Workin’ It Wednesdays: Keeping Your Marriage Strong

It’s the second edition of Workin’ It Wednesdays!

The second Wednesday of every month, Erika and I host a link up where we talk about how we’re workin’ it in certain areas of our life.  In January, we shared how we’re workin’ on our New Year’s goals and today, how we’re workin’ on keeping our marriages strong.  If you blogged Workin’ It Wednesdays today, make sure you link up below!  Topics for this year include…

We love reading through the link ups, so thank you to everyone who blogs along with us!

Okay, today: How do I keep my marriage strong?  I cannot wait to hear your tips, tricks and ideas.  Who doesn’t want a stronger, happier marriage?!

So, let’s take a walk down memory lane…

This is technically mine and Andrew’s first date.  My parents were there.  His parents were there.  My younger brother was there as were all four of my grandparents.  I mean…so romantic, right?! #yeahright

As most of you know, Andrew and I met in college.  He was an upperclassman at Kansas State when Sean began as a freshman.  One of their coaches connected them because Andrew was president of FCA and knew Sean was also a believer in Christ and thought they would hit it off.  Well…Sean invited Andrew down to Texas to spend July Fourth weekend with him and…that’s where I met him.  I went to my parents’ house and opened the back door from the garage leading into the house just as this big shirtless guy was exiting my old bedroom.  Who knew that big guy would be my husband a short year and a half later?  God did.

We exchanged numbers that day and talked a few times before football season began in September…but once the season began and I headed to each and every K-State game to watch my brother play…we were inseparable.

And on March 13, 2004 (almost 13 years ago!), we were married.

And it’s been so easy.

Okay, maybe not easy.  A blessing…but not easy.  It’s a work in progress every single day.

First up…we got married in March and moved to Detroit in May, so you know…that was a bit of a culture shock for this Texas girl…

I’m pretty sure I was standing there thinking “there is no way on God’s green earth that this snow will ever melt”.  We were 23 when this pic was taken and had been living away from friends and family for about 8 months at this point and you know what?  It was the best thing that ever happened to us.  It was like marriage boot camp.  We had to figure out how to be married on our own, by ourselves with no one around but each other.  I’m prayerful that my kids will all get married and move away (and then move right back next door to mama after they’ve worked out some kinks in their marriage 😉 ).

I do love shoes and boys with tattoos.  Well, one boy 😉 .

#twinning

(I’m pretty sure we’re at a gender reveal party here….)

Like I said, marriage is something that we consciously work on day in and day out (well, some days we get lazy and don’t work on it and then we have an argument and then we realize we need to get our act together and work on our marriage).

Andrew and I are both type-A, super-organized, neat freaks who like to wake up early and go go go kind of people which means we mesh about a lot of things.  It also means that we both always have firm opinions and think our way is the best way (and mine typically is the best way) (he needs to get his own blog if he wants to disagree) (#winning).

Here are some things we do to keep our marriage strong.  I’m sure we do more than this and I’m sure some of these are no-brainers…but they’re the first things that popped into my head when I thought about this topic:

1: Faith- We both pursue the Lord on our own.  I can not rely on anyone else to satisfy me in the way the Lord does.  God must be the one who fills my cup so to speak.  If I rely on Andrew to meet all of my emotional and spiritual needs, he will always fail me.  Because he’s human.  Our marriage is the strongest when we’re both chasing after the Lord.  When we both keep our eyes on Him, we have a much stronger marriage filled with more grace, patience and love.  This is something we each set out to do daily.

2: Family- We put our little family unit (the six of us) first.  This means we say no to some commitments.  This means we may not always be available when other family wants to do things.  This means that we focus on those four little humans living in our home and make sure that that relationship as a family is priority number 2 (because God is number one!).  We eat dinner together at the table almost every single night, we help out each other in the morning and after school, we are both committed to have relationships with our kids’ teachers and schools…we talk on the phone multiple times a day to check in and see what’s going on.  We are both committed to making our family a solid unit.  Because when our family is strong, our marriage seems to be strong.

3: Our Time- But just because we put our family first doesn’t mean we don’t make time for just each other.  One of the best things we do each night after the kids are in bed is sit down on the couch together, talk, laugh, watch a favorite show, eat a brownie and catch up after a long day.  I crave this time with Andrew.  I had a church meeting on Monday night that kept me away from 7:00 until 11:30 and the thing I missed the most was my time with Andrew.  We also try to get away on a little trip at least once a year without kids.  As much as we love traveling with our kiddos, we also love traveling with just each other too.  Now, we try and have date nights but they’re not as consistent as they should be.  That being said, when we do have date night, we do not go see movies.  We used to go to dinner and a movie but then one day we realized that two hours of our date was spent in silence at the movie…so now, we find other things to do instead of a movie.

