Posts tagged marriage
The Moving Advice No One Gave You
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It's been a while since I've shared a personal post, so if you are looking to learn a bit about what's been going on in my life, read on! If you are looking for some "regular" blogs showcasing beautiful weddings and other work of mine, click here!

The past month or so, I've been spending every free minute doing something I hardly ever did these past 5+ years after moving out on my own: thinking about, caring about, and working towards having a beautiful home that I love. I am so grateful for the Lord's provision of a nice home with space for my husband and I, but since we both prioritize quality time and memories over material things, most of our extra time and money went into experiences. Trips to Pittsburgh, trying out new restaurants, we rarely had a whole entire weekend at home! And we loved it!

People described my home as "cute" and "cozy" which I have to remind myself isn't a bad thing. But I wanted amazing. Who doesn't?! This new year, my resolution was to, and I quote, "give a crap about my house." Little did I know that an amazing place was right around the corner. Literally. I moved our entire life as a married couple right around the corner. And as with any major life event, I couldn't have gotten through without my amazing church family!

Please enjoy a lighter take on the moving advice no one gave you! I hope it saves you from a few headaches and disasters during your next move! *all photos are from my iphone, as you probably realized. I'm a better photographer than this lol.

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INVITE YOUR FRIENDS WITH KIDS

You may shy away from asking for help from your friends with kids, but it's actually a great opportunity to put young legs to work! We had some help from a nifty hand cart from Harbor Freight, which made moving fun for the kiddos! They actually argued about who could pull it. How's THAT for free labor?! Shout out to Jill and her amazing kiddos. Love you all!

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EVERYTHING IS A STEPSTOOL

You know that feeling at Christmas when you are wrapping a present and you lose the tape? That's how moving is when you need a stepstool. It's always, without fail, in another room, or on another floor. Luckily, if you are reckless like moi, everything can be a stepstool including appliances. As my husband knows all too well, my motto in life is that there's a solution to every problem!!

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MUSCLES + TRUCKS

I honestly thought I could get around this one since we were, after all, moving literally three houses down and around the corner. Even if it's a baby move like mine, you'll always need muscles and a truck in you have furniture. I personally apologize to everyone involved moving that 34234 pound hutch. Love you guys.

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HUMANS > RATCHET STRAPS

Have you ever used a ratchet strap? It is very likely that I am just mechanically challenged save for camera gear (watch me open a lock sometime, haha!), but I cannot for the life of me figure out ratchet straps. Chalk that up to one more thing I should have learned form my dad when I could. But the funny thing is, almost everyone else I've talked to struggles with those buggers too. So, in the same reckless fashion as the stepstool thing, hop up in that truck and use your greatest asset - yourself - to hunker down that hutch. (Please don't actually do this unless you are, again, moving around the corner. I'm pretty sure it's illegal and all that good stuff).

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LOOK UP THE MANUAL

What happens when your new appliances are High Efficiency but your brain is not? The photo above. I know you might be excited to not have to haul your laundry down three flights and into the basement and all you wanna do is take that Whirlpool for a whirl, but please read the manual first. Also, even though the detergent reservoir can hold a lot and the soap disappears as your pour it in, it does NOT, in fact, hold a half bottle of soap to dispense the proper amount on it's own. You still have to do a little bit of thinking to measure your soap, unfortunately.

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KNOW WHERE YOU PACKED THE COFFEE

I think the photo pretty much explains this one. Things that you use all the time and pack last should also be unloaded last, so you know where to find them! I knew where my trusty pink water bottle was at all times. But the connectors to hang the shower curtain? Box of kcups? Silverware? Who knows...

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TAKE TIME TO REMINISCE

I never thought I would miss our old house, the peeling wallpaper, the floors that offered fun sounds as you walked and the occasional splinter. But something weird happened as I mopped each room after cleaning all day, shutting out the light as I finished each. I was just a tiny little bit sad to go. This is where our marriage was built. This house is the first real home Brandon has had since moving out on his own, the house where we hauled all of our wedding stuff as we left for our honeymoon. The house where we got a puppy. The house where we built and grew relationships over dinner and board games. The house where we accomplished great things to set us on the path to achieving our "adult goals." Brandon finished his undergrad here. We were both unemployed here and had summers with fishing and $3 minnow buckets for fun. We had some serious conversations here, we started marriage counseling here. We lost our dads here. We found a church here, and new purpose and passions and dreams. I was sad to go, but it makes it so much better to know that now, in our new home, is where all of our hard work and heartaches are going to bear fruit and we can finally say "we made it."

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Are you the husband or wife you want to be?
A note before you dive in: this is a personal post intended to show you a bit of my life and my heart. My life is more than photography, and I am passionate about sharing everything I learn that gives me joy in hopes that it can bring you joy in your life too, whether you're a photographer, a fiancee, a senior, a mom, or just a fan. If this kind of touchy-feely stuff isn't for you, hop on over to my  Blog Archive  to find just what you're looking for!

A note before you dive in: this is a personal post intended to show you a bit of my life and my heart. My life is more than photography, and I am passionate about sharing everything I learn that gives me joy in hopes that it can bring you joy in your life too, whether you're a photographer, a fiancee, a senior, a mom, or just a fan. If this kind of touchy-feely stuff isn't for you, hop on over to my Blog Archive to find just what you're looking for!

WHY YOU NEED MARRIAGE COUNSELING

There is so much out there to prepare us to get married. We can plan every detail of our day out down to the napkin color. We take pre-marital counseling and learn how many kids our spouse wants to have or ways to "fight nice" if you're lucky. But no one ever teaches you how to BE married after the GET married part is done. And once you are married, you understand why that is - it's a difficult, individual, and evolving process. This is year 5 of wedded bliss for my hubby and I, and while I am certainly no expert on love, and while I haven't been married all that long, I have learned some big lessons along the way that I'm all too happy to pass on.

