Casey & Meygan Caston are the founders of Marriage365, and are a very personable and motivating couple. In this interview, Casey & Meygan open up with us about their love story, about how they affirm each other, and about keeping the flame alive in the bedroom.
Years Married: 12 (in June)
Kids: 2 (7-year-old girl, 3-year-old boy)
Location: Orange County, CA
Occupations: Casey is a fundraiser for non-profits and officiates weddings. Meygan is a stay-at-home mom. They are currently transitioning into doing Marriage365 full-time.
Hobbies/Interests: Surfing, swimming, hanging out at the beach; working out; hiking; neighborhood BBQ’s; glow-stick dance parties; playing board games and being outdoors.
Favorite Flavor of Ice Cream: We both love chocolate ice cream, especially Rocky Road. And we DO NOT share desserts.
Q. How did Marriage365 come to be?
M: Marriage 365 came to play, really from our wounding. We were two very hurting people who found some amazing and practical ways to have a good marriage. We knew that there had to be more couples out there like us – that wanted a better marriage, but didn’t know how to get there. As we researched, for our own marriage, we found that there were relatively few people really fighting for marriages to stay together. And more importantly, to teach people HOW to stay together. That is really where Marriage365 started.
C: Our story is a story of survival. We didn’t educate ourselves. We really had to fail forward. By the grace of God we made it out. And sometimes our deepest woundings become the place for our greatest calling in life. We came out battered and bruised through our first couple of years of marriage, but now we can tell other couples, “If we can make it, have hope, because you can too.”
The Little Things
Q. What are the little things that you do for each other, or together, that nurture your marriage?
M: The sixty-second blessing. It takes two minutes a day. You take a minute of your time, each day, to affirm each other with words of love and encouragement. For example, “Hey babe, I love you. You’re such a great dad. You mean the world to me. Thank you for working so hard to provide for this family.” It’s so little, but it has so much value. We are also really passionate about The Five Love Languages, by Gary Chapman. My love language is Acts of Service, so Casey will often go to Starbucks and grab me like a cappuccino. I’m not a big coffee drinker, but I like a cappuccino.
C: She likes it a special way.
M: I like a wet cappuccino. Casey’s love language is words of affirmation, so the sixty-second blessing kind of fills that need, but his other love language is physical touch. When we are together, I’m make sure I’m often rubbing his back, or holding his hand in the car - really small and subtle things, not just sexual things.
C: I do believe that it is the little things that become the big things. We always talk about choosing love. Often people think, “I’ve got to do something huge to fix my marriage.” But actually it’s just these little, consistent things that stack up quickly, and make a big difference.
Q. Reflect back on today, or this past week. What examples can you share of something small one of you has done for the other, to nurture your marriage?
M: Casey sent me a really, really sweet text. He knows I love emoji’s, so he sent me a text just saying, “I don’t think I’ve told you this in a while, but you work so hard for this family and I really appreciate you,” and then he sent me a bunch of my favorite emoji’s. It totally made my day.
C: Meygan knows that working out is important to me - to be able to dump some energy in the gym, so I know it was a big deal for her to go let me workout tonight, and I appreciate it.
M: I had a hard day with the kids…but I knew he really wanted to work out…
C: That was a big thing for me. But I am sending you to the spa all day Sunday, so...
M: I am a big spa person. I love the spa.
Q. In what specific ways has continued dating nurtured your marriage?
M: Date night is our time to connect, as a couple, so we have made a rule not to talk about the kids, work, or finances. It can be hard sometimes. We have a time to talk about those things - our Sunday night business meeting. Every Sunday at 9pm we go over our budget, our meal plan, the kid’s schedules, any appointments, our goals for the week, our schedule, etc. It really is a time for us to work on the “not-so-fun stuff,” so when we’re on a date night, we’re able to really connect.
Q. What are some of your favorite date night ideas?
C: When was the last time we saw a movie? Saving Mr. Banks? We don’t do dinner and a movie, we typically stay away from that. We’re looking for an experience. Now, that can cost money at times, but it doesn't have to. We have found innovative ways to grab dinner, take a blanket, and go down to the beach and sit on the beach and have dinner. Or go surfing. Or play tennis.
M: We love to hike, and we have some really neat trails by our house. Honestly, we are on a pretty tight budget, so oftentimes we will make our own dinner and bring it with us, or we’ll just go have dessert. If we’re going to spend money, we love to spend it on nice dessert. And we don’t share. We learned that early on. We get our own desserts.
C: We also love to play games, like Ticket to Ride!
Q. What are some of the obstacles in planning date night and making it happen? And how have you overcome them?
M: One secret we have found, is to get younger babysitters! You don’t want the girls in high school when they have a boyfriend, and dances, and AP classes. We have found that it is really good to get a 13, 14, or 15 year old, before they drive, because they are cheaper and they don’t have boyfriends yet. Or college students that are starving for money.
C: By not having money, it has pushed us to be creative. We now know a lot of great places where we can share a plate because the portions are so big!
