5 Lessons I've Learned From The Love Series (& what it looks like in my own marriage)!
Hey boo, I've had some serious love on the brain this February, you too?
If you've been following along this month, you might also have love on the brain!
But, it's time to get real.
Today on The Love Series, my favorite person in the whole wide world is being interviewed on HERE (besides Livi, of course, but she makes an appearance too). Today, I'm interviewing my boo thang, my man candy, my husbae. There are also some sweet pics in here that my sweet friend, Heather Jackson, took.
Before we get started with the pictures and the interview, I just wanted to share 5 lessons I've learned since I've started The Love Series.
Are ya ready?! Okay, let's get started.
1. EVERYONE HAS BEHIND THE SCENES.
Since the series has started, I've started to think a lot about what makes a relationship (especially a marriage) really amazing. I can get also sorta of crazy and get caught up in this cycle thinking that some couples are just made for each other-- that there's no work involved. When I see couples interacting so effortlessly together and I forget that they also have their own backstage, their “behind-the-scenes” moments. What I really know is that happy and healthy marriages require lots of little positive daily practices-- conscious and unconscious.
2. I AM ENOUGH
As time went on and I began interviewing more beautiful, happy, and healthy couples thriving in the way they handled conflict, took care of each other, adventured, and laughed together, I started to doubt myself. I thought for sure I would learn about all the secrets these couples had to offer, and ways I could apply those tips & strategies to my own life, but like any human being, I got insecure.
Was I doing these things enough? Were we romantic, playful, funny, enough? Was our relationship enough? Taking a relationships class in college, reading countless books about relationships, coping, vulnerability, marriage, and happiness, and interviewing couples did not “bulletproof” me to have the best marriage, and it sure as hell doesn’t make me an expert. This also doesn't mean my marriage is falling apart. To me, this means I’m learning. And if you’re here reading this, I think this means you’re learning too.
I love that each couple is so unique and perfectly imperfect. Each couple has their own set of tools and secret weapons. And as you begin to navigate your marriage, sharing these secrets helps all of us learn and grow, diffuse conflict, increase romance, and gives us the courage to keep trying-- to keep fighting for love.
3. TURN TOWARDS EACH OTHER
John Gottman, researcher and author of The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work, talks a lot about "bids." He goes on to explain that married couples make bids towards each other's attention, affection, humor, and support. For example, last week I told Casey I wanted some more romance in our life (I know, total girl thing), and I told him I wanted to have a sleepover in the living room with a lot of pillows and blankets. What I was really doing was "bidding" for connection. I wanted some attention and affection.
This could have gone two ways. He could have ignored my request because it sounded like an attack towards him, leaving me lonely and hurt, or he could honor the request and have a movie night with me. On Saturday, when Livi and I got home from her friend's birthday party (he was at a conference), I walked in the house to a blown up air mattress and pillows in the living room, AND Casey was doing the dishes. I got lucky. He accepted my "bid."
4. LITTLE THINGS ARE ROMANTIC
For us, romance looks like blowing up the mattress in the living room and watching movies, or going to Barnes & Noble for date nights. It also looks like Casey finding ways to make me laugh in the middle of a fight, and it looks like me laughing instead of staying angry. When we first started dating we used to play bingo. I'd like to do more of that, and continue until we're old and gray! :) All I'm saying is, find your Barnes & Noble. Find what makes you laugh in the middle of a heated argument. Becoming aware of the ways we're turning towards each other have made our relationship feel more romantic.
5. I AM SO, SO, SO LUCKY
When I think about how much strength, commitment, and loyalty a marriage requires from both people, I actually consider that one of the most beautiful miracles to exist (besides our little boo): we are choosing to love and show love to our partner every damn day, and I think there’s something to be said about that.
Now, here is my husband-- the man, the myth, the legend, sharing his views on love. And if you know him in real life, he is a man of few words, so this is a lot for him, especially unprompted :)
"Falling in love is not a choice. You don’t pick and choose who you love, it just happens organically. Love is at a depth in the soul, that cannot be reached. At first, there isn't much thinking in love, it’s a feeling that cannot be manipulated, coerced, or rammed home. It’s the top of the human hierarchical chain. It can't be bought, impressed upon, or told to do so. Love is unmatched-- it's the ultimate “all or nothing”. The word love means nothing without the conviction that has to be lived by actually showing it. Love is so much more than a word: it’s a feeling, an action, a gesture. It's choosing to do something when you don’t want to, and knowing it would make the person feel like they are the most loved person in the world, if only for a moment. You can’t grasp love, for it would slip right through your fingers. You can’t hold on to it too tightly, for you would smother it. From the highest mountain top, the stream of love flows strong. Although it may be slow at times, and at other times gaining speed, it always stays the course, forging a new path with its resiliency. That’s the stuff that is so often searched for, but so rarely found. True love, that’s the good stuff."
HOW WE MET
We met at a high school football game. I was coaching college football and we were there scouting a player from the opposing team. You were a high school cheerleading coach at the football game. The students from your high school set it up to where I would talk to you at halftime of the game and you gave me your phone number. The rest is history.
HOW WE WORK THROUGH CONFLICT
It takes time. My wife likes to have everything hashed out right away, where I like to take my time and think for a while before talking. But we find a common ground, which is key, and we come to an agreement.
HIS LOVE LANGUAGE
Definitely Acts of Service. I love when things are done for me without me having to ask. I like to do things for her and sort of surprise her.
THE LITTLE THINGS
Play cards, go to the mountains for a hike or camping, watching our favorite TV show together, raise our daughter, have a night for just us.
WAYS WE CHOOSE EACH OTHER EVERYDAY
I choose DI everyday by loving her unconditionally, playing with our daughter, giving her a bath, and reading to her, staying positive for each other, and going to bed together (that's her favorite way to end the day).
I choose Casey everyday by doing little acts of service, like keeping the house clean, taking care of Livi when he's at practice, and making him dinner.
OUR COUPLE'S BUCKET LIST
Traveling to different places, raising an amazing daughter, and ride a hot air balloon into the sky.
"FOR BETTER OR FOR WORSE"
It means even in the toughest times, you have to show up for your partner. Sharing your life with someone is a huge risk, and in order to reciprocate love, you must dive in head first.
ON BEING BEST FRIENDS
A best friend is someone you can be yourself around, knowing that you won’t be judged or degraded. Knowing that the relationship will stand the test of time simply because that person means that much to you.
ADVICE FROM CASEY
Marriage is a roller coaster ride. It has it’s highs and lows, but it always stays on track. Stay for the ride.
So there you have it. A little insight into my marriage. Beautiful, and honest words from my love, and some pictures. If you love this series as much as I do and would love to see it continue, just comment below for some topics you'd like to read about, or send me a quick email here.
All photos have been taken and edited by Heather Jackson. To see more of her amazing work, click the button below.