Good morning everyone! I hope your day is off to a great start. It is True Love Tuesday here at the lake. We have had three inquiries about weddings! I am so excited. I hope we are able to book them. I am looking forward to a great year of weddings.
I finished my interview with Jessica and Simon, the beautiful couple that had an Open House here last week to celebrate their wedding. As I conducted this interview, I realized the value of going through this as a newlywed couple. It makes you think more about how to make your marriage successful over the long run.
Let’s get right to it.
Jessica ,who is studying Exercise Physiology, and Simon, who is studying Business Management, both attend college at BYU Idaho where they met about a year ago, on Jessica’s birthday, during the winter semester. They were both enrolled in the same religion class. Simon says he definitely noticed Jessica when she entered the room, and then, lo and behold, she actually sat down next to him. One thing he noticed right away about Jessica was that conversation was easy with her and there was something special about her. Conversations had not always been easy in previous relationships. Simon was intrigued enough to walk her to her next class.
If you have ever wintered in Idaho, you know the winters are very cold. This actually served as a blessing for Jessica and Simon as they were pretty much forced into indoor activities which included a lot of conversations where they got to know each other better. Later, when the weather warmed up they took walks outside and went to the lake.
Simon says he was pretty nervous about asking her out, but he walked her to class several times as he thought about asking her out. It was about 2 1/2 to 3 months before they actually went on their first ‘date’.
I asked them both when they new that the other one was “the one” for them. Simon knew pretty early in the relationship. About 2 weeks after their first date he wrote about it in his journal. However, it took him about 3 months to say “I Love You” because he wanted to be absolutely certain he meant it.
For Jessica, it took a little bit longer. She was planning to go on a mission for her church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. If she entered into a serious relationship, she probably wouldn’t go on that mission. Of course, the mission had been a goal of hers, and her parents, for a long time. So, she was a little bit scared to be dating Simon.
Jessica had planned to go home after winter semester and prepare for going on the mission. Now she was confused. Simon knew he liked her and he wanted her to stay for the spring semester so they could continue their relationship. That said, he was supportive of her choice.
Jessica went to the Lord in prayer. She wanted to go on the mission, but now she felt that the Lord had put this young man in her path. She wasn’t enrolled for the spring semester so the only way she could stay was if she got a job. Jobs had been scarce. She had been looking for 8 months and had not found a job. She conversed with the Lord about this situation. Within one and a half weeks, two jobs popped in to her lap. She got both of the jobs. Now she could stay. She truly felt that the Lord had answered her prayer.
A little later in the relationship, Simon obtained an internship in Utah. He was working there and coming back to Idaho on the weekends. He knew he wanted to ask her to marry him, but wasn’t sure how he wanted to do it. He figured out what he wanted to do and called on some friends for their help to create the big surprise.
When Jessica called Simon after he got home that weekend, he said he was tired and asked if they could go for a walk. Jessica didn’t know what was going to happen, although she was hoping he would ask her to marry him. Simon’s nervousness showed in his fast pace. They arrived at the building where they had first met. He had arranged for his friends to be hiding in the classroom so that they could take pictures of the proposal.
In the classroom was a whiteboard. You have probably seen the ones in classrooms where there is a whiteboard and another whiteboard can be slid across in front of it, doubling the amount of information you can put on it. Simon had previously gone to the classroom and written on the board “Jessica, will you marry me? Check Yes __, Yes __, or Yes__. Then he covered it up with the other board.
When they reached the classroom, they reminisced for a bit about meeting there. Then Simon rolled the first layer back. Jessica read it and began to cry. She hadn’t thought it was going to happen that night, but she wanted it to. Simon dropped to his knees and proposed. Out popped the hiding friends to take pictures. Jessica had been totally unaware of their presence. When Simon saw Jessica crying, he wasn’t sure, at first, if she was saying yes. But, she definitely was.
Fast forward a bit to their wedding. I asked the couple what was the one thing that really stood out about their wedding. For Jessica, it was being sealed for time and eternity in the Temple. (Here is a link to a short video if you would like to learn a bit more about the Temple.) Additionally, Jessica loved being in the company of friends and family who love and support her and Simon.