Q. Who finds the sitter? Who plans the date? How do you make date night happen?
M: I’m Type A and he is Type B. We know our strengths. He is the “Wow,” and I’m the “How.” I make it happen, right? I would love to say we do a date night once a week, but we do not. I should said we do “in-home,” date nights once a week, but going out is probably every other week, because of money and time.
C: She keeps us all organized. Since she is at home, she knows the kids schedules, the babysitter’s numbers, etc, so I’ve let that be her thing.
Q. What does it mean to you to have an intimate relationship with your spouse?
M: Intimacy means “I don’t just love you, I like you.” When there is intimacy, it means you are completely transparent and vulnerable, not just physically, but emotionally as well. If you don’t have emotional intimacy, sex is just sex. It’s just pure sex. It’s just a physical act. When there is intimacy, there’s a connection... you’re best friends, you’re loving, you’re patient... that is true intimacy. It’s saying “I want to please you and serve you before myself.”
C: Having true intimacy in our marriage means that we are maintaining our friendship. To really have intimacy is to have a special bond – for us at 12 years – our identities, our dreams, our personalities - we’re bonded together. I’ve created what Gottman calls a, “Love Map,” for Meygan. I’ve created that over 12 years and I operate in that, and I know that I can be vulnerable. At least I try my best to not put up my fronts, my own weaknesses here, and to know that she absolutely has my back. That she isn’t an emotional accountant or conditional lover. She is wasteful with her love towards me.
M: An emotional accountant is one who likes to say, “Well, I did this for you, so you need to do this for me.” I texted you three times, so you should text me back – that is what you don’t want. You want to say, “I’m just going to serve you and love you, whether you deserve it or not, because that is what intimacy looks like in a marriage.”
Q. What would your top three tips for a healthy sexual relationship be, to couples who are struggling?
C: #1 Have post-sex pillow talk. The myth that Hollywood presents is that every single time we come together it’s fireworks and explosions, and we are going to climax at the same time, which isn’t real. But, the post-sex pillow talk can get us closer to that place. You have to talk about sex together. Very few people talk about their sex life. I cannot believe how few married couples actually talk about their sex techniques, what they like or dislike. Ladies, you have to be articulate, graphic, and coach your husband in what you like.
M: And to that, men are kind of basic with their anatomy, but for females, we have babies, we’ve got breastfeeding, hormones, that time of the month, ovulation - it all plays into how we feel and what feels good or what we like. The post-sex pillow talk is super important.
C: Next time you have sex, talk about it. In a loving and encouraging way. Say, “I want the best sex ever, don’t you?” You’ve got to talk it through.
M: It is awkward at first, but we tell couples to try it ten times before they quit. Everything is awkward the first time you do it.
C: #2 Try The 7-day sex challenge, from our friends at One Extraordinary Marriage, we just did a marriage retreat with them. We tried to do the seven days of sex, who wouldn’t want that? ...And we could only make it five.
M: We couldn’t even make it all the way. You learn a lot about yourself doing the challenge. Like, so much. And actually, women tend to like it more than men.
M: #3 Schedule sex. We get a lot of backlash on that, on social media, because people want to have that “Hollywood spontaneous thing,” that never happens. If people are having spontaneous sex all the time, then keep at it, but for the average person, for busy people who have kids and are tired, just schedule it. Give priority to the things that matter most. You put business meetings and dance recitals in your calendar, and sex should be up there too, with all the things that are a priority. Oh, and always use a code-word on your phone, so in case you lose your phone or your kids see it... we use “Nap,“ which is “naughty and playful.”
Values to Live By
Q. What do you love about each other? What are some of your spouse’s greatest strengths and traits? How do those things help nurture your marriage?
C: Well, she reminds me of me, and I like me (laughing), jk. Meygan absolutely fills my voids. I’m completely unorganized, she is. I sometimes have a hard time communicating and she is amazing at it. When I’m feeling down, she is always there to pick me up. She has affirmed me in some of the most broken places of my life. My mom pretty much abandoned me, emotionally, and I’ve never had a good mother role-model, but watching her with the kids has been this, “Wow, that’s how it gets done.” She is absolutely my best friend. Most nights we have to cut off the conversation because we can chat all the way through the rest of the night. I think pursuing Marriage365, I would never do this by myself. There are a lot of people who do this by themselves, but I could never do it. She is my constant source of encouragement. And she knows how to please me in the bedroom. And she’s hot!
