Day 3011 – Marriage Advice – Inspired From Five Years Ago

As I’ve been reviewing all of my blog posts, I came across this one, Guest Post by My Husband or Advice to Grooms. Funny, I said it was going to be a weekly thing, and I’m pretty sure this is the only post. I’m not bringing it back, but I do want to answer the questions myself.

What was the highlight of the last week in your marriage?
I think it was last night, when we were reviewing our budget and finances. We’ve used Mint to track our money and budgets for several years and love it. We have budgets set up for each month, and it supplements my Excel spreadsheet budget. There are things that Excel is great at showing me that Mint cannot, like allowing me to see 2-3 years into the future, very quickly. Seeing things like, ok, if nothing changes, we’d hit a hole here. Mint is great to show me what we are actually spending. I also found out AFTER doing our taxes last year that I could download ALL of my transactions. Oy, that would have saved some time.

It was a really encouraging conversation. Which is so night and day from our first few years of marriage. Less than four years after we were married, we paid off 30k of debt. Me freelancing for the last 6+ years adds a level of stress too. For years we wanted money saved, and actually sticking to a budget. It wasn’t until this year that we really made forward progress in our finances. After looking at everything, we realized we were doing better than we realized, and have room to invest a little more.

On the topic of finances, one of THE best moments was booking a trip to California, and being able to pay it off immediately. There was no “ah, we can’t afford this” or “how are we going to pay for this?” While we are far from where we’d like to be, we still took the moment to appreciate where we are now, and how far we’ve come.

Did you learn something new about marriage and/or your husband?
I relearned that communication and understanding how your spouse communicates is SO important. The night we went out to celebrate my sobriety anniversary, we had a pretty big fight/disagreement/whatever you want to call it. I cried, Bret got mad, and it was just a complete mess. But we realized that the main source was my expectations for the evening, that I was completely thrown off of actually knowing what I wanted to do because of too many options, and I just needed to stop a minute and think. Now, all of this happened after driving around aimlessly, assuming things that weren’t true, and lots of tears from me. We each have unique thought processes and it’s important to have conversations that way. One of the cores of our marriage is good communication. Having a long distance relationship when we were dating forced us to grow this skill. While I wouldn’t have picked it, I am so thankful we endured that at the beginning.

What’s your advice to brides this week?
It’s funny, I think I’m just going to steal Bret’s advice from 5 years ago. It’s really great and a good reminder.
“Every time someone asks me how long we have been married, and I tell them, they are like, “oh, you’re still newlyweds”, and make some comment like I haven’t hit the real marriage yet, or like I’m still in for some rough waters, or they try to tell me how women are, or make a comment that shows they believe divorce is an option. And I’m like, don’t condemn me. Why would I even want to talk to someone about marriage, who believes divorce is an option? I want to talk to people who will support not me, not my wife, not even our happiness, but our marriage. I want someone like my dad who will tell me, “It doesn’t matter if you are poor, or unhappy, or if you think they got ugly, you made a promise to them and God. You are supposed to stay with and love your wife.” The world always tells us to do what makes us happy. But God’s way is actually the opposite. It tells us we must die to self, love our wives as Christ loves the church, giving himself for her. So what is my advice? Don’t even let divorce be part of your vocabulary.”

Jennilyn’s quote of the week
“Even Fairies Fart” – This is from a kid’s book called “Even Fairies Fart”

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Day 2201 – Why Our Marriage Is Easy

While doing some reading today, I came across a quote.

“Now we see that marriage is meant to make Christ’s love for his people more visible in the world.” – John Piper – The Passion of Jesus Christ

I immediately thought about our marriage and how when you focus on this aspect, it becomes easy.

Now, Bret and I are very different in a number of ways.
– we play different video games (thankfully, we’re good at taking turns)
– we wash the dishes differently
– we handle and think about finances differently (I want to know the exact date the direct deposit will clear and when the part time job will send the check)
– I geek out over Excel spreadsheets
– he geeks out about workouts
– we both have a LOT of pride (ok, I guess we’re a lot alike in that way)
– we deal with set backs differently….I am one to get very discouraged and/or worked up and he’ll just let it go.

But God commands us:
” Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her”
Ephesians 5:25

“Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord.”
Ephesians 5:22

I’ve found that when Bret and I embrace our roles laid out in scripture, our marriage is easy. It takes time, it takes work, it takes building habits, it takes choosing to submit to my husband, it takes Bret loving me…even when I’m being totally ridiculous. The thing that’s crazy is I don’t feel like I’m “controlled by his leadership” and he’s not “whipped.” As “counter-culture” as biblical roles may seem, when we follow them, our marriage is easy. Huh, taking God at His Word and it works…imagine that.

And if it does get hard, we have this encouragement:
“For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.”
2 Corinthians 4:17-18 😉

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Day 2164 – Repost – Guest Post – Advice for Grooms – Jimmy Cannon Senior Pastor of Sovereign Grace Church in Joppa, Maryland

Again, I’ve got a super busy weekend. I figured, why not share a pastor’s advice on a Sunday?!

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Today’s post comes from the Senior Pastor of Sovereign Grace Church in Joppa, Maryland. He is not only the Senior Pastor of the church, but he is the pastor who married us and a friend. He has a lot of great advice about marriage!!

This first picture is one of my favorites from the wedding with Jimmy…and the second is a nice one. 🙂 Both taken by Craig Copelin of Nilepoc Media.

Here’s Jimmy!!!

