I cannot believe Chris and I are engaged!!! To say I am excited to marry this man, is an understatement. I am simply ecstatic! We have received SO much love and well wishes from so many friends, family members, and all of YOU!
To kick off our engagement, we were lucky enough to have some friends of ours, who also happen to be marriage counselors, give us some amazing advice. Since February is the month of love and all… I wanted to share the words with you, as I know many of you out there are in relationships and can always use some inspiration!
Learn from your past
We all have junk in our past. The best thing each of partner can do is to acknowledge their junk, work through it, and grow from it into a better, healthier person. Anyone who thinks they can drag their junk into a new relationship and just bury it in the back of some closet is making a huge mistake. Lastly, sharing your junk with each other gives you both the chance to be honest, vulnerable, and authentic. This, in turn, fosters greater intimacy. In essence, your past junk can be leveraged to grow your future together. How awesome is that?!
Live in the present
We talk often about how important is is to be present for one another, to really be there in the moment. Everyone says, “Yeah, yeah, I know what that means,” but fewer couples know how to live out being present day in and day out. Let’s be honest, there is a great deal of stress at times in medicine and emergency services. When you choose to be present for each other, you are essentially saying, “There is nothing more important than me being here for you in this moment we have together.” This is how lifelong partners learn to stay well connected.
Plan for the future
Couples don’t plan for their marriages to fail, many times they merely fail to plan. Planning together in a marriage is really dreaming together. What will our life together look like in five years? Ten years? What kind of vacations would we enjoy together? How many kids (or dogs) will we have? Even when your spouse’s dreams are out of your comfort zone, dream anyway. Falling in love is easy, staying in love requires a plan.
Choose your spouse again every single day
We all have so many choices to make in life each day. Shouldn’t the first one be to choose each other all over again? It sounds elementary, but choosing each other every day takes effort. It takes intentionality. It takes two people who acknowledge that a great deal of things COULD come between them over the course of their life together, but they will refuse to let that happen by choosing each other every day.
Your spouse will do things that drive you bonkers! No really, they will. Also, you will do things that make your spouse crazy. That’s exactly what grace and forgiveness are for. Grace says, “I don’t understand, but I choose to love you anyway.” Forgiveness says, “You don’t deserve a get-out-of-jail-free-card, but I’m going to give you one this time anyway for two reasons: first, because this weight is too heavy a grudge for me to carry, and second, because I hope to receive the same kind of forgiveness when (not if) I need it.” The two of us always say to give away grace and forgiveness like candy. This does not mean you allow yourself to be walked on. On the contrary, it means you are taking the higher ground and not letting your spouse’s shortcomings become your own burdens.
There will always be something in life worth fighting for: each other
It seems these days that everyone has a cause, let your cause be that of showing the world what selfless, committed love looks like. You will disagree, argue, and fight at times. When this happens, remind yourself of what is worth fighting for. Is it worth it to fight over who squeezes the toothpaste tube the wrong way or who leaves the toilet seat in the wrong position? HECK NO! Fight for each other. Always.
No plan B
Spouses who keep an exit strategy in their back pocket will be more likely to use it as a means to avoid doing the work required to stay together and grow. Besides, what’s so bad about doing some work to stay together? That’s how we grow in all things. We all remember the times we wanted to quit school. When we pressed through the rough spots, we grew and overcame. We became better and stronger. Marriage can be the same if we are not constantly looking for a reason to invoke Plan B.
Dance together, slowly and often
There is something intimate, sexy, and fun about slow dancing together. Each of you should be deliberately spontaneous at times to grab the other and dance. Shut the world out, look into each other’s eyes, remember why you fell in love, and just dance.
Be the person you want to be married to
Most spouses spend far too much time wishing their spouse would change and far too little time working on changing themselves for the better. This is tragic. Be in the habit of working on yourself first so that you are a better person in light of the whole, not in spite of it.
Surround yourselves with others who have the kind of relationship you want
We talk often about this idea of having marriage mentors. Surrounding yourselves with great marriages is the doorway to healthy marriage mentoring. A rising tide raises all ships. This can be true of marriage as well.
As I read each of these points, I couldn’t help but be even more excited to jump in and surround myself with all the relationship inspiration and literature that I can get! There’s just something about February and Valentine’s Day that really puts me in the spirit for love. And bring on alllll the red and pink!
Although Chris and I have a solid relationship, Brad and Tami’s advice brings up such crucial points. There will be so many obstacles in life that may bring about challenges, and no matter how easy and perfect your relationship is, it is SO important to know how to navigate through these challenges.
I look at marriage counseling and advice books as excellent resources. I used to be the type of person that wouldn’t reach out for more information, unless I felt there was a problem. Well I feel totally different now. Life is hard. Shit gets real. Bad things happen. And I’m going to do everything in my power to be prepared for those hard times! Geez… practice emergency medicine much, Cassie? Can we say prepared to paranoia status?
In all seriousness, I am psyched to be kicking off my engagement with so much love and happiness around me. Thank you all so so much for being such a great source of support regularly!
You can learn more about our friends, Brad and Tami, here. And if you want daily relationship inspiration (I am SUCH a sucker for the daily inspirational quotes!!), you can find them on IG @tandemmarriage.