Location: Spanish Fork, Utah
Years Married: On April 8th, it will be 12 years.
Occupations: Joe: Owner of Andersound, a sound company. He provides sound gear, lighting and staging for bands and big events. He mixes sound. He tours. He drives a big truck. Cherie: Singer/songwriter. Recently released her 8th album, "Homeless Songs". Sings with Utah group, "The Lower Lights".
Hobbies/Interests: Movies. Music. Joe makes amazing popcorn. Joe and Cherie both love to cook.
Favorite Flavors of Ice Cream: Joe - chocolatey flavors; Cherie - pistachio
Website: cheriecall.com - in particular, a blog post Cherie wrote about their marriage.
Q. What are your top 10 tips for nurturing your marriage?
1. Remember how your story began
C: We're grateful for the timing of our story. This might be the only area where I really go out on a limb and sound like a serious advice giver. And the advice I give here might be controversial in the culture I grew up in and live in now. But I think it is very important to not be in a hurry to get married. I think one of the reasons that Joe and I are so happy together is that we weren’t really young when we got married. I was 29 and he was 31. I didn’t plan it that way. But I really got to know myself and worked out some of the issues I had. I learned about new talents, how to love my own company, be responsible for my own happiness, etc. Not that I am perfect now, but I sure know myself, and life in general, better than I did when I was 18. Here are some horrible reasons to rush into marriage:
A. You are incredibly lonely and sad and have serious issues in your past about the ways the family you grew up, and you need someone to save you from it all. (Wake-up call: Even if the person you love thinks they can fix all of your problems, they can’t. You have to do that stuff yourself!)
B. You’re getting a little older and your aunt/brother/former roommate thinks you need to get your act together and settle for someone nice. (How sad for the “consolation prize”!) Call me a romantic, but I still believe you should marry for love, someone you wouldn’t want to live without, not someone you might be able to deal with if you try hard enough. Certainly don’t let something pass you by because you aren’t 30 yet. That’s not what I mean. But don’t be in a rush.
My two cents. But that’s just me. Joe, anything to add here?
J: (Being truthful, yet playful) I wanted to get married because I thought Cherie was hot. Truthfully, I still think she’s hot. But that’s just a bonus to finding someone I truly love. I laugh, and at the same time praise the heavens, that I didn’t get married any younger than I did. I can confidently say I’m almost the same person today that I was when I got married. But that person is SOOOOO different than the guy I was five, ten, and fifteen years earlier. That’s not to say I wouldn’t be happy today if I had married much earlier, but I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t be the same guy now. We all take a while to find who we are. Some do it sooner than others. But I don’t think it’s fair to a couple to have to roll with drastic changes while each is trying to decide who he’s going to be.
C: People do it. Some people start young and grow together. And certainly, life isn’t fair. I guess I just think for us, getting married a little older was more of a blessing than a curse.
Joe & Cherie on their honeymoon. They moved their wedding date up by a month, but Joe kept their Yellowstone honeymoon plans. Turned out the park was still closed for the winter and everywhere they went it was a ghost town! You can't tell here, but they laughed about it the whole time. That was one of their first clues that humor would get them far.
C: This is in all caps because I think it might be the most important reason our marriage is happy. One of the things I found really attractive about Joe when we fell in love, is that we always laughed together. This has proven to not just be fun, but to be a total lifesaver. We laugh 99.9 % of all of our days. There are occasionally some off days or really bad days. They’re pretty rare. I think there have been some days that could have been catastrophic but that turned out to just be comically rotten - thanks to humor -really, thanks to Joe’s sense of humor. One quick example...When your kid picks up head lice from school and you have to check to see if the whole family has it. Including each other. Nothing says true love like having your beloved comb through your hair with a tiny comb, looking for nits. It was so gross and scary, and there was such a dismal cloud of doom hanging over me, and yet I remember us combing each other’s hair and laughing. A lot of times I hear people tell me, “It seems like you guys are always laughing. That must be fun. We never laugh at our house.” I feel so sad for those people!! It’s really about the saddest thing I can think of.
J: Indeed. And we’ve had a lot of fun here tonight. But there’s nothing funny about people born without a funny bone. Or head lice. Not people born without head lice. Just head lice. Head lice are never funny. So much of the world takes itself too seriously. And taking yourself too seriously isn’t healthy for any relationship, least of all a marriage. With everything that inevitably will go wrong in a home, ain’t nobody got time for being overly somber. I think I read that in a medical journal. Or maybe it was my journal. As a child, I didn’t know the phrases, “TV drama” or “situational comedy”. I used to tell people that the two kinds of shows on TV were (sighing sound effect) and (laugh track sound effect). But the laugh track sound effect always sounded like static noise when I made it. So my advice to the world from my six-year-old brain is that there are obvious times when a couple needs to be (sighing sound effect). But just as important are the (laugh track sound effect) moments.
