Shey and I are on our way home from the Mississippi Gulf Coast. We made our first trip to Biloxi together 10 years ago, just weeks before Hurricane Katrina destroyed our beautiful coastal towns.

We’ve been back every other year or two since the storm, remembering how it was before, how far it has come, and how it continues to thrive in spite of the biggest setback the region has ever known.

It seemed a fitting place to spend our anniversary weekend. We’ve weathered our own kinds of storms these last 10 years. Distance, disappointments, deaths – all marriages experience them.

When we drove through Pass Christian yesterday, we marveled at the beautiful homes that have been constructed since Katrina. The determined spirit of these coastal residents is exactly what I want to bring to my marriage. To come back from every storm better than I was – we were – before.

It’s easy to drive down Highway 90 and get caught up in the memories of a different time. But storms like Katrina, whether it’s an actual hurricane or some type of curveball from living this imperfect life – they change us. So you have to remember the good things, and roll with the bad ones, and be open to the changes that inevitably come your way.

We had the opportunity to view a Katrina exhibit at the Ohr-O’Keefe Museum of Art yesterday. Remembering the devastation was sobering. But what stood out to me were the tributes given to all of those who came together to support the rebuilding process. I doubt anyone on the coast would tell you they came back from the storm to any sense of normalcy without someone’s help.

So it is in our marriage. When life happens, if you’re not in it together, strengthening each other, comforting and encouraging each other – you can’t rebuild it alone.

Our marriage is far from perfect. And it’s taken some hard hits at times. Thankfully we’ve both got pretty stubborn spirits to not let the hits determine our future. We live, and we learn.

But most importantly, we love.