Yesterday marked 4 years since Derrick and I said I do. But, we’ve known each other much longer than that. Actually I don’t remember the exact year we met, but I saw him at Sonic in his dark green Camaro. If you know Derrick, he thought he was SO cool… My friend gave me an eye roll and said don’t even go there. So naturally, I was intrigued.
Fast forward a few years, we had established a friendship based on random conversations running into each other here and there. It wasn’t until my senior year of high school and after that we really started hanging out.
I’ll save you all the details but our story goes like this. He was interested, I had a boyfriend. I was interested he had a girlfriend. He liked me I liked him but we honestly had a really great friendship and neither of us wanted to blow that, so we never said anything.
When I told him I was moving to Florida, he told me I was crazy. I thought, finally, he’s going to say something. But he didn’t.
It wasn’t until years later that over a plate of fried mushrooms from Matt’s Steakhouse he said, “you know i’m in love with you, right?”
I handle pressure well. I think on my toes. In advertising you’re taught to have a solution for anything someone could throw at you. I. could. not. speak.
Our waiter immediately came by and I kid you not said. “do you know what you want now?”
I had to laugh. I told him that was the question of the evening.
Two years later we had the most beautiful outdoor wedding ceremony on my grandparents farm. Married life was AWESOME!
Married life is STILL awesome, but guys, it’s hard. Anyone who says otherwise has to be crazy! I joke and say we weren’t destined to be together, we just ran everyone else off! We are both fiercely passionate, opinionated, always right and always on the move, but those traits don’t fare well in a marriage.
Within the last year we’ve really started focusing on what works and how we communicate. We don’t have it all figured out, not even close, but I do have a few tips that have helped us.
Marriage is not a competition:
This is/was a big one for us. Juggling businesses, kids, animals, house chores etc. is exhausting. We would often end up in arguments listing what we did all day. Mind you, I know his days are long and hard and he knows mine are also, but none the less we would bicker back and forth about who did more and who’s job it should be to clean up dinner. This is volatile and totally unnecessary. At our wedding Pastor Rick said, “marriage is not 50/50. Marriage is sometimes 80/20 or 100/0. The point is, when your partner is having an off day or really overwhelmed your job is to pick up the slack.” And you should do so lovingly. When we started looking at things this way it really helped. We both know how hard the other works and let’s be honest, neither of us WANT do to the dishes or clean the chicken coupe but as long as we’re both willing to help or step up when the other can’t, things get done.
Ecclesiastes 4:9: “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone?"
Ladies, we work really hard, and I know how frustrating it is picking up dirty clothes out of the floor when the laundry hamper is a foot away, but maybe your husband was just really exhausted and didn’t think about it. Instead of getting mad, be grateful for him and his hard work and gracefully put the dirty clothes away. Guys, you work hard as well. The pressure you have to provide for your family spiritually and financially is a lot! When you come home and dinner isn’t ready, don’t be mad, offer to help. As a mom/wife when Derrick asks me what he can do to help it’s like fireworks on the Fourth of July. Just that acknowledgment is awesome! It may be as simple as taking the kids downstairs for ten minutes so that I can get dinner on. Instead of getting mad at each other for things that aren’t done or aren’t done the way you wanted them to be, be grateful for what your spouse does do and for their good intentions. It’s really easy to take our bad days and stress out on those closest to us but that’s also a recipe for disaster. Be forgiving, helpful and mindful.
1 Corinthians 16:14: “Do everything in love."
Ephesians 4:2: “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love."
Put God first:
In order for a marriage to flourish this needs to happen. God should be present in your home, your marriage, your thoughts and your actions. This will be a game changer in your marriage. I promise you.
Ephesians 5 22:28
22 Wives, obey your husbands as you obey the Lord.
23 The husband is the head of the wife, just as Christ is the head of the church people. The church is his body and he saved it.
24 Wives should obey their husbands in everything, just as the church people obey Christ.
25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church people. He gave his life for the church.
