Colby & Kristina
Years Married: 5
Kids: 2 girls
Occupations: C - Teaches Seminary; K - Blogger
Hobbies/Interests: C - Anything soccer, outdoors (climbing, hiking running), and being active. K - Travel! I could travel until I die! I like to go to new places and see new things, and in some instances, visit the same places over and over (Disneyland!). I enjoy anything that involves warm summer sun rays! I love to be in the water and playing with my family.
Favorite flavor of ice cream: C - Samoa, anything with the peanut butter-chocolate combo, and fresh fruit shakes! K - Anything involving Peanut Butter, Oreos, & Chocolate, but most recently I have started liking the chocolate-fruit combo! Like….Raspberry-Reeses or Banana-Oreo (try it, you’ll like it).
Website: I have my own blog mothersniche.com and I also blog with my sisters at doublethebatch.com
Scott & Renee
Years Married: 27
Location: Santa Cruz, California
Occupations: S - Product Designer; R - Writer/Editor & Yoga Instructor
Hobbies/Interests: S - Fix cars; R - Exercise (Yoga, Spinning, Kickboxing, Step, Weights,Kettlebells, Pilates), Write, Talk to people
Favorite Flavor of Ice Cream: S - No particular flavor; R - Breyers Mint Chocolate Chip or Peanut Butter Chocolate Gelato
Q. In what specific ways do you express love and appreciation for each other on a day-to-day basis?
C: I just give her my bashful look….okay…fine. I kiss her goodbye every morning, even if she is too sleepy to kiss me back. I try to help around the house, and play with the kids when I get home from work, and almost every night I give her a back scratch…because for some reason her back always seems to be “itchy,” when she steps into bed.
K: Every night I say the words “I love you.” I pray for him daily both privately and in front of our children. I try to praise him for something specific, in front of our girls, or say things like “Isn’t he awesome?” I try to make a weekly visit to his work for lunch, with the girls, so that we can be a part of what he does every day.
Q. What are some of your absolute favorite date-night ideas?
C: Every date with my hot wife is my favorite.
K: (Rolling her eyes)… Off the top of my head, I would say tandem bike rides, plays & comedy shows, cross country skiing and snowboarding, etc. However, I also like the “chill” dates, when we just sit at home and sneak ice cream after the kids go to bed.
S&R: We don't really go on date nights. When our children were little, we did a babysitting co-op with three other couples and had three free date nights a month. As our children got older and could babysit themselves, we tapered off to maybe once a month. We realized that we liked being home with our children and that they grow up and leave home too quickly. So, we bought a projector and a big screen and now we watch movies with our kids on the weekends instead. We are also able to spend a lot of time together after our children go to bed and we are happy to be together that way instead of going places. We probably only go out to eat a few times a year, with friends.
Q. What specific things help you nurture the intimate relationship you have with your spouse?
C: We talk, and cuddle, and make sure God is a part of our relationship.
K: Taking the time to really listen and value what the other person is saying. I do business on my cell phone all of the time, and have caught myself in the habit of “multitasking” while my husband is talking to me. Being aware of this, and putting my phone down is critical in helping him know that I value what he’s saying. Also, taking time to really ask about the details of his work and what goes on while we are apart. Knowing each other’s love language is also crucial for nurturing our relationship.
S&R: Understanding that my husband doesn't enjoy seeing me wear baggy sweats to bed plays a big role, as does learning to shut the door and tune out all the responsibilities of the day. Those are pretty practical things, but they do make a difference.
Q. How do you talk about hard things, or tough issues, where you don’t see eye-to-eye?
C: Look at the big picture rather than what’s in front of you. What’s in the best interest of our family and it’s future? How can we meet in the middle?
K: When we were first married, I remember having arguments and telling my husband “We need counseling! I so do not get you!” And I would get so mad when he would say “We don’t need counseling, we don’t have any problems that God can’t fix.” Although I hated his answer, he was right. Although I firmly believe there are issues that require counseling, our specific issues are always resolved when we each turn to God, soften our hearts, and try to be better people.
S&R: Our interests are not very similar at all. We don't enjoy the same hobbies or aren't interested in exploring the same things or places. But we see life the same way, and this makes dealing with anything really easy and wonderful. Before we were married, when I would listen to Scott talk, I thought I was listening to my own thoughts. I could see that we viewed life through a similar window. We may not always want to do the same things or do them the same way, but we respect each other's ideas and opinions and we come to the same conclusions. We talk a lot, but we rarely disagree with each other. Or if we do, we just try to understand the other person and it's not a problem. I'd say we're both pretty mellow in our communication.
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?
C: Probably learning how to be more selfless and sacrificing something I love for something I love more (my family).
K: We have had our fair share of arguments, and I remember thinking, after our first fight, that our marriage was in ruins. I have since learned that fighting in marriage isn’t bad, it’s how you fight. Some of our greatest loving moments have come after an argument. The important thing is to remain respectful and avoid being critical of each other (focus on the problem, not the person). I’ve heard that successful marriages need at least five positive interactions for every negative one. I believe that. Make sure your interactions with each other are mostly positive, and when issues come up, put your respect for each other as your number one priority.
S&R: The greatest challenges we've faced aren't with each other, but are with difficult situations such as a death in the family, disappointment, and challenges with relatives or with our children. We sit and talk a LOT when we are trying to figure out life. Scott works close enough to home that we have plenty of time to talk at lunch time and in the evenings. We try to balance each other out by sharing our outlook and advice for each other, especially when it's different. And it seems like neither of us is down at the same time, so one of us is always feeling positive, well, and strong enough to lift the other. It's nice to know that when you don't have the strength or ability to do it alone, the other is there.
Q. What is your secret to a happy and healthy marriage?
C: Put the needs of your spouse, and kids, above your own.
K: Haha! I am a woman. There is no way I can narrow down my answer to a sentence or two. I wrote my thoughts on this in my article “9 Marriage Principles to Never Forget,” but one of my favorite suggestions is: “Love your spouse and you will love yourself.” I’ve noticed that when I am being stubborn or prideful, or clinging on to a selfish desire, I am not truly happy. It seems like it goes against human nature to give up what you want to be happy, but I have found that when I have my spouse’s best interest in mind, and am doing all in my power to create happiness in his behalf, I am truly happy and I love who I am.
S&R: Looking back to the early years of our marriage, I think the secret is being patient with the other person when things aren't always perfect. I read once that you should treat your spouse as the person that they can become, instead of being upset with where they are at right now. Somehow that simple change in perspective helps your spouse grow and become his or her best self...and more quickly than you might imagine.
Understand that differences are okay. For example, it bothers some people that many of our photos have me (Renee) smiling and my husband (Scott) not smiling. But I'm okay with that. Scott doesn't like smiling for pictures, and besides breaking some social norm that people are "supposed to smile" for pictures, there isn't any harm in having pictures without smiles in my book. If I chose to get upset about that, that would seem pointless. That's how I view getting upset about things that don't really matter.
Also, I think you need to realize that your spouse can't meet all of your needs. You need to find strength within yourself, strength & comfort from God, and you need to connect with your friends who fill a different need than your spouse can.
"There is properly no history; only biography."
- Ralph Waldo Emerson
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