Years Married: 12 years
Location: Phoenixville, Pennsylvania
Kids: 4 daughters (11, 9, 5, 1). Oh and we can’t forget our spoiled boxer, Hudson (4)
Occupation: Marci - CEO/Founder of Celebrate Ur Marriage; Rob - Sales Leader at Vanguard
Hobbies/Interests: Marci - I like to sit on the couch, eat a bunch of junk, and watch movies (don’t judge me...). Rob - I like to exercise.
Favorite flavor of ice cream: Marci - Cookies N' Cream; Rob - Strawberry
Q. How do you celebrate Valentine’s Day, birthdays, and anniversaries together?
R: For special days, we try to go out to dinner. Sometimes we even plan a get away... this year, for our anniversary, we are going to Cancun.
M: YES! I can’t wait for that! Rob is really good at planning out the special holidays. He normally asks me what I want to do, and I always answer “It doesn’t matter.”
R: That wears me out!
M: Ahh, sorry babe, I’m going to do better! I’m a procrastinator, so I wait until the day before to buy cards or gifts.
R: As far as traditions, we try to do whatever we can and whatever feels right. I would tell another couple not to overthink it. Do what feels right for y’all.
M: Right! Don’t think you have to spend a whole lot of money. Be creative! Honestly, you would probably have more fun celebrating and coming up with fun games and ideas at home…if you know what I mean (wink)!
Q. What does healthy communication look like in your marriage and how does it make you feel when communication is in a good place?
R: Healthy communication means talking about anything and everything. Especially those things that could be bothersome or uncomfortable.
M: Yes, I agree. We put a lot of effort into having healthy communication. We have experienced the ugly side of the lack of communication, and I know that is something that I would not want to experience again.
R: Absolutely not!
M: Rob and I had our own issues as it related to communication. I struggled with being open and expressing myself. I did not know how to express my feelings to Rob. I would keep a lot of my conversations very general. I was always careful about crossing that fine line. I was afraid of being vulnerable with him. Now, Rob’s issue was he kept me on the outside of his world. He would do things, make plans, hang out, do anything he wanted to do and never talk to me about it. So, I felt like I wasn’t included in his life. Since we didn't have the best relationship, connection, or communication, he probably felt like I didn’t care.
R: You didn’t care.
M: Yes, I did! I just didn’t want you to know it.
R: Well, that is why I chose to keep my info limited. However, I have learned since then to include her in everything, even the little things that I think are not that important.
M: Yes, he is so much better now! When our communication is in a good place I feel like I’m on top of the world. That’s how important communication is to me. It literally connects every area. When talking to couples, I often reference to three things that can help with their communication:
Q. How have you managed in-laws and balanced the needs of extended family with your needs as a couple and individual family?
M: We had to see that this is Marci and Rob. We love our parents and extended family, but we have to do what is best for us. Yes, we talk to them about things and even take advice, but we have come to an understanding that at the end of the day it is our life. It wasn’t always that easy. Rob and I had to sit down and talk about it. We had to make sure we were on the same page as it relates to sharing, taking advice, and making decisions.
R: Ignore them (jk).
M: We don’t ignore them. We just do what works for us and our family. And I think our family has learned to respect that and it has helped us build a great family dynamic.
Q. How do you support each other in individual interests and pursuits?
M: We used to be really bad in this area.
R: Speak for yourself!
M: Don’t even try it! We both struggled with this.
R: It was more about learning how to support each other in our individual interests/hobbies.
M: Yeah, we kind of did whatever we wanted to do and never thought about the other person. I know for myself, especially when I started my marriage ministry, that I felt like he was not there for me. It really bothered me that I didn’t feel supported by Rob. I needed that affirmation from him - to know that he was proud of me, and that I was doing a good job.
R: I think it was also about us learning the difference between “support” & “encouragement.” I felt that I was being supportive, but what Marcie really needed from me was that added encouragement that made her feel that what she was doing was special to me. Once we talked about the difference between the two it really shed some light on what I needed to work on.
M: Right! It’s like when Rob wanted to work on getting healthier and being in better shape, I, being the most wonderful amazing wife that I am, told him I would join him. Listen - I am not the workout type, but I was willing to be there for him. We woke up every morning at five, prayed together, and then at six we would work out. Boy, oh boy…I shuffled around for days and slid down steps because my legs were so sore. I couldn’t lift my arms up in the air. I couldn’t turn side to side because my abs were hurting. My body was suffering, and although all that was going on, it was totally worth it. We encouraged each other through it. Rob appreciated my sacrifice to be there and support him in something that he loves.
