Every couple has a story. One of my favorite ice breakers when meeting new clients or friends, is to ask them two very important questions. “How did you meet?” and, “How did you get engaged?”
Every love story is different, but so great. They usually end with me crying.
As a wedding photographer, my clients often ask me these same questions, so I figured I’d share my answers here. This is the last of a four part series about Our Love Story. You can read the entire series here:
Something you may not know about Chandler, aka Muscley Arms, is that he’s quite the romantic. For our 5th anniversary, he planned the most amazing trip. He incorporated the traditional and modern anniversary gifts of wood and silverware… well sort of. We took a big silver airplane all the way to Paris and Rome for 10 days! (There’s wood in Paris & Italy, so that’s the correlation, hahahaha!). We even brought our babies, because even with the stress of traveling around the world with toddlers, he knew that having them there would make me so happy!
Celebratory dream vacations aside, in this post, I’m going to share with you Five Lessons we’ve learned in five years of marriage! Ready?
1. Marriage is a three-way union with God.
When we were married, we didn’t just marry each other. We chose to include God in our union. With both of us giving 100%/100%, we’re still just human, and we still fall short. With God making up for what we lack, we can get through anything! Having a newborn baby with a detrimental heart condition was the hardest thing that both Chan and I have ever gone through. We couldn’t have gotten through it alone, and we couldn’t have gotten through it together. We needed more. We needed His mercy, His grace, and His ministering angels. I truly believe that we would not have had the benefit of those healing blessings, if we haven’t included God fully into our marriage.
2. Know Each Other’s Love Language!
When we were dating Chan and I both read The 5 Love Languages. Wouldn’t you know that our hormonal, abstinent, younger selves both scored sky high on the Physical Touch scale, with everything else coming in far behind. It took a few years of marriage to realize that we probably needed to re-test. And we were right. Our love languages were very different, and learning each other’s love languages helped us know how to love and appreciate each other better! In case you’re wondering, he’s Words of Affirmation, and I’m Gifts.
3. Parenting Changes Everything
I remember my mom once told me that there are a few things that can really be detrimental to any relationship. Those things are: marriage, the birth of a baby, a death of a friend or family member, a move, and a job change. Chandler and I encountered 4/5 of those things in our first year of marriage! As if just being newlyweds wasn’t hard enough! The biggest struggle we faced in that time was the birth of our son. Don’t get me wrong, it was WONDERFUL and we are just crazy about Cove, but becoming a parent changes you. It will change your spouse. It will change your relationship with each other at its very foundations. Your time isn’t fully spent on your partner, and there is a learning curve, grace and humility that goes with that. You learn more about how your partner was raised by the way they raise your children. Sleep becomes currency. Like, the most valuable currency in all the world! It’s important to keep a level, sleep-deprived head, communicate, and work through the hard times, so you can get back on track.
4. Date, Date, Date
Six months after we got married, Chandler’s job moved us to San Diego. For me, it was a move away from every friend I’d ever had, and my entire family! I was three months pregnant and totally devastated. Needless to say that unless we hired a babysitter, we didn’t go out. Dating just didn’t exist. And guess what? For years, we started to grow apart. It was like we didn’t’ know each other anymore, because at home, everything was about the babies. We both worked 40+ hours a week, and just didn’t cultivate our relationship. But then Chan’s mom moved here. She now watches our kiddos at least once a week (and has a sleepover!) so that we can go on a date, and fall in love with each other all over again! Even if it’s just once a month, it is so important to continue to date your spouse. As you get older, you change. They change. life changes. It’s important to grow and change together.
5. Choose Your Love & Love Your Choice
I once heard someone say that “love is choice not a feeling.” It is so true! You know what is really hard? Being nice to someone who ruins your favorite t-shirt in the washing machine. Or holding hands with the guy who spit out your dinner because you burned it. While marriage is so great, and literally the BEST thing I’ve ever done, it’s not always easy. When times get tough, just remember that you chose to love this person. No one chose them for you. You agreed on “better or worse,” and the thing is, in life, sometimes there are more worse’s than betters! But I promise that through constant communication, humility, selflessness, and help from God, you will get through anything!
May 6, 2019