Celebrating 32 Years: Discovering a Better Dream for Our Marriage

March 5, 2024

Joanna Teigen

By the time March rolls around in Michigan, we’re more than ready for spring to arrive. The melted snow leaves behind a brown and gloomy landscape, and we’re anxious to pack up the heavy coats and feel some sun on our faces. But for Rob and I, March still puts a little “spring” into our lives as we celebrate our wedding anniversary!

This month we reach the milestone of 32 years of marriage. We’re realizing that our dream is coming true of growing old together! But as we think back to 1992, we realize that our dream underestimated what God really had in mind for us (and for your marriage too!). We don’t just want to mark the passage of time, we want to grow more mature as a couple in each year that goes by.

This anniversary, we’re not just grateful for 32 years. We’re grateful that God has grown and changed us along the way.

We could share how we’re not quite so stubborn or selfish.
How we eased up the pressure to have it all together.
How we move through conflict or make decisions as a team.
How we’re more faithful to pray together
Or how we put a higher priority on quality time.

All those are true—and we’ve got lots left to learn! But this anniversary we’re especially grateful for God’s work to grow compassion in our relationship. 

God knew that compassion is the heart attitude that sustains a marriage. In Colossians 3, He folds the word “compassion” into a description of what love looks like:

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. (Colossians 3:12-14)

“Compassion is the heart attitude that sustains a marriage.”

Here are three gifts that compassion brings to a husband and wife:

1) The Gift of Empathy

When we show compassion, we acknowledge one another’s pain. Instead of asking our partner to put on a brave face or “fake it ‘til they make it,” we offer a safe space to share life’s hurts and stress, fears and disappointments. Compassion guards our hearts from critical spirits that would shame each other for difficult emotions. It says, “When you hurt, I hurt too.” By showing compassion, we know we never have to carry the emotional load alone. 

2) The Gift of Partnership

Compassion doesn’t just feel with our spouse; it comes alongside to help. When one is weak or exhausted, the other can encourage rest and take some work off their plate. It offers backup when the kids are testing limits or the boundaries you set around your home are being challenged. Compassion sees your spouse’s insecurities and offers affirmation and encouragement. It sacrifices time and resources so your partner can pursue their hopes and goals. Compassion says, “I’m on your side and you can lean on me no matter what.”

3) The Gift of Forgiveness

Compassion begins with knowing to our core that we need compassion, too. We have failed and sinned. We need our Savior Jesus to reconcile us to God. We depend on His power and promises to set us free and make us new. The compassion of God changes everything.

Over the past 32 years, we have learned that as we rest in the generous love and mercy of God, we’re able to show compassion to the one we love. We choose to forgive. We offer second chances and refuse to hold a grudge. We see one another as people in process and anticipate the best that’s yet to come. Instead of demanding payback, we release one another and begin again. Compassion keeps us tender instead of hardening our hearts against one another. And as we forgive, we keep the door wide open to God’s grace in our lives.

Today, we pray for compassion to saturate your marriage. Let’s praise God for all the ways He’s growing our relationships and revealing the beauty of His compassion toward us all.


A Prayer for Today



You “are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness” (Psalm 86:15). We pray you will breathe a fresh spirit of compassion into our marriage. Teach us what it means to bear with each other, to forgive when we fail, and to cherish one another in every way. Grow our love across the days and years we share.



Questions for Reflection

  • How have you experienced God’s kindness or compassion in this past month?
  • What is one practical way you could lighten the load for your spouse today?
  • Has God revealed anything that you’re holding against your spouse?
  • Name one positive emotion and one negative emotion that your spouse has expressed recently. What was the source of those feelings? How might you invite them to share more?

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