26 He did that so that he might make the church people holy, when they were washed with water by God's word.
27 He gave his life for the church so that one day he can look at the church and see that the people are great and wonderful. The people of the church must have no dirty spot or wrinkle or any thing like that. But they are to be holy and good.
28 So husbands should love their wives as they love their own bodies. The man who loves his wife loves himself.
Embrace the chaos:
Yes, I said it, and here’s why. My entire life has been organized chaos. Thats naturally what I gravitate towards. I get way more stressed out when I live my life around the clock. I mean school/work you kind of have to but everything in between, roll with it. I used to get SO stressed trying to get the kids in bed by a certain time, naps at a certain time. I would try and answer emails at a certain time and plan shooting/editing days. This might work for some people but right now in this season of life, it doesn’t work for us. Now, Derrick is very much a stay on schedule type of person so this has been really difficult for him but he’s slowly accepting it lol. Life has seasons and for me by the time I get one season figured out we’re on to the next. A few months ago I told myself, “self, we’ve got to get it together. We HAVE to create a schedule and stick to it. I was only going to shoot on Tuesdays, I was only going to edit on Wednesdays, I was going to devote one day to laundry and one day to just hanging out with the kids. When what I had “planned” didn’t go as planned i was stressed. I can’t live like that. In my profession I have to have a little flexibility around my families and couples. I have to work when the kids sleep, squeeze laundry in when I can even it it means washing the same load of towels three times… Embracing the chaos means you HAVE to have good communication, which brings me to my next piece of advice.
I will never forget our first fight. Derrick went to bed and I went to the couch. There was no way I was sleeping next to him and going to the couch meant that he would have to come and finish the argument I walked away from. spoiler alert. he didn’t. I laid there getting madder by the minute. I had everything planned out I was going to say and when he didn’t come to the living room I was even more mad! So I did what any normal girl would do at this point. I stomped into the bedroom, flipped on the light and said so that’s it, you’re just going to sleep?! His response, “you walked away, I thought you were done.” My eyes may have actually popped out of my head. Done?! we aren’t DONE!? Not even close.
Derrick told me that if I wanted to talk he would talk but he was done arguing and he wasn’t going to chase me to the living room.
Early in our relationship there were times that I would be mad at Derrick but wouldn’t say anything. I bottled it up until, bam! A breaking point and then spewed out everything I had been holding onto. Communication is SO important. Talk about things. everything. Make decisions together, engage with each other. And listen, actively listen, which doesn’t mean scrolling instagram and occasionally nodding when your partner is talking to you.
Know your spouse:
Really know them. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and dig deep. Know how they communicate, what they value, how the handle stress, what upsets them, what builds them up. Knowing each other involves all of the above and will undoubtedly help your relationship. For most of us what we want is to feel appreciated. We want our spouse to appreciate everything we do! Sometimes it’s as simple as a hug, a kiss and a thank you. Thank you for working so hard, our kids are lucky to have you. Thank you for making dinner tonight, it was really good. Thank you for weed eating around the chicken coup, it looks nice. (you killed half the plants I had planted there, but it looks nice ;) )
Trust and social media:
You can not have a good marriage if you don’t have trust. You just can’t. If you’re looking at something, reading something or doing anything you feel you should hide from your spouse. Stop. Number one, it’s hurtful to your spouse. Number two, it’s hurtful to you. Social media is great for somethings but it can also be a gateway to some pretty sketchy stuff. Guard your heart, your mind and your eyes. Don’t let things or people in your marriage that aren’t Godly and don’t ever defend something that your spouse deems hurtful or untrustworthy. It it hurts them it’s not worth keeping in your life.
Mark 10:9: “Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate."
Marriage is work. Continuous, hard, beautiful, exhausting, trying work. Don’t compare your marriage to others, just water your own grass, tend your garden and get rid of any pests who threaten to destroy it.