WHY I NEEDED COUNSELING

Do you know what the word stigma means? It means there's a pre-conceived idea, or judgement, about a certain thing. The stigma with marriage counseling is that it's for couples that can't make it on their own, who's love life has crashed and is burning before their eyes. That simply isn't true. Counseling can make a good marriage great, and if your spouse wants to go to counseling, it is one of the most selfless acts of love he or she can show you. It means he's in it 100%. That she is  willing to do whatever it takes to stay strong. 

Our marriage was definitely good, but we weren't doing whatever it took to stay strong. In fact, the world weakened us more and more each year we were married. We weathered things like job loss and unemployment (both of us). Shattered dreams when the careers we prepared our lives for were met with shut doors over and over as interview after interview didn't pan out - again, for both of us. Surgeries and illness from people that depended on us for their care. The death of both of our fathers and the financial stress that put on us when we were left with a funeral to pay for. None of this is a plea for pity. It is simply to say, how amazing is the God we serve to give us exactly what we needed to strengthen us?! He gave us the strength to pick ourselves up and reinvent ourselves over and over until we landed on something great.

One afternoon, we had one of the most real, heart-wrenching conversations we ever had. Our marriage, and we both agreed on this, was weakening more and more each year. And because we believe that marriage is a covenant and that God wants us to be happy, we decided to go to counseling. Year 5 was going to be great (and it has been!)

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SEEK PEACE AND PURSUE IT

I had a lot of bitterness in my heart. I'm a perfectionist, impatient, quick to get annoyed. Or at least, I was. Our counselor, after a few sessions, put the frank and honest impression on me that if we wanted things to get stronger, I had to do a major heart check. So I went to the one thing that was always right, always true, always good enough: my faith. Psalm 34:14 reads "seek peace and pursue it." It was so hard to do. When I got disproportionally annoyed at something, I had to seek peace and pursue that peace. Seek it, meaning shut my mouth and LOOK for it in my heart, in the memories we created together, in the "forever-ness" that my anchor tattoo was to remind me of. And it was hard. When you seek and FIND, you then have to pursue. That meant choosing not to react, not to let my uncontrolled emotions out. And like the true magic of scripture, heeding the Lord's advice began to transform me. I wasn't as annoyed. I was happier. It was working.

REACTION VS. RESPONSE

What I was essentially doing was teaching myself to respond, not react. It's a concept I didn't think about much until out counselor spelled it out. It applied to Brandon too - I had to allow him time to react, and ignore that reaction, and take his later response as truth. We both learned a lot of grace for each other in this season. We learned to communicate difficult things, "hot-button" issues, and allowed each other to react, to work through those raw emotions, before dealing with how we truly felt, or responded.

LEARN HOW TO FIGHT

When you're dating someone, you learn so much about them. Preference, tastes, history - but did you learn about his or her emotions and how he or she deals with them? Now that my husband and I made space for our emotions to play out in a safe way that wouldn't hold weight or inflict damage, we had to figure out what triggered the bad ones have a plan to deal with them. We had to learn how to fight.

During a fight, do you come after your partner guns-ablaze, wanting to shout down every detail? Do you want to just run away and not be bothered or even looked at? We were one of each. And it took actually talking about how we prefer to fight, and then pursuing a compromise (space at first, with a promise to talk after our emotions were in-check) to really learn how to take fights from DEstructive to CONstructive.

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WHAT ISN'T YOUR LOVE LANGUAGE

One of the newer revelations I've had is that it's not only important to know what your spouse's love language is, but perhaps more importantly for YOU, what isn't. If you haven't heard of Dr. Chapman's love languages, they are 5 ways in which people typically feel loved. They are, in no particular order, Physical Touch, Acts of Service, Words of Affirmation, Gifts, and Quality Time. While Brandon and I know that Quality Time is both of our love languages (how lucky!), and we intentionally schedule coffee dates, devotionals, bible studies, and set aside one day a week just for fun plans together, it took a few years to figure out the implications of honoring what WASN'T our love language.

I would get very upset when I spent hours cleaning the house or prepping meals, only to have a "thanks so much" in return. It seemed like I just put in the effort to climb Mount Everest, and the response I got was a seemingly flippant "cool" and not the overflow of excited praise and gratitude I was expecting. Understanding what holds weight to your spouse, or in other words what their love language is,  will greatly shape how enthusiastically they respond and how deeply it will affect them. I finally chose not to be offended, but rather to understand that the gratitude is there, just not expressed as strongly as I was expecting it because he just isn't wired that way. And that's ok!

LOVE BEARS ALL THINGS

So if you are in the throws of Pinterest board building to prepare for your upcoming wedding, or if you have been married years already and find random socks all throughout your house too, I truly hope this advice can strike a chord and make your marriage great. I highly encourage counseling, which teaches us above all else, to pay attention to our emotions and talk them out. I love love. I'm in the profession of love as a wedding photographer, and there's nothing I want more than to help people remember why they love each other. One of the greatest pieces of marriage advice actually came to me just yesterday as I was reading "How's Your Soul" by Judah Smith. I'll leave you with this truth-bomb as Judah explores the 4 characteristics of love, found in 1 Cor. 13:7:

The first term is bear.... The term literally means ‘put a roof on.’ Figuratively, it has the idea of covering or keeping something confidential; it can also mean putting up with something. Paul was telling the Corinthian believers that love is a roof and a cover. Love protects, shields, and conceals the weaknesses of others.... This doesn’t mean we ignore sin; it means we don’t use people fault’s and failures to expose or shame them. We publicly cover them and privately restore them with the goal of bringing about health in their lives.
— Judah Smith, How's Your Soul?
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