Photography: Denise Marie Photos

5 Years of Marriage

Five years. Five incredible years. I am so beyond blessed to have spent these past years being married to a man like Brad. He came into my life when I had just about given up on love and the idea of grace within a relationship. It was like nothing I had ever experienced in my past and something I had given up looking for. Something I was seeking so strongly and knew that I deserved. A love like Christ wants us to give. He has taught me that love has no limits and there are no ultimatums to be made. That love truly conquers all. That love can be safe. That perfection isn’t necessary. That love is not a playing field and is always fair and forgiving. Even when times are hard, there is safety to be found in love. Being married to a man that believes in a love like this has truly opened my eyes. He has shown me a truly epic and forever kind of love.

Today, to celebrate the past five years, we wanted to give you a few tips for marriage that we have come to know and depend on. While we are not experts by any means and are constantly learning and growing, we want to share our top five things that we hold one another accountable to – things that help make our love and marriage solidified and stronger.

Brad’s 5 Tips for Marriage

1. Always compromise – The good news here is that we don’t need to compromise on the big issue topics, like morals and values. I mean compromise in a way like what to watch on tv, or what to set the thermostat at. Simple compromises show you care, and even though they seem insignificant at the time, they matter when you reflect back on your day/week.

2. Honesty is key – Never having to worry about truthfulness in your partner’s words is the best thing going. If you never have to wonder, there is no anxiety in making decisions and the mind can really just relax.

3. Go on adventures – Even if they are small road trips to an unknown location 20 minutes away from your normal routine area. Try a new restaurant in a weird place. These are bonding moments and create newness out of the ordinary.

4. Put your partner in the forefront of your mind in every decision and action you take – Ask yourself if you are respecting them and whether or not they would be happy or sad based on the action. By not making the other person upset through conscious thoughtfulness, many negative reactions are easily avoided. I hate conflict in a relationship, and this is by far the simplest way of maintaining a solid peace. Selfishness breeds disfunction.

5. Enjoy one another on all levels – Tap in to what makes them, them… listen intently to what they have to say, their expressed concerns, as well as things left unexpressed. As the years go by, you learn to hear your partner even when they aren’t letting something be known. Try to stay tuned in to their emotional vibe. If something seems off, ask them what is eating at them. They can get their feelings off their chest, and at the same time, the two of you have created yet another emotional bond, strengthening the entire relationship in the background.

Erin’s 5 Tips for Marriage

1. Make God center – One of the most important aspects of a relationship is the presence of Christ. Take time to discuss the Lord. Go to church and spend quality time praising God. Find ways to give back and spread the Word. Pray together and lean on the Lord during times of struggle and praise Him when life is sweet. Ecclesiastes 4:12 – “Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” With Christ at the center, marriage is a heck of a lot sweeter. 

2. Be each other’s best friend – Make one another the highest priority. Take time to do things together. Seek them first when you have exciting news to share and always confide in them when things are hard. Spend quality time doing the things the other person loves. It’s the easiest way to connect and grow closer. When you make the other person your best friend, it creates a bond so deep and profound. It solidifies your relationship and creates an intimacy that cannot be denied.

3. Take time to touch – One of the most important love languages; touch acknowledges your love. Aside from the obvious (wink, wink)…. Holding hands at the grocery store to little kisses when one returns home are so important. The presence of touch will instantly validate the other person and create a closeness that is needed and appreciated. It is a way to tell the other person that they are loved and admired without saying anything at all.

4. Challenge one another – Marriage isn’t always roses. And life isn’t a constant fairy tale. When the tough stuff happens, be there as a support but also be there to challenge the other person. Bring up the though stuff. Point out the issues. Push one another in areas that need growth. Be honest about the parts of life that need mending. The biggest way to advocate for one another is to help push the other person to be greater. To be stronger. Healthier. Never stop helping one another grow to greatness. But also give grace when growth needs more time. Life is a journey, not a race. Be a team.

5. Never stop dreaming together – It’s so easy to lose hold of our dreams as adults. Part of that is due to the stigma of adulthood and the “steps” society places on us as we mature and age. But in reality, we do not need to be held to any one plan. To any one mindset. A couple that dreams together has no limitations. Dream about the family you want to have one day. Dream about that job you’ve always wanted. Dream about the places you want to travel to and the experiences you’ve always dreamt of living. Dream together. The sky is the limit. With dreams, comes freeness. Freeness to love and grow. 

Here’s to the Past + Here’s to Forever

As we look back on the past five years, we cannot believe all that has happened and all we have been through. From getting married and landing our first career jobs, to buying and renovating our home. From beginning the journey to parenthood to experiencing the loss of our sweet babies. To IVF, fertility meds and hormones. To adventure, travel and new experiences. To highs and lows. To joy and pain. The past five years have been a rollercoaster ride to say the least.

Through all that we have been through, I have always felt firm with Brad. We have always been a solid front. While we bicker and fight like any normal couple does, we choose to never let life tear us from our love. Or to diminish how we view one another. Even at our worst. Even when it’s hard. Even when the days are tough and we feel like life is sometimes unbearable, we remember the love that we vowed this day five years ago. We vowed to always cherish our love and to support one another through it all. No matter what.

As we embark on the next fire years and all the years to come beyond that, we do so with faith and dedication. We strive to be better daily. To work on ourselves and our marriage. To continue to grow together. To grow in our faith. To grow in our love. To put God at the forefront and to place one another first after Him. We thank God for giving us these five years. For giving us the experiences that have led us here. For setting us up for all that is to come. Here is to another five, babe. And so many more. I love you.

Photos by Denise Marie Photos

Location: Omni Resort and Spa at Montelucia

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