Today we took time to interview our blogging buddies at Bring the Kids and asked them a few questions about their marriage.
How long have you been married?
We’ve been married for 6 years!
Where/how did you meet?
We were both skiing up at Snowbird, were in the singles line and hopped on the lift together. (On a funny note, Jessica’s Mom was always furious that she would ski by herself because she was worried she’d get hurt, but I think it worked out to our advantage.) On our ride up, we started chatting and found out that we only lived a few blocks away from each other. We took a run together which quickly turned into skiing together the whole day. Initially, we just would ski and hang out, but then after a few weeks we started dating. After a series of wild adventures, and spending all day, every day together in Africa for several months, Andrew proposed at the summit of Mt Kilimanjaro!
Do you have common vision for your family/marriage and if so what is it?
We want to be together forever with our family, so we want it to be as happy a place as possible. We both love to play, but also really enjoy working together which are things that we are working to pass on to our kids. Our religion also plays a strong role in our relationship so involving God in our lives, is critical for us. We talk a lot about what we want and don’t want for our own family as well, which is a good way for us to make sure that we are on track with where we go. Ultimately, our goal is to be able to take a few weeks off a year when our kids are a little older and just travel and explore with them. When we were dating, we spent 3 months in Africa working with a humanitarian aid group and that completely changed the way that we viewed the world. We plan on taking similar trips as a family so that we can provide those types of opportunities to our kids as well.
As the husband, what is one thing you have learned that keeps your marriage on the right track?
With our marriage, I need to notice the things that she appreciates that I do and also take note of the things that I do or don’t do that bother her. Basically, I can monitor how I am doing at caring for her by paying attention to how we are communicating. I need to listen when she has a bad day. I need to support when she’s struggling with the kids. If she has a class that she wants to attend or a race that she is training for, I need to make time to watch the kids so that she can grow and develop on her own. These are the small things that show that I’m interested and care. When I get caught in the trap of my own little world and don’t consider her needs, it shows and she notices.
One thing that I do is ask, “How is your love meter”, in other words, “how am I doing at loving you?” On a scale of 1 – 10 she can let me know how I am doing for her. There are definitely times when I have much need for improvement, but asking for and receiving quick feedback through a number lets me know where I’m at and lets her know that I’m trying to do better.
As the wife, what is one thing you have learned that keeps your marriage on the right track?
Don’t nag my husband. I’ve realized there will always be a huge list of things I want done, or need help with. Most of these are unimportant in the grand scheme. The more important thing is finding ways to show Andrew how much I love and appreciate him and all the great things he brings to our marriage. I’ve found that by focusing on his strengths rather than his weaknesses, I am able to more fully love him and help him achieve his full potential. Besides, he’s so much happier when I’m telling him the things he’s doing great rather than all of his shortcomings!
How much does good communication affect the unity of your marriage?
Wow, this one is huge. Although we both really understand that communication is important, it took us a long time to figure out the best way for us to communicate with each other. Andrew would like to talk things out and Jessica would like to talk for a few minutes and then think on her own. To balance the two, we talk things out until we start getting too emotional and then we take a break for the day. Usually when we revisit the issue, the small problems fade away and we’re both much more level headed about the situation.
Are there daily things you do that promote healthy communication?
Each night after the kids go to bed, we typically spend about an hour just for us. We talk about our day, about our kids, and then take time to study the scriptures together. As we bring the spiritual aspect into our everyday interactions, we are able to really have a much deeper and more meaningful relationship.
How has being active in the outdoors together helped your marriage?
Being active and adventurous was how our relationship started so continuing that when we got married was very natural. It’s our release from all the stresses and worries that seem to surround us. It gives us time to relax and just enjoy being together, and most importantly, just talk. Being active outside gives us a great chance to focus on us without all the distractions of computers, TV, and phone creeping in. Most of our best memories together happened outside and we hope that continues both in our marriage and with our whole family. These adventures and the strength we gain from them are a huge part of what makes us so close.
To hear more from Andrew and Jessica visit their half of the marriage series over at Bring the Kids. Thanks guys!