Years Married: 7.5
Location: Terreton, Idaho
Kids: 2 boys
Occupations: Matt - Partner in the family farm; Breezie - ELITE Beachbody Coach
Hobbies/Interests: Spending time outdoors - fishing, hiking, running, taking long drives to new places while we have ‘dream sessions’, and traveling!
Favorite flavor of ice cream: Matt- Strawberry Cheesecake Froyo (w/gummy bears), Breezie - Peach Froyo (w/gummy bears)
Q. In what specific ways do you express love and appreciation for each other on a day-to-day basis?
M: We try to show appreciation for each other for "the little things." When someone does the dishes, changes a load of laundry, or picks up the toys - we recognize that and try to show the other person that we recognize what they are doing to serve our family.
B: I feel like we are always each other's number one fans. Whether it’s a new business adventure or a crazy hobby, we do our best to understand why the other person is so passionate about it and then give our all in supporting them. When I tell Matt about my work day and he tells me about his, we engage with one another, ask questions, and take interest. This has helped us to build trust, to understand each other and to feel loved!
Q. What are some of your absolute favorite date-night ideas?
B: We have always kept things pretty simple when it comes to dates! We don’t go to movies much, and don’t really like to spend a ton of money on dates. We use our hobbies as much as we can to get in a "date night," or "date day." Going on a run together, or going fishing, hiking, or hitting the rock-climbing gym, are all favorites! Although, staying in with a good movie and a bowl of air-popped popcorn (smothered in butter, of course) is probably our favorite!
M: We are total homebodies! We go-go-go so much between work and family get-togethers that when date-night rolls around we are happy to just stay in or to keep it simple.
Q. What principles and/or practical suggestions have helped you manage your finances?
B: Communication, awareness, and common goals! We make sure we are always on the same page when it comes to our finances. We sit down at least monthly, if not weekly, to go over financial planning. We make sure we are aware of where our money is being spent and try to plan for as many expenses as we can. Since day one in our marriage, we have always had a goal, a plan, and a dream we were working towards. Now, we are not perfect, and YES we have argued over finances, but because we are open and honest we have made it through many financial ups and downs, together!
Another concept that I think is worth mentioning is that we have always treated it as "our money." We have both worked the majority of our marriage, mostly out of desire to work and save money. Neither of us have ever held claim over the money we earned - it has always been "our money," and it has gone straight to our joint account. I believe this principle has helped unite us in our financial planning and made us closer as well!
M: With Breezie’s medical condition (Crohn’s Disease) we have always been very conscious about saving for the "unknown," and planning ahead. We have always had the attitude of "pay now, play later," when it comes to saving and spending. We would rather pile money away and be frugal now, while our family is young, so that when they get older we can enjoy taking them on trips, paying for college, and enjoying our time with them (and not constantly worrying about finances).
Q. What specific things help you nurture the intimate relationship you have with your spouse?
B: Making time. It’s so easy to let work, kids, and community take over your life and forget about the main relationship in your life - the one that matters most. Kids to bed at 8:30pm, and phones and laptops closed at 10pm are two things that have helped us make each other a priority! If we cross the line with either of those things, then our relationship suffers.
M: Being open about what each other needs and wants. We have learned to be very straightforward with one another - especially because there are times when intimacy (even cuddling!) are out of the question when Breezie is sick, due to her autoimmune disease (Crohn’s). I’ve learned that, as her spouse, I have the ability to help or hurt in these situations. If I am supportive and loving of her while she needs me, then it helps our relationship in the long run. If I am resentful and angry because I feel like she is not putting me first, then it puts a wedge in our marriage. Sometimes it can be scary to tell your spouse what you need when it comes to intimacy, but being open and communicating will break down walls and bring you closer.
Q. How do you talk about hard things, or tough issues, where you don’t see eye-to-eye?
B: This has not always been our strong point! In fact, we have butt heads many times - to the point one of us would leave. Our early marriage wasn’t pretty - we were young and had a lot of learning and growing to do! The thing that has helped us the most in talking about hard issues is working on OURSELVES first.
Growing as individuals through reading and listening to positive books and audio books has helped us tremendously when it comes to talking through hard issues! We have had to learn through personal development, that our way is not always the right way and that we both need to give 100% in this marriage - not 50-50. And even if the other person is not giving 100%, we still need to give them 100% and just LOVE them anyway!
M: When we were first married we were really quick to get angry, point fingers, and blame. This made it hard for any communication to take place. We have learned (the hard way) that being calm, assuming the best of the other person, and realizing that they are entitled to their own thoughts and opinions, is a lot more productive than arguing! We now take time to listen to the other person, instead of talking over one-another and scheming up our come-back while they are talking. It works much better!
Q. What are some of the greatest challenges you have faced in your marriage and how have you overcome them? How has your marriage been nurtured in the process?
B: Our two little babies didn’t come easy to us. We started trying to have kids early on in our marriage, but it just wasn’t working out. I had 6 miscarriages in 5 years, and then finally our first miracle baby was born. Getting him here was a huge challenge for us. (I also had another miscarriage before our second son was born.) I was struggling with depression, and all that comes with having recurrent miscarriages, on top of having a chronic illness (Crohn’s). I was not the most pleasant person to live with! I was going through so much growth and change. Matt was such an amazing support system to me. He was my number one fan, and learned quickly how to be compassionate towards me. He was ready to help with housework or offering kind words. He still does this for me today and I am so grateful for the compassionate man that he is!
My health struggles have been a roller-coaster, and we know they aren’t over yet. But they have helped us rely on each other and our faith - which has made our marriage so much stronger!
M: The challenges we have had with Breezie’s health, family planning, and even financial worry, have caused us to turn to our knees in prayer. Knowing and feeling that God had a plan for our family brought comfort and unity to us in those hard days, and continues to help us through our daily struggles. God’s love can heal and carry you through almost anything!
Q. What is your secret to a happy and healthy marriage?
B: Unity. In our marriage we have never said "It’s YOUR job to take care of the kids and do the dishes, and it’s YOUR job to make the money." It’s always been a united effort in all that we do. I’m not saying you have to both work, but I really feel like the mentality of "We’re in this together," is what counts the most. We never point fingers or blame if dishes aren’t done or laundry isn’t folded, because we both play a role in running a successful household and we always assume that the other person is doing the best they can! We are continually striving to serve one another and lighten one another's burdens. This makes for a happy home and a happy marriage!
M: Common hobbies. Breezie and I have always enjoyed fishing, hunting, hiking, and - more recently - working out, coaching, and running together. As we have done these hobbies together, it has helped us grow together, appreciate each other, and get to know each other. We love spending time together and having excuses to always go on fun dates to do things we both love!
"There is properly no history; only biography."
- Ralph Waldo Emerson
You Know You Want to Read
Everybody Loves These