I am endlessly nosey about people’s marriages. I love to know what works and what doesn’t and find it so fascinating how some of the strangest personality combinations come together in the most seamless unions. To celebrate ReCAST’s marriage retreat, I wrote a few nosey questions and asked some couples to respond. Here is a little window into the marriages of Linda and Don Filcek, Stephanie and Nathan Fuller, Kelsey and Nick McLaughlin, Jessica and Jordan DeHart and maybe a tidbit or two from Jeff and myself.
If you could go back to your wedding day and whisper one piece of advice to yourself right before you walk down the aisle, what would it be?
Even when he messes up, trust that his intentions for you are good. -Kelsey
“Live with your wife in an understanding manner” does not mean you actually have to understand her, it just means you have to appreciate and love the things you don’t understand about her. -Nick
Be patient. This relationship will get a lot worse and harder before it will get better. But it will get better. -Linda
I didn’t walk down the aisle, Linda did. -Don
Don’t let your wedding day be the best your marriage ever experiences. Enjoy the day and the honeymoon bliss, but strive to make each year better. -Stephanie
For every twenty words you want to say, just say one. Don’t drown him with every thought you have, but make sure that when you talk, you are actually communicating something. Honestly, 26-year-old Becky, you need to learn the virtue of shutting up occasionally. Also, this man really does love you, so you can stop being constantly afraid that he will change his mind. Ignore all the people that tell you not to baby him, go ahead and take good care of him, that is what is going to work for the two of you. -Becky
I would tell myself to tuck that one piece of hair behind my ear or bobby pin it better. Every time I see my wedding pictures it still bugs me!! Hahahahaha. -Jessica
Most problems seem much smaller in the rear view mirror. -Jordan
In what ways do you thing getting marriage instruction- like at a marriage retreat- has helped you build your marriage?
It is good to be reminded from time to time that we still need to work on our marriage. So many other things creep in and crowd out our connection. -Don
It gets us away from normal life an gives us an opportunity to talk about “us” that we would not have otherwise. -Linda
It’s helped give me a mindset that marriage is something that requires constant growth, that investment will bring benefits. Retreats or books that give Biblical instructions provide tools that are needed for building. Our first marriage retreat, I’d say we went as a way to celebrate five years and get away together after our first baby. We were in a good place, but an empty tool belt won’t be very useful in any building/growth. -Stephanie
I think that marriage retreats have helped by specifically giving us time to focus on ourselves, and not just over a meal or quiet time away from the kids, but by giving us topics and questions to answer that focus on marriage. -Kelsey
Spending time thinking about your marriage is really helpful. -Nick
It can give valuable outside perspective for how to work on your marriage. Often we are too close to the problems to see the solution. -Jordan
I think it helps us get back together amidst all the crazy of every day life. It gives us little moments to reconnect so we will still know each other once the kids are grown and gone. -Jessica
What has marriage taught you about God?
How faithful He is, how much He truly loves us and wants the best for us, and how to sacrifice parts of myself for the greater good of our marriage. -Jessica
The church is referred to as the bride. Being married give us some perspective on the nature of God’s love for us. -Jordan
God has much more expertise in how life works best than I do. Marriage has taught me to obey Him when it is hard and to trust His way even when it is counter-cultural. He gentleness and faithfulness are constantly communicated to me through the vehicle of my husband. -Becky
I think it gives me a greater appreciation for His forgiveness. Some days it’s really hard to forgive my spouse and I know some days it is hard for him to forgive me… then I think about what God has forgiven both of us and I am grateful. -Kelsey
I am much more selfish than I could have imagined before I was married. -Don
I’m a sinner and He’s forgiving. -Linda
How completely gracious He is and how undeserving I am. Marriage is like a mirror showing your innermost reflections to you on a daily basis- you can often see some ugly character qualities which makes God’s perfect holiness that much more desirable. -Stephanie
What is one way that you kept yourselves connected while you had young children?
We had a weekly date night. It cost extra money to get a babysitter but it was worth it. And we had a tight budget. -Don
Date nights every week! We had a babysitter come over every Thursday evening. Sometimes our date ended up being grocery shopping at Meijer but we were together and we were away from our kids. -Linda
We’ve never had a set date night before kids or even after having two. I now see how significant it is to routinely get out of the house to enjoy time together. -Stephanie
Tell you when I’m older. -Jordan
We make sure to book times, like the marriage retreat, and try to steal moments when they are asleep. It doesn’t always work the way we want but we keep trying. -Jessica
We are actually really good at sending the kids to grandparents or calling a babysitter so we can get out of the house together. AND on a daily basis, we try to have “coffee time” in the morning where the kids have to find something to do while we take 20 minutes in our room to sip coffee and connect before the day starts. -Kelsey
How would you tell a single person who has the desire to be married someday to prepare himself or herself for it?
I would tell a single person to start spending time looking at others, identifying their needs, and finding ways to meet them or encourage them. – Kelsey
Marriage is like having sleepovers with your best friend every night. It’s magical and fun, but its also A LOT of hard work. You don’t get to just leave when you are mad. You have to stay and work it out so you two can be the best possibles “yous” that God calls you to be. Also, make deposits into you love account every day, big or small, so whenever you need to make a withdrawal you don’t go negative. -Jessica
Don’t define yourself/your life based on whether or not you are married. Everyone’s journey looks different, don’t judge/force yours based on someone else’s. -Jordan
What you do before marriage is carried into it- your habits, routines, choices, desires. Marriage does not magically change those so work hard to form healthy habits and routines that grow you closer to Christ. Be a person who seeks to know more about God in that way, whether you get married or not, your life will be growing in love. -Stephanie
Don’t live too selfishly. If you want to get and stay married you are going to have to learn to be concerned for others, so take care of the people in your life now. Try not to play games and be manipulative, those are short cuts to entangle a person but they don’t do anything to build real love. You want someone to love you, so you need to be you, don’t mold yourself into what you think is the perfect package- you loving Jesus and letting Him express Himself through you is the perfect package all on its own. -Becky
If you are out with your hubby or wifey this Valentines day, we would love for you to answer some of these questions and post your answers in the comments so that we can benefit from more marriage wisdom.
Don’t forget to sign up this Sunday for the marriage retreat.