Each stage of life looks different and brings unique challenges to every couple. My hope is that you will be inspired by the stories of the women in this series. I hope that their experiences will help you find more ways to make your marriage relationship a priority throughout every stage of your own life.
I'm excited to be continuing this series this year. I've loved reading everyone's stories and have been so inspired by each of the wives that I've had here so far. Today's interview is with my friend Elyse. We met through blogging and I've loved getting to know her! She and her husband are high school sweethearts, turned long distance relationship, turned marriage. I loved everything that she shared and know you will too!
What does it mean to you to prioritize your marriage?
For me, it means doing things everyday that help us have a more successful relationship than the day before. For me, to prioritize my marriage, it's figuring out what's going to work best for us at that particular time in our life. Sometimes that means we can only carve out 10 minutes of cuddling on the couch when a deadline looms and sometimes that means date nights 3 times a week.
How have the different stages you've experienced in life affected how you prioritize your marriage?
After 15 years, we’ve experienced SO many different stages, from spending every waking moment together to only seeing each other every few months our senior years of high school, it has shaped how we spend our time now living together as a married couple.
When we first started dating in Grade 10 we saw each other in school and had weekly dates, but that all changed in Grade 11 when Andrew moved 4 hours away with his parents. For the next 3 years we only had our daily phone conversations and the occasional face-to-face time. At the time it felt like it was the most difficult thing in the world but as an adult I see only the benefits to this awful time. It taught us good communication, the importance of date nights and if you love someone you make time for them.
When we went to college, we chose different colleges which meant MORE time long distance, but it was relatively easy because we had access to more money and were able to take the trains to see each other frequently. During this time we continued to learn how to make our unique relationship work. We spent entire weekends together, having fun and dreaming together.
Our last year of college I transferred to his college so that we could be done with the long distance thing. This year was an amazing time for our relationship. We spent every moment that we weren’t in class, together. Date nights happened at least 3 times a week.
Finally, after college was over we moved in together. This was a HUGE learning experience for both of us because we’d never lived together before, we both had our first real jobs and it was probably the hardest time of our relationship. We had to learn to bring in all the things we’d learned from our previous experiences such as communication, continuing to learn about each other and date nights and make it work in real life.
When we got married, for some reason even though we’d lived together for years it felt more ‘real’ and we’ve stepped up our game even more to make our relationship work. Date nights, continuing to learn about each other. We don’t let a day go by without thinking about ways to improve our relationship; to serve each other better.
What are some rituals/traditions (big or small) that you have with your spouse?
I never understood how important rituals or traditions are important in marriage until we actually started being more intentional in creating some.
The only tradition we’ve had since the beginning of our relationship is what we call ‘Grinch and Grilled Cheese’. When the first snowfall hits whether that’s in October or December, we make grilled cheese, pull out the animated version of The Grinch Who Stole Christmas and cuddle up on the couch.
Since moving to Vancouver six months ago, we’ve created another ritual that I’m really excited about. After dinner, after everything is cleaned up, we sit on the couch and drink tea together. It started as a fun ritual to relax after a long day but we’re also having some great conversations that I am not sure we would’ve had without this ritual.
How have the obstacles and challenges that you’ve faced as a couple made you a stronger team?
I love this question. After 15 years, I feel like there isn’t anything we haven’t experienced together. Job loss, long distance relationship, surgeries, family deaths, cross-country moving, and miscarriages, those are just a few off the top of my head that we’ve experienced. Something that I think separates the good marriages from the bad is how they react to obstacles and challenges. For us, we become closer, we lean on each other to get us through whatever hardship we have.
Even before we moved across the country, just the planning of it would make me burst into tears. Andrew took care of everything because even though I wanted to move, I had a lot of inner turmoil about moving because I’ve always lived SO close to my family. We moved away from family and we had to rely on each other. This past Christmas was our first Christmas we haven’t had to rush out the door at lunchtime to be at someone else’s house. We got to spend the morning in bed and then we enjoyed opening up our presents from our families with our family watching through Facetime and Skype. We made a huge breakfast for two and enjoyed the entire day together.
Our life is hardly perfect, the area that we most struggle with is our expectations. Our expectations for each other are always changing, and sometimes it easy to forget to tell each other or sometimes you think that your expectation for them might make them angry so you don’t say anything and then arguments happen because they aren’t doing something you expected them to do, even though you might not have actually vocalized your expectation. It’s something we’re constantly working on.
Tell me about something that you hope to be able to do together in the future?
We would like to take a trip. We never went on a honeymoon because of the nature of Andrew’s job, it just wasn’t feasible so we would like to at least go somewhere fun for a week. We don’t have any specific plans of where though. Probably somewhere warm but we’ve also talked about an Alaskan cruise.
Now that we’re in our 30s, I am hoping that our next adventure is parenthood. I’ve always known I’d be a mother and my husband would make the greatest dad, it’s just a matter of time.