4: Solo time- Andrew has hobbies that don’t interest me in the least bit (hello hunting), and I have hobbies he could care less about (hello reading a book/watching One Tree Hill), but we encourage each other to enjoy their own hobbies and interests because they recharge us and make us happy.  I love spending time with my girlfriends and Andrew knows that, so he is really cool with me having dinner occasionally with them and getting some girl bonding time in.  He knows I need it and that it makes me a happier, more well-rounded person.

5: Disagreeing- I mean…we’re both Type-A with big opinions and no filter.  If we ever don’t agree on something, we’re both going to say.  I learned a long time ago that I would rather be happy than right.  I think learning to agree to disagree is an art that we have practiced (and failed at!) a lot over the last 13 years.  I’ve learned to be pretty fine with “okay, you think this and I think that and neither one of us are going to change our minds…so let’s just agree to disagree and move on”.  Typically, whatever we were disagreeing about is stupid in the first place and forgotten by the next day.  And if it’s not?  Then I just go back to point number one and pursue the Lord.  He works things out.

6: All that married people stuff- Let’s be real here.  My grandmother and my dad are reading this…so I have to chose my words wisely, but you better not forget about that honeymoon phase of your marriage.  That stuff keeps things going in the right direction.  You need to stay focused on that part of your marriage too.

One other random thing I’ve learned, Gary Chapman’s book The 5 Love Languages is AMAZING!  We read it right before we got married and it is still helping us in our marriage today.  My love language is words of affirmation and Andrew’s is quality time.  Just knowing that about each other helps us so much in our marriage.  I need to show him love according to his love language and not mine (like he doesn’t want me to thank him for working hard all day to provide for our family…he wants me to sit down on the couch next to him and watch a football game).  He wants quality time not my words of affirmation.

So, I’m sure I’m forgetting a bunch here…we’re totally still a work in progress.  My grandparents have been married for 70 years and they’re the first ones to say that they’re still a work in progress too 😉 .

We talk a lot, we see each other a lot, we vent and share our true emotions and then agree to disagree about them a lot, we put our family first and we both seek Jesus.  That kind of sums us up.  Oh and we don’t watch the Yankeess play the Red Sox together…because that’s just not good for our marriage.  Period.

If you blogged along with us today, link up below.  And if you didn’t blog, then comment and share your marriage tips.  I can always use new ones!!

xo

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  • Erika Slaughter February 8, 2017 at 4:46 am

    Great tips, girl! I wonder what your Grandmother’s tips would be after being married for 70 years!! That’s amazing!

    • jamie February 8, 2017 at 6:04 am

      yes! grandma’s tips after 70 years! that would be some good reading.

  • Jenny February 8, 2017 at 5:17 am

    Sadly, I’ve had 3 cousins go through divorces this year (and I have a small family!) so working on marriage weighs heavily on me right now. I think the best piece of advice is to treat your spouse as your best friend. I see so many people who don’t even appear to LIKE their spouses. They say horrible things about and to them–things that I’d never dream of saying about a friend. I think it’s genuinely important to like your spouse–which sounds crazy obvious–but it’s true.
    ~Jenny
    http://www.introvertsguidetosobriety.com/sobriety/overcoming-shame/

    • jamie February 8, 2017 at 6:09 am

      it’s very high on my list to never speak poorly of my husband to my friends. i had a friend ask me once why i never talk badly about my husband {things he does to annoy me, fights we have, etc.} and i told her because i want to respect him and i don’t ever want anyone to look at him differently because of something grouchy my mouth blabbed about him. it’s super hard because sometimes i want to vent.

      • Danielle February 8, 2017 at 8:35 am

        Yes! This is exactly what I was going to say. I can still remember things my friends have told me about their husbands and they’ve probably forgotten but I haven’t. I wouldn’t want anyone to remember something I said about my husband when I was annoyed.

      • Jenn February 8, 2017 at 8:54 am

        Agree 100%. Nothing says respect like keeping your partner covered in encouragement EVEN WHEN they aren’t there to hear you. That is respect!