R: Thanks Marce!!! I appreciate the sacrifice you made & I’ve tried to be more supportive. As far as the balancing piece, I think it's like anything else…you’ve got to make time for your spouse. If one feels that what they’re doing (their interests) are more important than your time together, then someone will no doubt feel slighted in the relationship. So, for me, supporting Marci means, first listening, going where she needs me to go, doing what she needs me to do, and finally encouraging her in her endeavors. The cool thing is, that now many of the things that were her interests, are now mine too.
M: Yes, I’m interested in many of the things that interest him too, but…I’m still struggling with being interested in working out though…I’ll keep trying (laughing)! But really, marriage deserves the attention of both husband and wife. Contrary to what some may think…marriage doesn’t just happen! What you put in it, is what you will get out of it. Marriage cannot function off of one person putting in all of the work. In order for a marriage to be successful, both partners must invest time.
Q. What have you learned about nurturing your marriage through the transitions of life? How do you keep you marriage strong and vibrant through these transitions?
M: Boy, do we know all about transitions in life. Rob and I had, what we believed to be, great plans before and after we got married. We thought if we could stick to those plans, we would be in a good place - settled, have real good money, have a big beautiful single home, have nice cars, upgrade our wedding rings, be successful in our careers, travel, and then start a family. Well, let me tell you, none of it happened that way. As a matter of fact, our reality was so far from those plans we made. Six months into our marriage we were building a house, living with my parents, I lost my job, and surprise - we were pregnant. Nothing seemed to be going as planned.
R: Exactly. The good thing about it was that it taught us to move with life’s changes, but man was it tough, especially early on. I think what made it so difficult during those times was that we had this picture perfect plan mapped out and ready to go, but hadn't really learned to love through the tough times. That’s what makes things so great now! We’ve learned that the tough times are meant to bring us closer, and not tear us apart. We learned to communicate through every situation, find the best resolution, and still love each other in the process. That’s what has made our relationship as strong as it is now.
M: I often tell couples, “Be prepared for change! Don’t allow the change of plans or transitions to cause a wedge between you and your spouse. Let it be something that helps you draw closer together."
Q. How do you build a strong foundation of trust in marriage?
R: Good question…I think that trust has to be learned and earned. You learn to trust your spouse based on consistent actions & reactions, and then you earn a person's trust by the same consistent actions and reactions. For example, if I get home from work every day at 5:30pm, then that’s what will be expected. But, if I choose not to come straight home, and not tell Marci why I’m late, then my action has caused her not to trust that I’m where I’m supposed to be. Probably not the best example, but it’s real. Trust is vital (especially these days) because the world is so corrupt. I want my wife to feel that whatever happens, I’m hers and that I don't want anyone more than I want her. That trust took time to build, and the last thing I want is for it to be broken or jeopardized. Also, trust is not only about cheating. It’s also about being committed to being consistent. In other words, can I trust you not to change when things aren’t going so well? I believe it’s that consistency that brings happiness.
M: That was a good example, Babe! Like Rob, I find it important to be consistent in your actions. Why give your spouse a reason to not trust you? Earlier on in our marriage, Rob and I established “check-ins.” I believe that it helped us to be accountable and helped to lessen the concern that something was going on. The thing about trust is it takes years to build and just one second to break. When it’s broken it’s hard for couples to rebuild. Trust is extremely fragile in relationships. It is vital to a happy marriage because without trust we lack intimacy. Trust allows us to feel secure with our spouse, and through that security we are able to become vulnerable. Although it took awhile, Rob and I have come to this place where we do trust one another, and are able to freely be vulnerable with one another. This has definitely given us a stronger connection in our marriage.
Q. What is your secret to a happy and healthy marriage?
M: I think the secret to a happy and healthy marriage is commitment, open communication, genuine friendship, and true intimacy. Oh, and there is no secret that I also think to have a happy and healthy marriage - you have to “CELEBRATE UR MARRIAGE!”
R: I totally agree Marce, and would add that you have to be willing to fight…not each other, but fight for your marriage. Fight to make it work, fight to keep unhappy and unhealthy things and people out of your marriage, and fight to develop a lasting love for the one that you plan to spend the rest of your life with. Anything worth having and keeping is worth fighting for! I believe that when a couple makes up their minds that it’s worth the fight…happiness is inevitable.
"There is properly no history; only biography."
- Ralph Waldo Emerson
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