Real Advice for Real Life

Happy Valentine's Day!! We hope you've been spending the day with family and friends you love!!

This Valentine's Day, we're talking about... you guessed it... LOVE!!

With love comes marriage. And with marriage comes advice. Some people don't mind giving advice when you ask. And some people giving advice without being asked.

Marriage advice from your mom? Listen to her. Marriage advice from your grandma? Listen to her too. Advice from your co-workers after the 4th of July party? Don't take everything they tell you to heart.

In the midst of wedding planning - expectiations will arise that may set the tone for your future together. How will it all work in real life?

Here's some real advice... from real married people... who are living real life...

Photography via Reche Photography

Names? Tim & Sara

How did you meet? We me when we were both active duty Army at Fort Gordon, Georgia

How did he propose? We were babysitting for some friends and he just asked me. Apparently this was a week after he planned to do it but got too nervous the first time.

How long have you been married? 5 years this March

Do you have any children? We have two, Caden is 3, Amy is 18months

What is your marriage advice? There is no such thing as too much communication, especially when you have to spend time apart. Those daily emails and what feels like "way too many" pictures make such a big difference. Tell each other everything. Let your spouse know when the situation is so very hard to handle, they will help you get through it and you will come out so much stronger.

Screenshot via video footage from Joe Gorges

Names? Mark & Beth

How did you meet? Mark and I met at a friend's wedding--I was NOT photographing it. ;) We had many mutual friends, so we knew who the other was, but hadn't actually gone through the introductions until that wedding. Mark awakens energy and fun wherever he goes, so the settings I'd seen him in previously (this wedding included) made me think he was this crazy attention seeker. I thought surely someone so wild and crazy must be exhausting to even be friends with, so I wasn't entirely warm and welcoming when he introduced himself. Some time later we discovered we actually worked in neighboring buildings and he invited me to lunch at my favorite coffeeshop one day. I agreed. I really love this coffeeshop. ;) There I saw the more 'everyday' side of Mark and we became the greatest of friends, almost instantly. Slowly, that friendship morphed into a deep mutual respect and admiration for one another in all the lasting ways that really matter.

How did he propose? We were on our way out of town and I was rummaging through the kitchen in my apartment, finishing up a few last minute things...totally hurried and not expecting a thing. We'd been talking marriage for some time by then and had decided we wanted to get rings custom made (engagement included), so clearly I was not expecting a proposal for a good while yet. From the kitchen I heard Mark call my name from the hallway that lead to it. I poked my head around the corner to find him in the middle of the hallway on one knee. In my excitement, I accidentally knocked over a few pans from the stovetop as I swung by, causing quite a commotion. I honestly don't even remember what he specifically said, but I remember asking over and over again if he was, Facebook serious?? This was the era of Jim and Pam on The Office, where he'd get down on one knee in a potentially heartfelt moment and ask Pam to wait for him while he tied his shoe. Mark had completely abused the word propose for months leading up to this. "I propose...we eat here for dinner." (face palm). Anyway, out came the most massive fake ring he could find at Claire's; the placeholder for the actual ring, yet to come. I died laughing. It was perfectly terrible. He knows me so well.

How long have you been married? We've been married for 5 years.

Do you have any children? We have an 11 month old little girl, Emma.

What is your marriage advice? We're so fortunate to have such wise and encouraging friends in our lives who've given us loads of advice along the way. Just a few favorites are: From our pastor and good friend: Win the relationship. Choose your battles and never sacrifice the health of your relationship simply to win an argument.From another more seasoned (in life and marriage) friend, advice for Mark: Always ask yourself...will what I say or do in this moment help or hurt me later tonight? This friend has like 8 kids and 20 something grandchildren. wink emoticon Mark and I love to read and two books that have been complete game changers for us are The 5 Love Languages, and Fit to Be Tied.

- The 5 Love Languages taught us how to learn and more deliberately consider how the other feels loved, so that we can show them in the way that means the most to them. Simple concept, but such a huge help--in all kinds of relationships, really, but marriage especially!

- Fit to Be Tied was full of highlighter-worthy concepts, but the most lasting for us has been the idea of having Peace Talks. When faced with conflict in the marriage, to schedule a time in the near future to sit down and talk through the conflict in a way that is still loving and honoring to one another.

I'm the slow processor who would otherwise easily be hurt by Mark's quick responses when we find ourselves disagreeing. Because I need that time to process, my initial response is to shut down, which is infuriating for Mark's personality. Peace Talks help both of us in that they give me the time I need to think through why I'm feeling what I am and they also give Mark the satisfaction of knowing we will indeed address the issue. Also key: setting aside to talk about the issue also gives us both time to cool off so we respond to one another much more lovingly and with understanding than we would in the heat of an argument.

Image provided by Couple

Names? Kurt & Alyssa

How did you meet? My friend (his cousin) invited me to their family Memorial Day cookout...and the rest is history :)

How did he propose? I knew it was coming so I was dropping hints like crazy that he should just go for it (in hindsight I was probably pretty annoying.) One morning out of nowhere he proposed before I was even 100% awake. I remember thinking "I still have sleep in my eyes!" It may not have been a moment for YouTube or Pinterest...but he finds ways to keep me on my toes!

How long have you been married? Just shy of 1 1/2 years.

Do you have any children? None yet..

What is your marriage advice? One of the most important things we've learned is to keep being silly - laughing is the best!

Photography by Squid Photography

Names? Jeremy & Nichole

How did you meet? We were in training to be Combat Medics, in the US Army at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio Texas.

How did he propose? Actually he didn't. And I guess I proposed to him. We we pregnant with our first born. In our training basically they told us we would for sure be deployed to Iraq when we went to our duty stations, it was only a matter of time. So we had discussed that if he was deployed we would get married. To ensure that if anything happened to him that our son and myself would be taken care of. So we got the phone call on a Tuesday. His unit was being deployed. As soon as he hung up the phone I said "so should we take the plunge?" We were married that Sunday ...5 days later.

How long have you been married? 11 years this May!

Do you have any children? We have 3 incredibly beautiful boys! ! Ages 10, 6 & almost 5 (I'd like 1 more ;) )

What is your marriage advice? The best advice we ever got was to make sure that we put our marriage first, before our children. They would only benefit from the fruits of our relationship. The stronger and happier we are as a couple the more grounded and raised in and with love our children will be.

Have marriage advice of your own? Want to say "Thanks" to the lovely couples who contributed? Leave your comments below!!

#MarriageAdvice #RealMarriageAdvice #MarriageadviceforMilitarycouples #Marriageadvicefrompeoplewithkids #marriageadvicefrompeoplewithoutkids #Realadvice #ValentinesDay

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