by a good man. I was shattered when we married. My ex turned out to be a child molester and went to prison and left me broken and traumatized with 3 little boys to raise without any support from him. Early in my marriage to my now husband I wondered at times if I was just too broken for our marriage to last. But he is solid and steady and loved me truly and deeply as I healed. He saw through my brokenness to the real me and waited it out. He is gentle and patient and he too is great with managing his time and money. He’s currently working long hours and working on a college degree and still makes sure he keeps time open for me and our 5 kids. (He adopted the older 3 boys 2 years ago.) We will celebrate 11 years on 1-1. I know what you mean not always feeling like you can share your happiness when you feel the suffering all around you. But I’m sure you feel that gratitude and love in your heart every single day. I know I do even when I refrain from shouting it from the rooftops like I really want to. We all know you probably wouldn’t be doing all this amazing work without your husband’s support so we are grateful to him too. Again, Happy Anniversary! I hope you can put all the ugliness aside and enjoy a day full of love and gratitude and happiness.

    Reply
  4. Cynthia

    Happy Anniversary!!

    I love this post. In some ways, it reminds me of my husband and I. I encounter so many bad marriages through my work, and then come home to a good husband.

    In some ways, I can see how good marriages to good men can be triggering for those who don’t have that. I can remember, for example, how it felt to see pregnant women and new babies when I kept having miscarriages. On the other hand, though, I feel like the existence of happy marriages to good men SHOULD trigger people; because the knowledge that better is possible should disturb people who have given up hope and think that being married means putting up with bad treatment. Those feelings may prompt people to expect better and make different choices about what they are willing to tolerate.

    Now, about giving directions: the Waze app basically saved my marriage.

    Reply
  5. Blessed

    I was married to a man who was verbally abusive,, never admitted any fault, never apologized and at one point declared he did not love me. I am still married to that same man today but he’s not the same man. He’s come to me and apologized for treating me the way he did, he gives me big bear hugs every day and tells me he loves me, and we pray together every morning. He thanks God for me daily.

    I just want to attest to the transforming work of God that is possible. My husband is the man I always wanted. Don’t give up praying for your husband’s ladies. With God all things are possible

    Reply
    • Anonymous305

      God only changes people who are willing. Instead of telling women to stay married no matter what, I’d tell women to pray for wisdom to know when to stay and when to leave.

      Reply
  6. Nathan

    What a beautiful story and anniversary! Happiness all around to everybody!

    Slightly off topic: You have a personality type of ENTJ. I’m pretty close at INTJ

    But happy anniversary to you and Keith! He really does sound like one of the good ones!

    Reply
  7. Anon

    Happy Anniversary! And never apologising for talking about what a good husband you have. Good husbands need to be celebrated – to show other men that it IS possible to be a good husband in spite of the many books telling them they ‘can’t help’ behaving badly; to show single women that they don’t have to settle for a man who treats them badly because there ARE good men out there and it’s worth waiting to find one; and to remind women who are NOT married to good men that what they are experiencing is not normal and they shouldn’t accept it like it is xxx

    Reply
  8. Kristen

    I love your more personal posts, Sheila. They’re so beautiful. Congratulations to you and Keith on reaching this milestone, and I hope you and the whole team have a merry Christmas!

    Reply
  9. Nathan

    And I love the black and white photos! Very nice!

    Reply
  10. Jane Eyre

    Happy anniversary!

    I cannot imagine what a happy marriage is like – mine was the biggest mistake I’ve made in my life – but am very happy for you both.

    Reply
  11. Mary

    Thank you for sharing what it looks like to be with a wonderful man. It gives me hope for my future. It actually blesses me to know there are loving couples out there. Hope y’all have a wonderful day and of course thank you so so much for all you do.

    Reply
  12. A2bbethany

    Yeah, when my sister finally told us the truth about her abusive husband, I had a lot of guilt. I had always assumed it would happen to me, because statically abused children, marry abusers. That likelihood grows without ever getting therapy and I never really did.
    I assume that God gave me a good husband and a good life, by teaching me through my alone time. And my research….once I learned that I’m at risk for falling into almost any kind of addicting bad behavior, I got very cautious!

    it feels weird that my 3 sisters have made more bad decisions than me! But I also try to stay humble and grateful for God sparing me from those mistakes.

    Reply
  13. Kelly G.

    Happy 30th Anniversary Sheila and Keith! Thank you for sharing your story. Thank you for fighting for us! Thank you for speaking up!! Thank you for not backing down when it’s gotten tough!

    I’m glad that I had the chance to meet the both of you in person!

    Enjoy the holidays. Merry Christmas!

    Reply
  14. Lee Ann

    Happy anniversary! My husband and I are celebrating our 40th anniversary next year with a trip to France, Lord willing. He is such a good man and I thank the Lord for him regularly.

    Reply
  15. Hannah

    Happy anniversary! I too have a wonderful marriage to a wonderful man, and I feel a little self-conscious talking about it. Everyone says marriage is SO HARD and it has always felt very easy to us. But as other commenters have pointed out, it’s important to share the good too, because people need to know that it exists and is worth striving for. There really are lots of fantastic men in the world and they deserve to have their stories told too.

    My husband and I were just talking about that today, as I’m pregnant and thus frequenting various pregnancy forums on social media. The steady stream of women posting about what is absolutely abusive behavior is just so discouraging. As my husband pointed out, if the bar were any lower it would fall through the earth’s mantle and come out in the other hemisphere. Every woman should have a man like Keith or my husband (if she wants one, that is!).

    Reply
  16. Catherine Armstrong

    What a beautiful tribute to your husband and your marriage. I really enjoyed reading it. Congratulations and Happy Anniversary!! A good marriage is such a blessing and an inspiration to others.

    Reply
  17. Elsie

    Happy Anniversary! What a beautiful testimony- love the photos! Hearing about great marriages is very encouraging to me as someone who is early in my marriage. Hope this holiday season is a time of rest and renewal for you and your team.

    Reply
  18. Marc

    Shiela,
    I am so glad to hear about your anniversary. I am glad you and Kieth set such an awesome example for what a healthy marriage should look like. You have both helped me immensely. I am thankful for your ministry. I have been married for 16 years and my marriage is a struggle to put it mildly, but you have both helped me to remain hopeful and positive that one day that may change. Thanks for all you do.

    Reply
  19. Lisa Manske

    Happy anniversary! I love the photos of the two of you!

    I am also married to an absolutely wonderful man. We had a LOT of growing to do when we got married (we were 22). But we grew together. Neither one of us let the other stay stuck in immaturity. We made a LOT of mistakes we both kept trying to be the best person we could be.

    Reply
  20. Mark

    Congrats on the 30th anniversary. Fantastic milestone and a great blessing! Thanks for the work you are doing. Some of the things I/we have learned from you has been transformative. We have been working through some things and have been putting in the work individually as well, and it is bearing beautiful fruit. We are very close again, and some of the things we have learned from you have been instrumental! Wishing you many blessings as a couple and also in your ministry.

    Reply
  21. Leah

    What you have shared is absolutely BEAUTIFUL♡♡♡
    The love that you & Keith share is blessed and an encouragement to me. I’m one of those gals who are older and haven’t married, but I still rejoice when a beautiful sister of mine is blessed with a good man because God knows what He is doing! He brought you two together and I’m blessed to see it! Thank you for your love for God, each other, your family, and the world!

    Reply

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