When you face a struggle or disagreement in your marriage, how do you handle it?
-Communication! I find that if we don’t talk through things, we begin to harbor bitterness and the longer we let things go, the worse it gets. Also, being sure to listen and hear the other person out goes a long way. I Peter 3:8 says, “Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind.” My wife and I try to remind one another that we are a team. We are for one another and working toward the same goal. Also, this takes humility to recognize if we’ve failed and need to ask for forgiveness. And when we ask for forgiveness, we try to be as specific as possible. This not only assures the other person that you see clearly how you’ve sinned against them, but also it makes it easier for you to change and for them to freely forgive you.

What are some of the ways you try to bless your wife?
-In the book “Sex, Romance, and the Glory of God by CJ Mahaney (a must read for Christian husbands) one of the chapters talks about being a “student” of your wife. I’ve found this helpful over the years. In any relationship, the more you know and understand someone and have that “sympathy” that was mentioned from I Peter 3:8, you will truly know how to love them in a richer, deeper way. For example, my wife isn’t a “flowers and chocolates” kind of girl. Don’t get me wrong, she wouldn’t turn them away, but she would much prefer me to walk in the door with a drink from Starbucks and a magazine with floor plans of homes from cover to cover. Taking an interest in what makes her “tick” means a lot to her. Another thing I’ve tried to do over the years is to ask her not only how is she doing, but how am I doing in her eyes. Are there areas that I can grow or that she has concerns about. This has really kept the communication line open and left no room for the enemy to bring any disunity into our marriage.

What advice would you give a couple going through a struggle during the beginning of their marriage?
-First of all, I would encourage any young couple to never be “content” with where their relationship is at. And this would include if they have struggles in the marriage or if they are experiencing hardship, not to “throw in the towel” or lose heart. A marriage takes work. Living up close to another sinner takes constant sacrifice and the ability to say, “I’m not going to make today about myself. I’m going to choose to serve and lay down my life not only for my Savior, but for the one who is most important to me on this earth.” This is a difficult task, but by God’s amazing power and His promised Holy Spirit, we can learn to love others more than ourselves.

Also, I would encourage young couples to seek help. Ask for input from parents, respected leaders in their church, and especially their pastors if need be. So many have gone before on this path of marriage and have much wisdom and insight that will not only encourage, but also truly help them to grow.

And Lastly
-My final remarks are from Hebrews 10:24-25. This scripture helps to point us in the right direction, especially as husbands. “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” This passage gives such clear instruction. So basically, we must tell our spouse where we see God at work and what we appreciate about them, meet together (date night), and this will stir her up to love more and good works are the fruit! Woo hoo! This is only possible through God’s grace and thankfully, because of Christ, we have all the power we need to do what He’s called us to. I thank Him for the gift of marriage and for giving me a wife who is willing to work through anything in order to keep our little “team” in unity and love. God is faithful.

Day 1082 – Guest Post by My Husband or Advice to Grooms

Since this is a blog about marriage and wedding photography, and Bret is a BIG part of both our marriage AND our business, I wanted to start a weekly guest post from him! If you have any questions for him, let me know and I’ll make sure he answers them!

What was the highlight of the last week in your marriage?
I had a couple highlights in my marriage this past week.
The first is that Jen worked out with me at a nearby park. On the way back, we carried each other as part of the workout. To have a wife that I can work out with and puts up with and doesn’t mind being carried with her butt up in the air with a car honking at her, is truly a blessing.

Another highlight has been finding out that there is a chance we may lose some of our income at a time when both of our cars need work done. When we were talking about it, neither of us was really upset, we just automatically said that we will trust in God whatever happens. That was different from my usual response in a situation like that, so it was definitely a highlight.

Did you learn something new about marriage and/or your wife?
I learned something about myself and my marriage a few days ago. I have been so blessed with a dad that is an example of a husband that I want to be. Jen and I are coming up on 3 years of marriage, and she mentioned that the first and fifth are supposed to be the hardest. I remembered someone saying that Jen and I have had, to paraphrase, an easy marriage so far. I was thinking about how my dad has always told me, despite the situation he was in, that he is commanded to love and stay with my mom. What I’m saying is, and this is kind of an assumption, that he did not go through the situation and grow in love, and is now able to say that he truly loves her, or now knows they can make it through thick and thin, or that he has enough experience now to say he will not leave her. I believe he has had his mind made since he said “I do”. And that is how I feel. For my part, I meant “till death do us part” unless for reasons of infidelity and Jen and I have discussed this. Some may say, “yeah but you don’t know the future. You or she could change.” I can’t make Jen love me, but I can choose to love her and stay with her, despite the situation. Surely some people really can mean it. I really do believe that love is a choice. I hope I do not sound conceited. On the contrary, I feel our marriage must be harder for Jen, than it is for me. I don’t know how she puts up with me sometimes.

What’s your advice to grooms this week?
Every time someone asks me how long we have been married, and I tell them, they are like, “oh, you’re still newlyweds”, and make some comment like I haven’t hit the real marriage yet, or like I’m still in for some rough waters, or they try to tell me how women are, or make a comment that shows they believe divorce is an option. And I’m like, don’t condemn me. Why would I even want to talk to someone about marriage, who believes divorce is an option? I want to talk to people who will support not me, not my wife, not even our happiness, but our marriage. I want someone like my dad who will tell me, “It doesn’t matter if you are poor, or unhappy, or if you think they got ugly, you made a promise to them and God. You are supposed to stay with and love your wife.” The world always tells us to do what makes us happy. But God’s way is actually the opposite. It tells us we must die to self, love our wives as Christ loves the church, giving himself for her. So what is my advice? Don’t even let divorce be part of your vocabulary.

Bret’s quote of the week:
I heard this somewhere: Marriage is not only intended to make us happy, but to make us holy.