      • Bailey February 8, 2017 at 10:29 am

        LOVE this!!

  • Hope February 8, 2017 at 5:29 am

    I have been waiting for this post! I DM’d you on IG before Christmas begging for some tips! Thanks so much! And I love how you broke out the you and Andrew selfies. Great post!!

    Would love to see another post telling how you knew he was the one, and if there was any hard water getting married young and if you wish you both had waited together (for whatever reason).

    Give me all the advice! (;

    • Kensington February 8, 2017 at 7:09 am

      I would love to hear more about these topics as well! There is a lot of buzz surrounding young marriage these days, so it’s always awesome to hear the perspective from those who got married young and what they feel looking back at that decision. Also, gives hope and encouragement to those in the same boat now 🙂 Love this post!

  • YAmy Heinl February 8, 2017 at 5:34 am

    I think the single word that sums everything you posted is the word “work”. Marriage takes work each and everydayou. Both people need to be committed to that….I think marriages struggle when people get lazy. It is obvious that you and Andrew are committed to working on your marriage each and everyday. I pray you are surrounded by love and happiness always

  • ELizabeth February 8, 2017 at 5:34 am

    So inspiriting – thanks for a great read!
    XO
    Elizabeth
    http://stripesandsolitaires.com

  • Mandi Moore February 8, 2017 at 5:34 am

    I love these tips…. and I love seeing your old photos from college! I also shared about the love languages because when I first took the quiz it was mind blowing, I love knowing exactly what Mr. Spouse needs to make us thrive. Thanks for hosting, I love a good reason to link up! 😉

  • Rebecca L Brittain February 8, 2017 at 5:39 am

    I love the pica of you and your hubby from college. What a neat story on how you started dating too! Thanks for sharing. Your points on how you keep your marriage strong are in line with what I believe as well, and it’s inspiring to know because our good Lord knows you are a busy wife and mama! God bless! Xoxo

  • jamie February 8, 2017 at 5:59 am

    i love seeing you and andrew through the years. some folks think marriage shouldn’t take work and i think that’s silly. any relationship is work! my husband and i were just talking about date nights because i feel bad leaving our son alone {or with his older sisters} but it just needs to be done. our small trips alone are some of my greatest memories.

    number six. rachel hollis from the chic site did a 30 day challenge in january that involved so many things two of which were live FB chats every morning and an email every morning. women were all over this topic. her email was WOWZERS and her memaw {i think that’s what she calls her} reads her stuff. what an informational email that was! i’m still thinking about it.

  • Lena Bäsler February 8, 2017 at 6:04 am

    Yes! I would LOVE to know your Grandmother’s tips on marriage, too! And I can tell from your post how much you admire your husband. So, so sweet. Wishing you all the best from Germany!
    Lena

  • Narci February 8, 2017 at 6:15 am

    Great tips, girl!! Thank you for the linkup!

  • Nikki February 8, 2017 at 6:16 am

    The 5 Love Languages is great! It made me understand myself and my husband so much better. My tip is the book “The Love Dare” which is a 40 day Christian Devotional designed to strengthen your marriage. I think you would love it, Shay! You and your husband are each mindful about one topic or prompt for the day and then write a little little note from that day in the book.

    • Amy February 8, 2017 at 10:48 pm

      Thank you! Just noticed there is a highly rated movie: “Fireproof” which based on this book.

  • Angela Ellingson February 8, 2017 at 6:20 am

    Such great tips!! I especially liked the one about allowing space for your own interests. I am loving this link up. Thanks so much for hosting!

  • Tara G. February 8, 2017 at 6:21 am

    Forgiveness is a key in marriage (as it is in any relationship). Family Life has great resources & the marriage weekends are great. I would recommend Tim Keller’s book The Meaning of Marriage (as an aside, it has a beautiful chapter on singleness which I think we married people in the church need to read). Lastly, there is no shame in going to a counselor for help.

  • Sarah February 8, 2017 at 6:21 am

    I love this post!! You and Andrew seem EXACTLY like me and my husband, too!! We are both total Type-A go-getters with big dreams and aspirations. We’re constantly setting goals and want to see the other one succeed. We argue, but we love each other fiercely. There is truly no one else I’d rather spend my life with. I can say without a doubt he is my best friend.

    We’re also firm believers in early bedtimes for our girls (7:30 at the latest). This gives us time to do our own thing for a bit, and then catch up on the couch watching television, talking and enjoying each other’s company!

