12 Year Anniversary (… and some GREAT things to do in Asheville, NC)

When I first met Matthew, the thing I liked the most about him was that he was different.

He was different from me.
He was different from my family.
And he was different from all the other guys I had ever been around.

And although we were young, I liked him and all of his differences SO much, I married him.

In the first year, we were both finishing school, working full-time and totally naive about how hard marriage could really be.  We quickly realized how being POLAR OPPOSITES  ‘different‘ wasn’t as fun and exciting as it was when we were dating.

So, like many of you have done, threatened to do or maybe just considered, I marched myself into a counselor’s office (with a huge chip on my shoulder) and went through a list of ways we were different:

  • He was obsessed with football.  Sports were never a part of my life.
  • A perfect day for me would include listening to Phantom of the Opera while driving to a book store.  Just having to suffer through one of those things would be torture for him.
  • He loves being outside.  I hate bugs and being hot.
  • He eats to live.  I live to eat.

(The list went on and on, but you get the point.)

I envisioned leaving her office with a list of things Matthew should change about himself.  Instead, I realized I had just paid for her to point out plenty of problems and issues that I had in my OWN life.  Although I wasn’t happy at the time, I left with the understanding that marriage can be hard and it takes a LOT of work to make it great.

And although we STILL had plenty of pointless arguments about whether boxed (aka: instant, orange-powered) mac & cheese was as good as the  “REAL” kind (aka: sharp cheddar cheese, eggs, milk, big noodles, more sharp cheese baked on the top), we started making some positive choices and changes in our marriage that helped us draw closer to one another and finally experience how GREAT marriage could really be.


So for our 12-year anniversary, I was beyond excited to truly CELEBRATE our marriage and enjoy Asheville with my favorite person.  I could go on and on about our weekend, but to sum-it-up…  It was PERFECT.

We ate GREAT food
We enjoyed INCREDIBLE dessert
We hiked a GORGEOUS trail…
Stayed in a BEAUTIFUL hotel...
Then, stayed in a cozy, private cottage with a hot tub on the porch

I left my camera in the car all weekend, but here’s a few from my phone…

Here’s just a few more off my phone…

Here’s our WONDERFUL (and inexpensive) meal at “Nine Mile“.  The meal on the left (“Raggy Road”:  $7.45) was grilled cajun tilapia with sauteed red, gold, & green peppers, squash & zucchini in a white wine creamy, dairy-free, coconut chipotle sauce. Tossed with cavatappi pasta & spring onions or served over basmati rice.
This place has LOTS of vegetarian choices as well.  YUM!
Friday-night “drum circle” downtown… a MUST, for sure!


On the way home from this great weekend getaway, we were talking about some of the things we’ve learned over the past 12 years.  Many of these we have shared within our Small Group (from church), but I asked Matthew if he would mind if I shared these on my blog as well.  So, here’s a few of HIS tips to make a marriage go from ‘fine‘ to ‘really great’

Check out the links at the bottom to see some of my favorite resources and books that have been very helpful in my marriage.  But, here’s MY (short) list of things that I have learned over the past 12 years…



Here’s the links to some great MARRIAGE material:
The Five Love Languages (There is also a children’s book, which I HIGHLY recommend!)
GREAT online teaching from (
Fair Fighting” Rules (12Stone Church)


Here’s the links to my favorite Asheville spots:

  • Grand Bohemian Hotel:  (ask for the Honeymoon Suite, if available!)
  • French Broad Chocolates:  (the “Jitterbug” was an AMAZING chocolate-coffee drink!)
  • Graveyard Fields:
  • Cabins of Asheville:  (We stayed in the Pisgah Paws… seemed to be the most secluded)
  • Nine Mile (restaurant):

Hope this post helped you in some way!  If you didn’t pick-up a relationship tip, hopefully you were inspired to visit one of these great places the next time you’re close to Asheville!


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