Our Marriage: What Works for Us

Hi all!  

Over the weekend Kevin and I were lucky enough to head to the 'Weekend to Remember' marriage conference in Kansas City.  If you have never been, it's a Christian marriage conference and is held in different cities throughout the year.  It was chalk full of take-aways and I only wish Kevin and I would have gone to it pre-nuptials.  If you haven't been, definitely check it out.  Plus, Kevin and I were able to have some uninterrupted one-on-one time and if you are a parent of littles, you know how priceless that really is.

The conference along with some recent books I've read have nudged me in the direction of blogging more.  I love writing and the informal format of blogging is so appealing to me.  I enjoy reading blogs and being connected this way, but have been a bit lost on what to write and how I want to write.  Kevin encouraged me this weekend to definitely make time for this writing thing.  (Gotta love an encouraging husband.)  So, here I am, taking time to write.  Yay me!  

Since Kevin and I were just at a marriage conference and that is on my mind, today I want to share with you some ways Kevin and I help our marriage to thrive.  Please, don't misinterpret me.  We aren't perfect and don't have all (or many) answers.  We just do a few things that work for us.

We have been married eight years, nine years in May, and I love waking up to his early alarm clock handsome face every morning.  First, let me tell you a little bit about us...

Our story began in college and while I ended up in a white dress and he in a tux, it was unsure for quite awhile if that would be the outcome.  Kevin played football and I basketball at a small college in northwest Iowa (Go Mustangs!).  He was too shy to ask me out, so he did what any shy guy would do and asked one of my friends to talk to me (Kayla, you're the best).  This, of course, blossomed into a romance (how could I say no to his charming ways) and we started dating right as my nephew, Landon, was born.  I mention Landon because he helps us to remember how long we have been together.  Like some couples experience, there was some turbulence in the middle of our relationship and a few break-ups.  During the last one, I had an overwhelming sense of peace about it.  I didn't know why because usually I am a hot mess after a break-up.  But, I just knew it would be okay.  I knew God had something else lined up for me or Kevin and I would end up working out.

Lo and behold, a few months passed and Kevin and I got back together.  This time something was different and we were stronger than ever.  He asked me to marry him on the sweetest picnic ever and the rest is mostly history.  We moved to Omaha, got married at his parent's house (where we now live), and struggled through getting to know how to live together.  It wasn't easy and that first year of our marriage was probably the hardest year of my life.  We fought over everything...who was making dinner, who cleaned the bathrooms, how many times a week we needed to vacuum, if and when we went out on a date, how much money we spent on what.  Everything.  But, then there was a calm, a settling of sorts, and we got over a lot of that stuff that has to be worked through in a marriage.

Our plan was to wait five years to have children and we did just that.  We moved out to the farm a year before Luke was born and we decided I would stop teaching and stay home (our dream!!).  We are now two kids in and in a semi-easy stage of parenting.  Both kids sleep through the night (Amen, Hallelujah) and are pretty predictable during their waking hours.  Having two little ones is so much fun, but also requires a lot of attention and energy.  This winter Kevin struggled with being exhausted all the time.  I was getting there, too.  We finally realized, this might be our normal for awhile.  We might be exhausted all the time because we are caring for two other baby humans and ourselves and our marriage.  All good things, but all things that require time, energy, and attention.  That brings me to Kevin and I's marriage.

Our marriage has changed and evolved over the years.  We have gone from having all the time in the world together to barely catching up on one another's day between playing with the kids and putting them to bed at night.  At the conference this weekend, the speakers spoke about the marriage being the most important relationship in the family.  I have to believe this is true.  Kevin and I's relationship is vital to our relationships with our kids and how they see and value marriage and relationships.   

What Works for Us

  1. Date nights.  I know, I know.  You have heard this before, but date nights are so so good.  Kevin and I try and make it a point to go on a date once a month.  It is usually when my mom is in town, Kevin's parents are around or we can get a sitter.  #praisegodforgrandparents
  2. Bible study together.  We are in a small group together and meet twice a month.  We have struggled to get there lately with so much going on, but our group is made up of couples with littles, so they all get it.
  3. Letting the little things go.  Sometimes there is something that is bugging me about Kevin.  It is small.  It doesn't matter.  But, in being so comfortable with him, I just want to blurt it out.  I don't.  I let it go.
  4. Going to church together.  This is another duh one.  But, really, when Kevin and I are able to go and sit in church together it is life giving.  #dateday?
  5. Vacation together.  Traveling is one of Kevin and I's 'things'.  Every couple has one, traveling just happens to be ours.  We don't do other things, so we can be sure to at least take a weekend trip (adults only) at least once a year.
  6. Date at home.  This is a new thing we have just tried to implement.  We have been trying to do small, little dates at home.  Sometimes I'm so tired after we put the kids down for bed that I just want to check out, but we have been trying to do a small in home date once in awhile.  We have  made a new meal together (we both love trying new foods) and started this journal every night.
  7. Have good friends.  Kevin and I both have friends we trust.  They know us and they will always listen and give good advice when needed.  
  8. Know each other's love languages.  Love languages have helped us so much.  You can take a free quiz to tell you all about how you feel loved. 
  9. Forgive.  Sometimes it takes five minutes, sometimes it takes a week.  But, we both forgive each other and offer each other grace.  We aren't perfect, but love each other so much that we don't want anything to get in the way of us.  
  10. All in.  We are both all in.  We (try) and give 100% 100% of the time.  No 'if he does this, I will do this' statements.  This is tough.  Really tough.  But, it makes a huge huge difference for us.
Writing this post has made me love my sweet husband even more.  He is the perfect compliment to me and I am grateful for him and our marriage.  Again, I am not an expert on marriage and the only one reading this is probably my mom (love you mom), but I wanted to share anyway.  If nothing else, it will be helpful for me to look back and reflect when Kevin and I are in a rough spot.

Hope you all have a blessed day!


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