    Cheers to happy marriages!! Hope you have a great day! 🙂

    -Sarah http://www.thefrugalmillionaireblog.com

  • Paige February 8, 2017 at 6:32 am

    I love this post. Our marriages are the foundation for happy homes.

    I love all your tips and couldn’t agree more with all of them. The 5 Love Languages is a must read for all married couples. If you don’t know your spouse’s language, you could be spending years trying to fill their cup with with ways that don’t fulfill them.

  • Lizzie @ This Happy Life February 8, 2017 at 6:33 am

    Such great tips! This was such a fun topic and I was so glad to have joined in! We’ve been meaning to read the 5 Love Languages forever now, I think it’s about time!

  • cheryl February 8, 2017 at 6:39 am

    My love language is words of affirmation and Andrew’s is quality time. This sentence was the best. Thank you for always being so forthright on your blog.

  • Sheaffer Sims February 8, 2017 at 6:44 am

    Lots of great advice here! Love seeing the old pics (my favorite might be the I love shoes and boy with tatooes!). Can you imagine yourself wearing that now?!? 🙂 And that first meme is HYSTERICAL.

  • Megan February 8, 2017 at 6:49 am

    Great great post. I had all intentions of linking up today then life happened and it got pushed to the back burner. You basically read my mind on the things I wanted to say. I love seeing others thrive in marriage!

    http://www.lettinginthelightblog.com

  • Emily February 8, 2017 at 6:52 am

    My fiancée and I are reading Gary Chapman’s book right now, and we get married in March! This was a wonderful read. Thank you! Xoxo

  • Lea February 8, 2017 at 7:06 am

    Shay- this was really good. I got married the same year as you but I was 26. By the time we reached our 10 year anniversary our marriage was in a really bad place – and I sadly had no idea. My husband was having an affair- I wouldn’t be aware of it until months later. When I found out I was devestated and so was everyone who knew him! My husband had always been a man who loved God and his family but what we didn’t know was that he was using porn and chat rooms as an escape from life and work stress and that then turned into an affair!

    If I could add some things to your list from my own experience it would be this
    1- Deal with your issues before you get married. Marriage isn’t the answer for a porn habit. God is- so if you’re dealing with any kind of issues or addictions you owe it to your future spouse and your marriage to be honest!

    2- Care about the things the other person is going through. Like you, I moved after we got married for my husband’s job. My dad was dealing with serious health issues and my sister was dealing with a number of issues in her own marriage, my mom was working full time, dealing with all these things and also helping to care for my newborn niece. I felt awful not being home to help and was overwhelmed by everything they were going through sbd felt guilty that my life with my husband seemed so problem free. Whenever I tried to talk to my husband he seemed to be minimize it or be dismissive. Which didn’t help me feel better about the situation- I just needed a sympathetic ear .

    3 -Don’t let yourself go- after kids I don’t know what happened but I wish I had made myself more of a priority.

    4- Make time for yourself even when the kids are little. My kids would holler whenever we were away from them. I know now that it’s okay if they cry. I wish I let my kids cry a little but so I could have time with my kids.

    I’m still married- which is nothing but a miracle due to God’s grace. My husband worked hard in himself and once the anger settled I was able to see the areas I could work on too. Marriage is hard sbd there’s a lot of things in this life that can easily destroy it, and I know of it wasn’t for God, my family and my friends my marriage would have been a statistic too. But instead my little family is still whole and intact – because of God. It isn’t easy and I still get angry but we’re trusting God to continue to lead us!

    • Nicole February 8, 2017 at 8:37 am

      I’m really sorry to hear about your past troubles! Porn addictions have affected and ruined so many marriages. Not for me personally, but someone close to me, and I’ve read countless stories since helping this person. It’s just so devastating but thanks be to God you two were able to overcome this! You are right, it has to be addressed before marriage. My husband and I definitely had this talk before we got married 2.5 years ago! I told him any of that would not be tolerated whatsoever. He saw the effect it had on that person we know so honestly I think that shook him up too!

  • Kristin February 8, 2017 at 7:11 am

    “I’d rather be happy than wrong” – yes!! Love that. And thank you for sharing. You guys are the cutest!

  • Brooke Richardson February 8, 2017 at 7:15 am

    Okay! Your shirt about loving boys with tattoos is hilarious!!! I enjoyed see all these pics from the very beginning!!!!

