Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Seven Questions...Living Happily Ever After

Meet Lisa-Marie. One of the cutest redheads I know! I love her happy personality and optimistic take on family life. In a world filled with whiners and husband-bashers, I think it's refreshing to hear from a woman who thinks her husband is a real-life Prince Charming.

Here's proof that happy endings aren't just for fairy tales...

1. What are your top three tips for keeping a marriage strong while raising young children?

#1 --Team work. Kendon and I don't believe in parenting 50/50. We believe that we both need to give 100% to the raising of our children. Raising kids is a tough job (THE toughest job) and if we aren't working as a team then we are working against each other, not for each other, and that never works; it only causes contention.

On those same lines: be on the same disciplining page. Kendon and I have differing ideas on how to raise kids. I think all spouses do. However, we both have the same goal in mind. We want happy, healthy, well mannered, children. We have found that disciplining our children works better when we find a plan that we both feel comfortable with and are committed to that can help us reach that end result by working TOGETHER. Just last night I checked out a Love and Logic book that Kendon and I are reading together as a refresher course. It is much easier to have a strong marriage if you aren't battling over how to raise the kids. Cause that could be a constant fight.

#2 --Be together. While raising little kids it can be tough to get much alone time. So, instead, we spend a lot of time together as a whole family. We go on dates and take the kiddos with us. It might seem easier to just stay home, but we have found that once you make the effort to get out and do something fun, it is always well worth it. Just because you have little ones around doesn't mean you can't have a good time. Of course, we do get out and have dates with just the two of us, because that is very important as well.

#2 1/2 --Keep Your Own Interests. As strongly as we feel about being together, we feel just as strongly about getting some time to ourselves. Just because you now hold the titles of spouse and mother, does not mean you need to lose the title of SELF. I am a much better parent and spouse when I have had some time to do something for me. If you never give time and rejuvenation to yourself, pretty soon you will run out of time and energy to give your spouse as well.
#3 --Learn to Read Between the Lines When Kendon does the dishes after dinner, I know that he is saying, "Thank you for taking the time to make a yummy meal." When he puts the kids to bed at night I know that he is saying, "I know you've had a long day and I want to help out." When he takes the time to be with his family and incorporates us into his hobbies, I realize that he is saying, "I love you and I like to be with you." When he gives me Mommy breaks, I understand that he is saying, "Your job is tough and I appreciate what you do."

Kendon's actions speak louder than words. This is the language he speaks. I have learned to understand Kendon's language and I am learning to speak it was well. I would be very remiss if I didn't appreciate his actions and only expected words. Every spouse has their own language. It is important to learn how they speak and to communicate that way.

I know you said three reasons and I've already given you three and a half, but here's one more. It is short and sweet but I believe it with all my heart.#4 --The family who prays together, stays together!

2. How have you managed to successfully balance your husband's personal interests with your own? What have you had to sacrifice? Was it worth it?

I think in order to balance each other's interests, you have to have an open mind and be willing to try new things. For example, I never would have thought that I'd enjoy hunting, but I gave it a shot because that is an important part of Kendon's life. While, the kill is NOT fun for me, getting to spend time one on one with Kendon, in nature, watching him feel so passionate about something is very fun.

I think that Kendon has sacrificed much more than I have. He was a bachelor until he was 30 years old. Giving that up was a sacrifice in and of its self! He has given up many of the activities that he loved in order to spend more time with his family. He also gave up a career that he loved as a cop to find a career that is more family oriented. I think that having a willing heart to sacrifice can create great strength in a marriage. When you sacrifice something of importance to you for a cause as great as family, you always come out on top!

3. What would be your dream date with your husband?In the morning we would go hiking in a beautiful spot called Darby Canyon. We would take a yummy lunch (croissant sandwiches would be divine! Or something yummy I don't have to make. Millhollow sandwiches would do.) and eat it under the waterfall. We wouldn't rush the hike back and would take our time to explore and enjoy nature.

On our way home we would go to Heise Hot Springs and soak in the hot tubs. We would stay til dark, cause it's much more relaxing and romantic under the stars. Before heading home we would get Chinese Take out, some really yummy ice cream and a video. Actually, instead of going home, we would go stay at a hotel with theme rooms. I've always wanted to stay in one of those. So romantic. (Unless you stay in the Star Wars room...No thanks.)

4. What is your favorite no-cost (or really really cheap) date with your husband?

Homemade picnic and the outdoor archery range. This will be even more fun this summer now that I have a bow too!

