Things I’ve learned in 15 years of marriage


Rick and I celebrated our 15th anniversary last week.

Here’s what it looked like: the dog and I were driving home from dropping the kids off at school when I spotted a familiar figure walking down the street. Remembering the date, I pulled over and wished him a Happy Anniversary. He came over to the driver-side window and gave me a kiss. I went home and re-financed the mortgage.

Fifteen years is a long time in a life and in the world. When we were married in 2002, wedding invitations were always cream colored, George W. Bush was president, and no one had ever heard the terms “social media” or ISIS. Half the country still had landlines. Everyone else had flip phones.

We ourselves have changed, too, in these years. Here are a few things I’ve learned:

  • Goetsch is not, in fact, a lateral move from Carlson.

Continue reading “Things I’ve learned in 15 years of marriage”

Becoming Mrs. Goetsch


My husband’s parents were married in 1964. Over fifty two years, they built a family—three sons and eventually five grandchildren. And they built a life—a home on six acres, leadership in 4H and the literacy council, church involvement, neighborhood friendships, holiday traditions, ways of doing things.

One chapter of their book closed with my mother-in-law’s death on April 26th. Neighbors, friends, and relatives came to honor that long chapter at her funeral.

As they did so, I watched a new chapter open. My widowed father-in-law silently invited his sons and daughters-in-law to become leaders in the family. The change was palpable. We were now among the grown-ups; expectations were set accordingly.

Continue reading “Becoming Mrs. Goetsch”

Make way for cackling

Some people think you have to earn joy. They believe that before you can do something fun, you have to do something hard. Before you get to do things that delight you, you need to do things that feel like work.

I disagree. I think that philosophy makes your life a drudgery. Sure, there are tasks that must be done, and it helps to set out rewards for ourselves for doing them. The taxes must be filed, so I may need to promise myself a salted caramel if I press through them.

I do not think, however, that life is best lived as a series of chores that must be completed before we can have any fun. As if we are Cinderella toiling in the scullery waiting for a crust of bread from our stingy stepmother. Continue reading “Make way for cackling”

What the ICU Taught Me About Marriage


When I vowed to love Rick “in sickness and in health,” I found the words romantic.  Like many brides, I had some vague idea that long marriages always end up involving difficult times, but I had only the dimmest understanding of what I was actually promising.

We made it seven years before I learned what it means to have and to hold in sickness.  Continue reading “What the ICU Taught Me About Marriage”