  • Annie @ Home of Malones February 8, 2017 at 7:45 am

    Love all these throwback pictures of you guys!! You have such a beautiful family and you’re right, it’s so important to put family first! This was such a great topic to include in the series and so much fun to hear what works for other couples. xoxo

  • Catherine February 8, 2017 at 7:55 am

    5 Love Languages is the best. We started the 5 Love Languages Daily Devotional last spring and it’s been such a blessing in our marriage. (Also, 5 Love Languages for kids is fantastic. So good to know and understand kids love languages, because they show it so differently than adults)

  • Kelly February 8, 2017 at 7:58 am

    You us are so stinking cute!! And so is Andrew’s mother! Wow! She is so pretty!
    Thank you for the tips.
    Trying to be UNselfish is a big part of a happy marriage. Giving 110% .

  • Bailey Bryant February 8, 2017 at 8:05 am

    A take away from your post: Take more pictures of just us two!

    http://www.myboymom.blogspot.com

  • Toni Nally-Keenan February 8, 2017 at 8:15 am

    All three of our girls are young adults now and out of the house. My husband and I make it a priority in our marriage to have 12 overnight dates per year, basically once a month. It gives us the chance to reconnect on a different level aside from our everyday life! It’s like a recharge on our already great marriage!! I highly recommend it! ?

  • LAF February 8, 2017 at 8:25 am

    All of your suggestions are so true as well as the other comments. My husband of 17 years doesn’t think any of these things are important. Good Job to you & Andrew for making your marriage a priority.

  • Kate February 8, 2017 at 8:26 am

    Our pastor once said in a sermon to ” never say the word divorce ” He said that once you say it, it can never be taken back & will always be in the other persons head and become a possible idea in your minds. Lucky for my husband and I, we heard this message soon before getting married and this is something we’ve stuck to wholeheartedly!!

  • Anna February 8, 2017 at 8:27 am

    My fiance and I are currently reading The Meaning of Marriage by Timothy Keller. Would highly recommend it! I am hoping to reread it every few years throughout my marriage–it has some great perspectives. Thanks for your tips!

  • Nicole February 8, 2017 at 8:43 am

    Love love love this post! Definitely going to get this book.

  • Megan Butler February 8, 2017 at 8:53 am

    Love this sooo much!!! Marriage is hard work But really fun and rewarding too!! And 5 love languages!!! Life changing. Should be mandatory reading for engaged people!

  • Debbie February 8, 2017 at 8:55 am

    This… This post is probably my favorite post I have ever read. Thank you!

  • Jenn February 8, 2017 at 8:56 am

    I love this post! Thanks for sharing! Next I need you to give us some advice on disciplining your children! It’s about to make me crazy and is a source for the (luckily, very few) arguments my husband and I have.

  • Molly February 8, 2017 at 9:07 am

    A things I’ve learned:
    1) Don’t be dismissive – when your spouse voices a complaint or request, LISTEN and either grant that request or NEGOTIATE, but don’t ignore!
    2) Fight fair. There is a line that shouldn’t be crossed when fighting, such as threatening the “D” word, name-calling, cussing, or raising your voice.
    3) Focus on the good. We can get tunnel vision looking at what’s wrong, but odds are, there’s alot of good you’re not giving credit to.
    4) The grass is always greener where you water it. Good marriage doesn’t just happen – even the most compatible have to put in the work.

  • Shelly February 8, 2017 at 9:12 am

    Definitely good stuff….and I totally agree with solo time! I think I’ve left that out of my marriage tips. Remembering who you are as a person without each other is what still makes you interesting enough to each other.

  • Connie February 8, 2017 at 9:21 am

    You just get more and more beautiful as you age!! I love your tips-especially #1. Thanks for sharing!

  • Diana February 8, 2017 at 9:24 am

    I LOVE this post. My husband and I are going through a rough patch right now and this post is everything I need and want in my marriage…I hope we can get there. I love that you put family first, you and Andrew seem like amazing parents and your precious kiddos are ALWAYS smiling. Looks like your parents and grandparents have set a great example too! Sometimes I wish I could get some advice from your dad…he seems like he’d be a great person to talk to. Haha! So thankful for your blog. God Bless you and that beautiful family of yours!

  • Chasity February 8, 2017 at 9:39 am

    Love love love this post!! So many great tips! I’ve only been married for 4 years, but together for 9. We’ve worked out A LOT of kinks, but there’s so much room for improvement. Thank you so much for sharing!