5. Who are your happy-marriage role models? What have you learned from them?

I am so blessed to have so many GREAT role models. I have a very close relationship with all of my grandparents and they have taught me so much through their examples. My Grandpa Bigelow just passed away last October. I miss him dearly but my grandma feels lost without him. He was her other half. They were married for nearly 60 years and they did everything together. When my grandpa was sick in the hospital my grandmother was so sweet and gentle and kind with her husband. She would say, "It is so hard to watch your sweetheart like this." I remember thinking that I was blessed to witness these special moments of tenderness between my grandparents during their last moments together. Then I realized, I have been watching them treat each other this way my whole life. I had never seen my grandfather treat my grandmother with anything but utmost respect, EVER.

My mother's parents are also celebrating their 60th anniversary this year. What great examples they have all been. They taught my parents what makes a happy marriage, and they have in turn shown Kendon and I. What a great legacy my grandparents have created for generations to come!

6. How do you keep your marriage a top priority in the hecticness of childrearing, housekeeping, church work and other personal responsibilities?
Take time every day to ensure that your spouse knows you love and appreciate them. This will be manifest in every relationship differently. Find out what makes your spouse smile and do it every day.

7. What advice will you give your daughters when they meet Mr. Right?

WORK! If you want a happy marriage there is work involved. You don't get happily married and expect it to magically stay that way. Life gets in the way. Everyday you have to deposit something positive into your marriage bank account or, before you know it, you'll be bankrupt. I believe that you could marry almost anyone and be happy if you are willing to put in the effort. (I don't recommend this, I'm just saying....) Anything worth having is worth working for.

Thanks, Lisa-Marie! You are soooo right!

Check out Lisa-Marie's happy thoughts here...I love her romantic tribute to her parents today!


Annie said...

Another great interview, Gabi. You're the Barbara Walters of the blog world. And I agree, Lisa-Marie's got a great outlook on life & approach to marriage. Thanks both for the tutorial! (Lisa-Marie, you're sunny reaction to missing BP put my whinefest to shame :)

Annie said...

I meant "your." I was an English major; I can't leave typos like that alone. Sorry!

Lisa-Marie said...

Thx for the interview Gabi. It was a good reminder for me. I just hope my hubby knows as much as the blog world does, just how much I love him.

Bridget said...

Fabulous once again Gabi. Lisa-Marie is a real gem and I was so sad to not be able to meet her at BP. Those pictures are so cute. I love the last one. Her eyes are beautiful.

TravelinOma said...

I love the topics you interview about. You and Lisa-Marie just improved a bunch of marriages, I'm certain!

Tristan said...

Great answers! I love all the pictures too!

Rochelleht said...

Great interview. I so agree, Lisa-Marie is wonderful at praising her husband and there is not enough of that in this world. I get so tired of hearing about how many awful husbands there are. It's always refreshing to hear the positive. That was a great article.

Christie said...

Excellent advice on keeping your marriage strong. Loved it all! LM is great. Wish we could have met her in real life!

Jessica said...

Such an important interview...thanks for highlighting something so important.

The best part was the last: WORK! Once Ryan asked me, if I had to go through the dating process again (knowing what I know now), what quality would be the most important (besides a testimony of the gospel) and I told him: I would look for a man who was a hard-worker. If they are willing to work, then you can get through the tough parts of a marriage.

andrea said...

i feel like you do about my husband. well, no, not that you feel that way about MY husband. but you get the idea.
every day i thank god for sending him to me. great advice here, and i'm a huge fan of love and logic.

Lauren said...

I loved this interview, also. I love how you pointed out how Lisa-Marie is a great example among a world of, "whiners and husband-bashers". Her love for her husband and great devotion to her family is so evident. Thanks for another great and inspiring interview :)

Yay, Lisa-Marie! Hip, Hip, Hooray!

I just read her comment here...she makes me teary...the way she said she hopes her husband knows how much she loves him.

cami said...

What a beautiful couple!

Ilene said...

Fun post.

I took up college sports to share something with my husband and who knew I was a closet football fan?

Certainly not my father or brothers.

My husband's love language for helping with the dishes can be translated into wanting some good lovin' later on...

Hazen5 said...

I agree with Annie, You are The Babara Walters of the Blog world!!

Lisa-Marie is my favorite red head too!

Great Job.

I loved finally meeting you in person, but I wanted to spend more time with you. It gives me something to look forward to.

Hannah said...

Cute pictures and posts! She is so beautiful and they look really happy!

Holly said...

I enjoy your interviews so much. You know oodles of interesting people--thanks for *sharing* them with us!

crystal said...

This was a fabulous post! I love #2 1/2. Lisa-Marie is my hero now.

Jill said...

That was great! Thanks!

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