For Simon, the day was sort of a blur. I think he was on ‘auto-pilot’, doing what needed to be done, following directions, really on a high. The realization of being married settled in later. Jessica agreed that it is still settling in for both of them.
The last part of the interview dealt with the serious questions relative to having a long, happy marriage.
1) What is the best advice you have received about a long-lasting, happy, married life?
Jessica: The importance of good communication and showing your love for the other person. Her parents provided a great example for her.
Simon: In a class on Family Foundations, Simon learned the following: “Happiness in family life is most likely to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ. Successful marriages and families are maintained on principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work, and wholesome recreational activities”. As he said, the key is faith in Jesus Christ.
2) What experiences do you think most prepared you for married life?
Jessica – Being independent from their parents while away at college. Additionally, she watched someone close to her go through a very difficult relationship. The experience helped her to think about what she wanted in a spouse and to be able to ask questions to make sure that they were compatible. She feels that as a result she is more sensitive to certain things and wants to be the best spouse she can be.
Simon: The difficulties that they have experienced in their communications have allowed them to express themselves and their expectations better. He feels that they are coming into the marriage better prepared than if they hadn’t had those experiences.
3) Do you feel prepared?
Jessica and Simon: Both feel good where they are at and as prepared as they can be at this point.
4) What scares you the most abut being married?
Jessica: The thought that she might not always treat Simon nicely, might hurt his feelings, and the concerns about being a good parent.
Simon: Keeping Jessica happy. Like most men, he doesn’t like to see her unhappy and crying. He finds it difficult to talk to her when she is upset.
5) How do you plan to keep the lines of communication open and keep the love alive in your relationship?
Jessica: “We need to work together.” She said that her parents have been a good example. They have been through a lot, but remain best of friends and love each other. Communication needs to be nurtured. It is an on-going process, always progressing. Communication is enhanced by showing love for each other, doing kind things and making the other person feel loved.
Simon: When issues do arise, you need to be patient and exercise forgiveness. Don’t hold on to arguments.
Jessica and Simon have a head start on having a long-lasting, happy marriage. They spent a lot of time early in the relationship getting to know each other and they understand the importance of communication and working on the marriage. They are committed to each other and the marriage.
It was delightful interviewing these two young people as they head down this wonderful road of sharing their life with another person.
A good friend of mine says that it is impossible to ‘bullet proof’ your marriage. She may be right, but I believe it is possible to put on armor to protect it as much as possible. That armor is made up of a few things. First and foremost, it is the armor of God. If you make God an integral part of your relationship, creating a triangle with Him at the top and you and your spouse at the bottom, you will have done much to insulate your marriage from the world.
Second, constantly work on communication. There are going to be moments in every marriage where communication is strained. We each need to take responsibility for easing those moments of tension. Remember what my friend Fern said, “if you aren’t willing to give 100%, the marriage isn’t going to work”. Plan to give more than 100%. As Simon said in the interview, “Don’t hold on to arguments”. Let go and forgive. It is so extremely important in maintaining a good relationship with your spouse.
Learn to listen. Most of the time when someone tells of a problem they are having, they aren’t looking for a solution, they just need to express themselves. This is especially true of women. Men, on the other hand, usually only express their problem to another male when they are looking for a solution. It is only natural, then, that they would feel they have to solve the problem when a woman shares that problem. This can often create discord in the relationship.
(If you want to understand the differences in how men and women communicate, read the Men Are From Mars, Women are From Venus series of books.)
One of the things that I think Simon and Jessica have gotten right is to figure out what the expectations are for each of them. If you can express your expectations at the beginning of the conversation, then your spouse is better prepared to meet your needs.
Third, work at keeping the love alive. Find new and different things to do with each other. Spend time with each other. Nurture each other.
I am still looking for some couples to interview for this series. If you are interested, please leave a comment and let me know how long you have been married. I will be using couples who have been married for various lengths of time, so any length marriage qualifies. Some of you have expressed that you didn’t think your marriage would qualify because you have been married more than once. However, if you have figured out some things to keep your marriage alive and happy, you qualify.
Have a fabulous day. Keep the lines of communication open and the keep the love alive!