  • Whitney Pegram February 8, 2017 at 9:40 am

    Love all your tips!! And 5 Love Languages … yes!! Thank you for the link up!

  • Aminda February 8, 2017 at 9:51 am

    You two are so frickin’ cute! Thanks for sharing!
    I don’t remember, I know you are the oldest child, but where is Andrew in birth order? (Given your similar type A personalities) My husband and I are both first born, which is, according to some “experts”, not supposed to work out, but it is 🙂

    Here’s our story
    https://joshandaminda.wordpress.com/2016/03/16/wedded-wednesday-a-story-of-second-chances/

    And tips on keeping the marriage strong:
    https://joshandaminda.wordpress.com/2016/05/04/want-to-re-kindle-your-love-life-try-these-tips/

    • Mix and Match Mama February 8, 2017 at 1:54 pm

      Andrew is the baby…but if you met his older brother, you would realize he’s even more Type-A than Andrew! Ha! Birds of a feather… 😉

  • Shana February 8, 2017 at 10:27 am

    LOVE this post! Great advice!

  • Patty February 8, 2017 at 10:37 am

    The Five Love Languages…I was SO glad you mentioned that fabulous book. There’s a big difference between speaking your own love language to someone or speaking theirs…and it’s important to know the difference. Another book which we love is “His Needs, Her Needs” by Willard Harley. Also, moving away from family as newlyweds was a lifesaver for us. The Air Force didn’t give us a choice, and it was the best thing EVER until we’d learned to do the marriage thing together. Another good one…when you get upset with your spouse don’t ever talk about it with your parents. You’ll work through things and forgive each other, but your parents won’t easily forget the things you told them. I love how you follow the “I Am Third” way of thinking–God first, the other person second, and I am third. Blessings to ya’ll!

  • Lindsey February 8, 2017 at 10:38 am

    I SO agree with what Jamie (up at the very top) said. One thing I’ve never been able to stand, even as a young girl, was hearing women trash talk their husband. Even if it was said in a “joking” manner. If you want to say something negative, then find something positive to say instead. It really does help. Also, keeping your business YOUR business. His family. Your family. Your friends/coworkers. NO ONE needs to know your marriage business. You get over it a lot faster than they will, then they’re left holding a grudge towards your spouse that you’ve forgotten about already.
    Wow, this turned into quite a long comment! Haha! Sorry about that! Not intentional, but that kind of thing bugs me, lol! Loving this linkup you & Erika are doing!

  • Brandye February 8, 2017 at 10:50 am

    Girl! You nailed it! Chip & I have been married nearly 30 years and all your points are right on. And, we are always a work in progress. We never would have made it this far without the Lord. Every. Single. Day.

  • Holly Hopkins February 8, 2017 at 11:37 am

    My husband and I got married at 21/22yrs too! We just celebrated our 9year anniversary on New Years Eve. I love this post! Great advice. Marriage is not easy period. It takes work from both sides but in the end you have a forever friend. Someone that knows you like no one else and what a blessing that is.

  • Jordan Howle February 8, 2017 at 12:01 pm

    Can you do a post of ideas for date nights together or, how you come up with what to do? My husband and I try to do this once a month and we always end up with just supper or supper and a movie, when we can’t come up with anything else. It is so hard to come up with new things to do and try out. How do y’all come up with what to do for a date night?

  • Becky February 8, 2017 at 12:35 pm

    Love this! A happy, healthy marriage is so important for a happy, healthy family. And I also love The Love Language books! For all those with kids, Gary Chapman has also written a Love Language book for children as well as for teens. All of them are so good! 🙂

  • Courtney February 8, 2017 at 12:44 pm

    Hi shay!
    The love languages books is a great one. Here’s another one: Things I Wish I’d Known Before We Got Married. It’s a great read before or after marriage. It encourages great discussions!
    Thanks for sharing your insights!

    XO
    Courtney
    http://www.greywoodmama.com

  • Amelie February 8, 2017 at 3:45 pm

    All great tips! Knowing each other’s love languages has also been very helpful for us. One of the most important lessons that we’ve learnt is that in conflict my husband sometimes needs more time to process things. Its helpful for him to let me know he needs a bit of time and space to process this information and that we can come back and discuss “this” after dinner (for example) instead of him withdrawing. And I’ve learned to respect this and give him that time. In the end we have a much more productive and fair discussion.

