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.
Tayler and I have been blog friends for a while now, and have had the opportunity to become friends in real life as well. I've loved watching her family grow and seeing how she and her husband handle the challenges that come their way. I'm so glad that she agreed to be part of this series!
What does it mean to prioritize your marriage?
We've always been told that marriage is important in the eyes of God. But, we've also been taught by our religious leaders that when you put God first, you will automatically become closer to your spouse. It's a love triangle with God at the top--the closer you get to him, the closer you and your spouse will become.
We prioritize our marriage by making sure to spend time with each other every evening. Whether it be cuddling five minutes before going to bed, playing a board game, or just spending time in the same room while doing different things, we try to make it work. We also believe in fully supporting each other. I've told Justin I will follow him wherever he goes and support him no matter what further education or career choices he makes. And he supports me in my endeavors in blogging, freelancing, and teaching English online.
How have the different stages you’ve experienced in life affected how you prioritize your relationship with each other?
When it was just the two of us, we spent all the time in the world together and went on numerous dates. As Mormons, we attended an LDS temple every single month. Now that we have two children (3 years old and 6 months old), it's a little harder, especially with Justin's commute, bed schedules, and my awkward online teaching schedule. But, we've learned that prioritizing your marriage when you have kids doesn't necessarily have to only happen on kid-less dates. We love doing family activities--we love taking our kids with us on adventures and "dates". Both of us find being a parent very attractive. So, when I see Justin being a wonderful father to our children, I fall even deeper in love with him. And, same goes for him.
What are some rituals/traditions (big or small) that you have with your spouse?
We have quite a few. Sunday is Justin's day to cook, not because I make him, but because he also loves to be in the kitchen and experiment. We try to read scriptures as a couple every night and try to have a couple meeting every Monday. Whenever Justin has to travel for work, I Facetime him twice a day--once before the kids go to bed and then once right before I go to bed. Never do we ever go to bed without saying prayers as a couple or saying "I love you."
How have the obstacles and challenges that you’ve faced as a couple made you a stronger team?
Nothing refines you quite like becoming a parent: pains and cravings and complaining and complications during pregnancy, sleepless nights and feelings of being helpless to your kids in the beginning, switching off bedtimes, emergency room trips, patience with kids, patience with each other, missing family when apart, debating about parenting philosophies...the list could go on. But, being parents is always going to be a learning experience. Neither of us are more in charge of the kids--we both take equal responsibility in them and we work together to help raise them the best we can.
Another trial that helped us come out stronger was last year. At the beginning of 2016, we couldn't afford to pay rent anymore since I quit teaching to stay at home with our son, Rhys. We moved in with my parents. We had to learn to balance being with my family so often and being alone. I also had to be more sensitive and perceptive to Justin's thoughts and feelings and to not let me or my family tread on his toes as head of our household. Then, in May, a week after we found out we were pregnant with Evelyn, Justin's entire department gets laid off. Being unemployed with no income and living in the basement of my parents while pregnant with our second child was quite the blow to both of our pride. But, we learned to support each other, sending optimistic texts throughout the day. Me, telling Justin I trusted in him and how proud I was of him and my faith in him and his abilities to get hired at a new job. Him, telling me that I was strong physically and mentally (I was suffering depression and having a really physically bad first trimester). When we did get a job and moved to Texas, Justin had to travel across the country for the next two months for corporate, leaving me alone to unpack, 20 weeks pregnant, with a toddler, and no family or friends. But, we have really come to rely on each other and be each other's main supporter since then. Our marriage, family, and faith are all stronger than they were a year ago.