As you know,
I’ve solicited some help from a few dear friends and bloggers I
admire. I sent them each the same questionnaire about marriage, because I
wanted to show how different a strong marriage can look from couple to
couple. I realized as the replies started coming in, though, that there
are quite a few common threads that seem to bind couples together.
You’ll see what I mean over the next few weeks. It’s always nice to see
what real relationships look like and learn from the good ones, don’t you think?
Today’s response comes from Jenna who blogs over at Mom the Intern. She’s another friend I’ve made through the Arizona Bloggers Meetup group, and I’m so glad. Jenna handles her role as a mother with such grace, humor, and style that I defy anyone who doesn’t admire her for it. Also something to admire: how much she adores her husband. The way she talks about him you’d never know they’ve been together as long as they have. Read on and see what I mean.
little about your family.
likes to brag that I just showed up on his doorstep one day, and it’s
the literal truth. A mutual friend set us up on a blind date and I first
met Dillon after we knocked on his door to pick him up. I thought he
was the most handsome guy I’d ever seen. We began dating almost
immediately after that night. I was 17, he was 21. Talk about crazy. We
dated for a whole year, went up to BYU together and got engaged
mid-semester. We were married two short months later in December 2005
… so we’re coming up on nine years. (Holy flip!) We have three
incredible children — Audrey (6), Carson (4) and Clara (4 months).
Well, it certainly didn’t hurt that he looked just like Tom Cruise a la Top Gun.
But, I suspected he was “the one” the moment we began talking. He had
the prettiest green eyes, full of kindness and acceptance. His smile was
so sincere. He listened intently to everything I said. He spoke in
gentle, happy tones. I didn’t want our first date to end.
Since I was
barely a senior in high school when we met, I knew we had to take things
sllllooooowwwwly. In the meantime (while I waited to turn 18), we had a
lot of fun together. We went to concerts, church functions, restaurants
and movies, painted pottery and made desserts, traveled, took evening
walks around the local nature preserve and mostly, we talked. A whole
lot. And after an entire year of getting to know Dillon, I felt like he
lacked nothing for me. He was my perfect match. He was … “THE ONE.”
I’m really glad the feeling was mutual!
still “the one”?
calm demeanor, unbreakable patience and long-suffering kindness were
exactly what I needed in my life. I tend to be frenetic, impatient and
emotional, so he balances me out in this way. On the other hand, he is
forgetful and unorganized while my memory is a steel trap and I have
impeccable organizational skills. I’m artistic and creative; he is
mathematical and didactic. I’m all about justice while he is more
merciful. Our strengths are very different, yet we compliment each other
so well. Just like peanut butter and chocolate (our favorite dessert
Plus, we make totally cute kids.
love having a constant support in my life, someone who knows all my ins
and outs and on whom I can rely for anything. And I love being that
support for Dillon, too. In our marriage, I love how we simply “get”
each other. We rarely have philosophical arguments because we’re almost
always on the same page. And on the rare occasion we’re not, we talk it
out until we get there.
of the most difficult things you’ve had to overcome in your marriage?
had a very traumatic birth with my second baby, and the injury I
suffered greatly affected our intimate life. It took over a year for me
to heal to the point things in that department could return to normal.
Dillon was so patient as I healed and underwent physical therapy during
that time. He wiped my tears while I grieved for the gentle birth I’d
desired and comforted me when I couldn’t understand why I had to go
through it. Overcoming this challenge required patience from both of us.
One thing’s for sure — as miserable as it was, the whole thing brought
us closer together. We learned a lot about human intimacy beyond a
physical relationship and how to achieve it in the face of disability.
of things do you do (or have you done) to strengthen your relationship?
one-on-one time is crucial for us. Date nights are wonderful but aren’t
always feasible, especially with a new baby. But every night after the
kids are in bed, we shut the door and spend time together. We watch a
movie or something fun on Netflix, we fold laundry, we make plans and we
talk and talk and talk. Some days, we only have five minutes together
right before bed due to the busy lives we lead. But we make the most of
thing is whenever I feel like we’re growing apart, I try harder to
perform small acts of kindness for him. I’ll make his favorite meal,
finish a task we’ve been putting off, buy him his favorite candy when
I’m at the store … little things like that. I have found when I take
time to think of him and show him I care, it brings us together.
Selfishness only divides us.
in our faith is huge, too. We try to make sure we’re on the same plane
spiritually, living our faith jointly and supporting one another in our
religious responsibilities. A spiritual leader of ours counseled us to
take turns praying for the other spouse every night, out-loud so they
can hear. Dillon prays on the odd days and I pray on the even days. It
helps us think of the other first and be more mindful of their needs.
Plus, how cool is it to hear your one true love petition God on your
behalf? Very cool.
give any marital advice, what would it be?
Leave the kids at home and go on a cruise or some other relaxing vacation at least once in your marriage. Seriously.
heard it said you should never go to bed angry. But I’ve found that
usually when I’m irrationally irritated with my husband, it’s because
I’m tired. So when you’re angry, go to bed. A good night’s sleep usually
resolves the problem on its own.
See? She’s so romantic but in a practical, possible way. For me, at any rate, that’s pretty much the dream marriage. And I know struggles with physical intimacy are tough to talk about, but I really appreciate Jenna’s candor in that regard. Husbands and wives aren’t always on the same page when it comes to sex, but this is a great example of how you can be supportive, figure out what works for both of you, and continue to draw closer to each other no matter what is or isn’t going on in the bedroom.
Thanks so much for setting a great example for us, Jenna!