M: I would say one of the things that I love most about Casey is that he is passionate. When he loves something, everyone knows how passionate he is about it and I don’t think a lot of people do that anymore. It’s extremely exciting to be a part of that. He is an incredible dad, beyond the most fun dad you’ve ever met in your life. The minute he gets home from work the kids run to him crying, “Daddy, daddy!” He has a lot of energy, and that has been a big blessing as a dad, because he just keeps going with them. He works really hard for our family, really hard. Long hours, long days, and it’s important for him, and for us, for me to stay home with the kids, during this season while they are young. And he has always supported that. He looks really good when he works out at the gym...his squats and the lunges are pretty sexy. I also love the fact that I actually married a guy who is very romantic. He writes me love notes. When he does plan dates, they are always very creative. He’ll bring me flowers, or my favorite chocolate bar, or the other night he came home with frozen yogurt, and just surprised me. He definitely knows I love chocolate and he does a good job with that. I would say he is really helpful around the house, it sounds silly, but I really appreciate it. He knows that means a lot to me and I know he does it to make me happy. He has a heart of service. It means more than half the other things he does. He is selfless. I love his blue eyes. Oh my gosh, they are gorgeous. I love that he has a heart for other people. He will stop anywhere and help people.
C: I love that you stuck it out with me, despite some of the things that I’ve put you through.
Routines & Rituals
Q. What do you to day-to-day to help you stay connected? Do you have any special places?
M: We are really good at sending texts and emails to each other throughout the day. Every Sunday our “business meeting” at 9pm is a ritual.
C: We always stop what we are doing and say, “Game plan!” That is important in this house, when we are moving like the speed of light, we stop and do a game plan to make sure we know what is going on.
M: It keeps up on the same page, so there aren’t stupid little arguments.
C: We yell, “Team Caston!” a lot!
M: We love Balboa Island. We got engaged on the island, so it is a special place for us. We also had Disneyland passes for nine years and we would go without the kids, at nighttime. And that was one of our favorite places.
C: We walk our neighborhood, we’ll pray, we’ll talk, we’ll vision-cast, we’ll kind of activate.
M: The walks help us communicate after a long day.
Q. Do you have anniversary/birthday? Celebrations? Bigger rituals and routines holidays?
M: One thing we do every anniversary, we try to remember on our date night, what we have done on every anniversary. We still can’t remember what we did on year four, it drives us crazy! We’re on year twelve. Club 33, year 3. We go through all our anniversaries. That was our favorite anniversary. They gave us a private tour and our reservations were at the same time as the firework show, so we got to go out on the balcony and watch. It was amazing and super memorable. Also, for our ten year anniversary we went down to Mexico for ten days, and we went all out, that was really fun.
Q. What secrets have worked in addressing conflict and coming out better rather than worse?
C: We wrote a hundred page book all about it, which you can order here. Gottman talks about how 69% of conflict is unresolvable. So it isn’t about conflict resolution, it’s about conflict management. We are two different people. I love coming home, cracking a beer, listening to Reggae, and BBQ’ing. Meygan can’t handle Reggae.
M: It’s not changing. I still don’t like Reggae.
C: It’s about managing conflict. I grieve the years I missed out on learning the heart of my wife by showing up and being defensive, rather than listening to her tastes, her wants, her desires he dreams. And instead of trying to work through it, we went through years of me being like, “I’m good, I can listen to my music whenever I want to!” When you really turn the corner in conflict is when you begin to listen and communicate effectively.
M: Couples have to apologize and forgive because everyone can admit they are going to mess up, so you’re going to have to apologize, knowing that you messed up. You know your spouse will mess up, so you should know you are going to have to forgive them. Forgiveness is what you do for yourself. If we don’t forgive, we would live with so much bitterness, anger, and resentment.
C: Healthy couples go through a process of rupturing and repairing. Rupture, repair. Unhealthy couples go through a process of rupturing, but never get back to repairing the relationship. It more becomes a defensive thing. I know this, because that is what we lived out the first three years of our marriage. I drop something on Meygan’s foot and she says ouch, I cuss her out and then I throw something. It would escalate really quickly.
M: And part of the communication is to stay within the issue at hand. When there hasn’t been apologizing and forgiving, you can’t stay at the issue at hand. That rule has flown out the door.
C: Because the issue at hand is triggered from an issue before.
M: Totally. There was never any repair.
Q. How do you approach a topic where you don’t see eye to eye, or something that is hard to talk about?
C: That happens frequently.
M: We are pretty strong-willed, stubborn, opinionated people.
C: But I always have the right way, and she just has to get around my opinion.
M: (sarcastically) Totally. One good rule that we just started applying in our marriage is, “Let’s give it a week and let’s come back to it.” Nothing dramatic is going to happen in a week and if it does, it will probably point you in the right direction. Come back and talk about it again. If it is still really heated, it is probably just not the right timing.
Q. What is the secret to a happy marriage?
M: Friendship. Always working on your friendship. Science backs that up. The Bible backs that up. Love comes and goes, you don’t always feel like loving each other, but you always like your friend...oh, and a lot of sex!
C: #IChooseLove is our key hashtag because love inside marriage is a choice, not based on what we feel. Our culture defines love as an emotion that drives our desire to serve each other. The reality is that love is a choice. Often, that requires us to act in direct opposition to what we may be feeling in that moment. Faith, Hope, and Love... but the greatest of these is love. Why? Love is faith and hope - in action.
"There is properly no history; only biography."
- Ralph Waldo Emerson
You Know You Want to Read
Everybody Loves These