The Wives to Watch in Every Stage of Life series is one that I've been really excited about for a while! 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 featured 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 really excited to be sharing this interview with you! Tanika is one of the greatest women you'll ever meet and one of my heroes! She and her husband, Daniel, have two cute kids and she has played single mother to them while Daniel has been deployed this year. He just returned on Halloween and I am so excited that she has him home! The things that this woman had tackled and endured while her husband wasn't around are more than I think I could handle with my husband home and the family that we have around to help. Tanika and Daniel are a great team and an awesome example to me of the effort that it takes to make a marriage work!
What does it mean to you to prioritize your marriage?
For me, prioritizing my marriage means that my husband comes first, even before my kids. That's easier said than done but at the end of the day, if you put your kids before your marriage-where will your marriage be when the kids are gone? I am Mormon so Daniel and I are sealed in the temple. Which, we believe, means we are together for eternity. Our eternal future depends on us putting each other first, making time for each other even when we are tired. It's remembering to say sorry. It's putting being married over being right. But mostly, it's making sure that my husband knows that I love him dearly, that my life would be a mess without him and that I cherish our marriage and our life each and every day.
How have the different stages you've experienced in life affected how you prioritize your relationship with each other?
Gordon B. Hinckley said that marriage should be an adventure. I think he was right.
My marriage so far has been a HUGE adventure. Partly because my husband is in the military and we have moved three times in five years. (That's fairly few in comparison! We are lucky!) Each move has strengthened us even more because when you uproot your family--all you have IS your family and you really do cling to each other.
Our first year of marriage was hard. We were newlyweds, we added a baby AND the military to the mix. AH! So we were honestly just trying to get through the storm and get over the hill.
But by the third year we had found our groove and it wasn't so hard to put each other first. We both got better at saying sorry, we got better at not staying mad, we got BETTER. We got better for EACH OTHER.
We are on year 5 now, and I am more in love with him now than I was when I met him. We are stronger now. We aren't so serious anymore. We have gotten into serious tickle fights before and a few really awesome nerf gun wars. We try to keep our marriage fun but also keep it whole. It all comes with time though. You have to work the bugs out especially when you are as stubborn as we are! (ha!)
I have no doubt that as the years go on, our adventure together will get better and better.
What are some rituals/traditions that you have with your spouse?
I LOVE big traditions, truly! Especially during the holidays or on birthdays. But I think my marriage is strengthened most by the small ones.
We tackle nighttime together. There is something kind of awesome about being able to have dinner, bathe the kids, do prayers, books and bedtime like a well-oiled machine. I know that sounds lame but I love that we have got the nighttime routine down!
But after the kiddos are in bed, after everything is all cleaned up, we sit on the couch and just talk about our day, we reconnect. Again, something small, but it matters a lot to me. Especially because my husband works long hours so these talks are some of the only time I get with him during the weekdays! Sometimes I will rub his back or he will rub my feet. Sometimes we play a card game while we talk. Or sometimes we just watch a show and cuddle. Those moments before we go to bed are some of my favorite moments!
How have the obstacles and challenges that you've faced as a couple made you a stronger team?
Learning how to disagree as an adult has been a challenge. We are both VERY stubborn so our arguments used to not be very good! But we had to grow up and remember that the person we are arguing with is someone we love and cherish and we DO NOT want to hurt them so our words need to reflect that. That COMPLETELY changed the way we argue now. We still have tiffs here and there and get annoyed with each other every now and again but each year we are married, we don't have as many big arguments. In the last year, I think my husband and I have had one big argument. I am hopeful that by our ten year anniversary we will not have had even one. This isn't to say we don't disagree, but no one sleeps on the couch over the disagreements anymore. ;)
Tell me about something that you hope to be able to do together in the future.
I hope that we continue to get better with experience and age. I hope that when our children are gone, we are still in love with each other, more than we are now. I hope that our children are able to look at us and see us as an example of a loving marriage. I hope that on our 25th anniversary, he takes me to Paris (haha! hint hint!)