  • Brandi February 8, 2017 at 4:50 pm

    I love all of this! We have also been married thirteen years, and so much of this list feels like it’s straight out of my marriage. Number 5 made me laugh because we have a code word now for when we need to agree to disagree. If we know it is something that neither of us will bend on and isn’t something that we actually need to work out one of us says “gobble gobble” and that’s the cue to just stop. It makes me laugh everytime in the midst of being frustrated and just move on.

  • Jeanie February 8, 2017 at 5:48 pm

    That was great, and so were the pictures.

  • Linda Noble February 8, 2017 at 7:01 pm

    Hi Shay!
    I love your blog! Your family is just adorable! I have been married for 28 years and just wanted to share little wisdom that has worked for my marriage. Never go to bed angry and my husbands favorite advice is “don’t sweat the small stuff”!

  • Brenda @ Chatting Over Chocolate February 8, 2017 at 8:14 pm

    Such a fantastic post! Praise God for the beautiful gift of marriage! Thank you for sharing and for hosting this great link up! xo – Brenda // ChattingOverChocolate.com

  • Anonymous February 8, 2017 at 8:45 pm

    Hello,
    First, you and Andrew both seriously get younger-looking as time goes forward!
    I was wondering if you would consider doing a post on how to keep relationships strong in the midst of infertility – how to keep a marriage strong while going through the trial of infertility, and how to maintain friendships (whether you’re infertile and your friends are having kids, or you’re having kids while a friend is still in the midst of infertility). My husband and I are currently enduring this trial, and as much as I hope to be able to one day say that our marriage was strengthened by this struggle, right now it is incredibly tough on a marriage! I also find it affecting friendships. A good friend of mine who was also struggling to get pregnant is expecting now, and while I’m so happy for her, I just felt gutted when I heard the news (and then of course, guilty for feeling that way). I don’t want to burden her with my infertility struggles anymore because this is a time when she should be happy! I also wonder if she’s been distant because she feels like she can’t share her happiness with me because we haven’t conceived yet. (Maybe you and Erika could do a post on this, since I think I read that you met through your mutual struggle with infertility?) And I’d of course love to hear how you and Andrew persevered in your marriage during such a difficult trial. Thank you for considering!

  • Jess February 9, 2017 at 2:52 am

    I’ve only been married 3 years so I feel like I am not eligible to give advice yet, haha. However … we also spent our first year of marriage in a far away state with no relatives or friends around and it definitely help us lay the groundwork for our marriage.

    One thing that’s been huge for me in our marriage is knowing when it is ok to fail. Failure is not an option when it comes to our marriage. We will stay married or die trying. However, in most things, we try to give ourselves “permission to fail.” For instance, if I want to take a new job, we pray about it, think about it and then if we feel like it’s the right thing, we go for it. But if it sucks and is a total disaster, that’s ok. We give ourselves permission to mess up. We pick up the pieces and learn from it and let it go. This has allowed us to take the pressure of perfection out of our lives.

  • Kelli February 9, 2017 at 8:34 am

    Absolutely love this sweet advice from you! My husband and I will be married for six years in July and everything you listed is exactly what I see as being important. When we are seeking after Christ separately its easier to come together and work through some things. I’d also say another fantastic book to read is Sacred Marriage by Gary Thomas. It’s so good and reminds us that marriage isn’t meant to make us happy but holy. Add that to your reading list if you like 🙂

  • Pam February 9, 2017 at 6:41 pm

    The picture of you 2 in pink is like seeing Smith and Kensington as adults!!! Spitting images!

  • Bethany February 13, 2017 at 12:53 am

    I love this! I always like to think of the triangle. Each partner starts at the bottom two corners and the top corner is God. As the two corners get closer to God they also get closer together!

  • Becca Owen February 19, 2017 at 2:57 pm

    Thank you so much for this! My husband and I actively do research and look for ways to make our marriage stronger. I feel like every day should be a new opportunity to bring us closer together and I’m really glad my husband feels the same way! You should look in to Wendy Brown, http://whylovesucceeds.com/. She has a couple of books out including “The Six Passions of the Red-Hot Lover”, and her website is organic with tons of relationship insight! I’m so glad I came across your post! Thanks for sharing your story and your thoughts!

  • Bethany Crisp February 21, 2017 at 10:01 am

    Love this post so much! It is work for sure, but the very best kind! Love that you so willingly share your faith and family every day! Continued blessings my friend!