A Reflection on Marriage…

by katherine on April 29, 2010

I was recently asked by a high schooler from our church if Andy and I (mostly me) would be willing to do a marriage interview for one of her classes. I said sure, of course, without even mentioning it to Andy. She sent me the list of questions and as I was scrolling through them, I thought, “these are going to be easy!” and got to work. I didn’t come into any trouble until question #8 (I will explain more below). For the record, I did go through and read all of the questions, and our answers to Andy before I sent it back and he completely agreed with each one.

Now, I’m not in any way proclaiming that I am any sort of marriage expert, but Andy and I know what works for us and we go with it. We don’t have a perfect marriage, but I would consider our marriage to be very strong and happy and I know that he would agree. Ever since we have answered these interview questions, I have felt compelled to share what we came up with. This Summer we will be celebrating 5 years of marriage. That’s no landmark considering Andy’s grandparents were married 64 years before Grandpa Rice passed away, but I am proud of the team we are and the journey we have been on to get this far.

1. How long did you know each other before getting married, how long did you date, and what made you decide to get married?

Andy and I have known each other for a very, very long time. My uncle and his dad were best friends in High school. My uncle is Andy’s godfather. Our families have always known each other. We dated for one month shy of 4 years when we got married. What made me decide to get married? That’s a tough one. I had a “crush” on Andy all the way back when I was 14. I’m still pinching myself that we’re married. I knew within a few weeks of “officially” dating that I was going to marry him. For Andy, once he “knew” he wanted to marry me, he tested me with a statement and my reaction determined whether or not I was “marriage material.” He said he wanted to wear Birkenstocks at his wedding, I said I thought that was rad, and here we are.

2. Did you live together before you got married? Why or why not?

We did. For 2 months. Andy still lived with his parents up until that point. Financially, it kind of made sense for him to move in. My roommate had moved out 2 months before our wedding and that meant my rent was going up.

3. What is the role, if any, that religion, God, and prayer have in your marriage?

My faith has always big a big part of my life. I was always very involved in the church. Andy was raised catholic, but his father never went to church. When Andy was old enough, he started questioning why. When we first started talking about marriage, I told him I did not want that same thing to happen with our children and he agreed that we would go to church as a family. We know that God is always there, though we don’t really talk about God. We do not pray together. While we don’t go to church as often as I’d like, I’m comfortable in my relationship with God and don’t think it effects our marriage.

4. How did you decided to have children? How do your children affect the marriage? How have you dealt with some of the difficulties of parenting?

We went back and forth about how long we were going to wait before we started a family. We wanted to wait at least a couple of years. We were not actually “trying” to start a family when we found out we were pregnant. Ready or not, right? How does Rylee affect our marriage? Well, she comes first—before each of us. Andy and I talked a lot about how we wanted our children raised. We have been on the same page all along. We are very much a team and that helps downplay the difficulties. We each have different strengths when it comes to parenting and we use them to our advantage. It doesn’t mean parenting is apple pie and rainbows, but it helps make things easier.

5. What do you consider to be two or three of the most important elements in a successful marriage?

I’m sure a lot of people say communication with this one. I think the one thing that works well for our marriage, which is truly the foundation of our marriage, is that we always put our selves second. We make a conscious effort not to take the other for granted…we always say please and thank you. From there, everything else falls into place, including communication. If there is ever a time when we are not putting the other in front of ourselves, it is very apparent.

The other thing that we both feel is very important is that we sit down at the dinner table, as a family, every night for dinner. Even though we each have our own interests, we also enjoy a lot of the same things—working outside, camping, fishing, hunting, etc. {Side note, our first date was going fishing.}

Lastly, laughter. Lots of laughter.

6. How do you keep the romance in your marriage?

We have a pretty tight schedule with Rylee. She goes down for bed at the same time every night. When she was really little her bed time was 7:30, now it’s 8. We typically go to bed around 10 meaning we have 2 hours of nothing but us time. We make an effort during that 2 hours to spend time together, even if it is just watching TV or playing board games. And 9 times out of ten, we go to bed at the same time.

By always putting the other first, this also helps keep the romance alive. For us, “romance” is the little things that shows that we care. I’ll never forget one of the most romantic things Andy ever did for me was buy me shoelaces.

7. What things do you argue about in your marriage and how do you handle conflict?

I wouldn’t call them arguments, but we do have disagreements about religion and going to church. I want to take Rylee to church more than we are going now. He thinks it’s ridiculous because of her age and we just end up sitting in the back because she is too loud or restless, etc. My point is that she will never learn if we don’t go. Yet to be resolved…ask me when Rylee’s a little older!

When we have actual arguments, which are few and far between (I can count on 1 hand in the last 5 years), sometimes it takes a while to resolve it. I tend to shutdown. I hate confrontation. Andy is the opposite. We give each other some time to cool down then we talk about it. There is never name calling or yelling. Typically, when there are actual arguments, it’s because one of us didn’t put the other first. Ok, if we’re being really honest here, it’s because I didn’t put him first.

8. What has been the hardest part about being married?
{This is the question I had to stop and really, really think about my answer. I couldn’t think of anything, I read the question to Andy and he said, “Easy, there is nothing hard about being married to you!” ::SA-WOON!::}

I have heard a lot of people say the first 5 years of marriage are the hardest. We will be celebrating our 5-year anniversary this year. To be honest, for us, there is nothing hard about being married. I think that we were together and have known each other long enough that we really knew each other and what we were getting into. Neither of us are perfect. We each have our “quirks” but there haven’t been any surprises. We are each other’s best friends. Being in love is knowing what buttons to push, and then not pushing them.

9. What do you think about teenagers having sex before marriage? Do you think pre-marital sex has any positive or negative affects on one’s future marriage?

Sex is pretty much awesome, but there are some definite consequences that can come with pre-marital sex. To me, the bottom line for me is if you aren’t ready to have to deal with those possible consequences, don’t have sex. Is that an easy decision to make? No way.

Do I think pre-marital sex has positive or negative effects on marriage? I don’t think there is a set answer to this question. It depends on the couple and their relationship and how they communicate. If the couple is meant to be together, it shouldn’t have affects, positive or negative, on their marriage.

10. What advice or suggestions do you have for me that might help me in my own future marriage?

Find a partner that puts you first then make the conscious effort to put them first. It doesn’t matter if you put them first if it is not reciprocated. Oh yea, and make sure you laugh…a lot.

A couple of my favorite photos from our happy day. Photography by BLISS.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Anonymous May 3, 2010 at 2:53 pm

Does St. Mark not have a nursery during the service? Our church does but Mateo doesn't exactly like staying there ….yet haha. Cute pics. Gaby

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2 Elisha June 30, 2010 at 12:53 pm

I loved reading this! I giggled happily when I read your side note on question 8. It sounds like something my Andy would say. lol.I loved your answer to number 5. My gut reaction would be to say communication, but after thinking about it and reading your answer, I completely agree that everything flows from putting the other person first, including communication. Can I steal these questions and do my own answers on my blog??

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3 Katherine June 30, 2010 at 2:06 pm

Elisha,Feel free to steal away! I can't wait to see your answers!

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