C: This one could also be called “not being a jerk” or “not being quick to blame," but I think loyalty works well. As I mentioned, humor is a major form of glue that holds everything together for us. But not mean-spirited humor. I don’t think this was even a conscious decision, but I can’t think of any time we have ever made fun of each other, even as a joke. I wouldn’t put up with it for one minute if one of my friends was ripping on my husband. And I sure would never do it myself. And I think this falls under the same category. When I’ve done something dumb, Joe doesn’t dwell on it. We move on. I’ve always been grateful for that. The very best example of this is when our basement flooded because of a dumb mistake I made. You can read the whole story here on my blog. It might be my favorite blog post, actually. But the main thing I wanted to say about it, is that when I heard Joe explaining to people on the phone what happened, I never heard him say, “Cherie left a hose on.” He always said, “A hose was left on.” I was really touched by that. Better than a gift of ten dozen roses.
J: Can we keep talking about TV sitcoms? I learn so much from them. Cherie and I are both annoyed by the formulaic married couples on TV sitcoms and commercials. Overweight, bumbling husband who sits on the couch watching sporting events and barking at his wife. Thin, gorgeous wife who never has anything nice to say about anyone, especially the husband. Again, I think the world provides enough negativity that every person deserves to have a safe haven somewhere. And that should be in his or her spouse. That policy has always been non-negotiable in our relationship.
4. T-Bone Tuesday
C: Joe is a really nice guy. The Red Cross calls him like every month to get him to donate blood. I swear they’re going to start asking for his kidneys and lungs one of these days, they love him so much. Anyway, a few months ago, Joe was planning to donate platelets, and the instructions said that he should make sure to eat plenty of iron rich foods. I went to the store and bought him some T-bone steaks. We had lunch together. And it was really great. It was a treat to splurge on a nice meal in the middle of the day. It was like a date at home. We decided to make it happen every week! We don’t really have a weekly date night. With our work in the entertainment biz, it’s hard to schedule evenings. And our kids are little. But we started having this special lunch once a week, and I’m not exaggerating when I say it has changed our lives. We try to put on a movie for our toddler and get the baby down for a nap. We’ve set and achieved so many wonderful goals for our careers and our family, just in a few months time, all because of T-Bone Tuesday. Our older children think it is cute when they see the dishes and leftovers when they come home from school. It makes me happy that they know we love having this special lunch together every week.
J: I don’t have much to add about our TBT’s. These meals have become a great environment for brain storming and creativity. And I think most of that is because of their regularity. Creativity is fostered through having a regularly scheduled outlet. I think I read that in a medical journal.
5. Dream Team
C: Ever since we got married, the dreams that Joe and I each had before, have not gone away. They have become family dreams. We’ve made sacrifices for each other’s dreams. We’ve rejoiced together and cried together about them. When he’s on the road for work, as hard as it gets sometimes, I remember that we fell in love on the road and that it would be ridiculous for me to suddenly expect him to become an accountant or something, with a normal nine to five job. He’d be miserable. It’s worth the effort to see him have his own business and be fulfilled in that way. He has been incredibly supportive of me during some major ups and downs in my music career. At a time when I was really ready to throw in the towel, he went out on a limb and bought me a guitar I had always wanted, but didn’t think I deserved until I became “successful." It was an amazing gesture and his belief in me at that moment was a real turning point in my career and life.
J: This might be more personal than I choose to wax on on a public medium, but I have to point out that Cherie told me, in tears, after we became engaged that she was ready to give up her music career so we could get married. I was amazed that she was willing to give up what had been most valuable to her in exchange for our new life together. But my response was “What are you talking about?!” She somehow believed that she wouldn’t be able to chase her dreams after becoming a wife. Music is who Cherie is, and if you take that away from her, you take away Cherie. I wanted the whole Cherie. Sometimes, for responsible adults, your big dreams and aspirations have to wait when you have a family. But they certainly shouldn’t be thrown away. Our dreams are what define us. I think I read that on a yogurt lid. Besides, who is better to help you find them than your family?
C: Joe is an amazing dad. Because of his work, he is either on the road, or he’s really home, and we are both home with the kids. When he watches the kids when I have a gig, he is not “babysitting.” He’s the dad!! Our kids know we are on the same page. A “no” from one of us is a “no” from both of us. Although I do know about Howie’s secret truck treats with Dad... which I think is super cute.
J: You heard it from Cherie. That should be enough.
C: This seems pretty broad. But I genuinely love the way it makes me feel to do things that make Joe happy. Like making his favorite dessert or getting a birthday gift he will love. It is fun for me. Joe is aways doing kind things for me to help with dinner, the kids, the dishes, etc. Or packing up my car for me when I have a gig. It means the world to me.
J: (Quoting a song) "The Golden Rule is a terrific tool. It helps you decide what to do. And did you know, though it doesn’t show, there’s a golden rule inside of you. It says 'Do unto others as you would have others do. . . to. . . you.'" (Thank you, Carolyn Pearson. Carolyn Pearson, ladies and gentlemen!)
8. Be Best Friends
C: When something wonderful happens, when something horrible happens, when I see a hilarious video, when I need advice, when I want to see a movie, etc, the very first and favorite person I go to is Joe. I genuinely love his company more than anyone else in the world.
J: I can’t ditto this enough. And not a Patrick Swayze ditto. I mean I absolutely feel the same way as Cherie on this one. Like a ditto machine.
C: I am not a perfect wife. I mean, I care too much. I try too hard to be amazing. I’m too awesome of a homemaker. Are you gagging yet? In all seriousness, I have a very real and very depressing list of things I wish I could do better. I want to turn those wishes to goals and be better. We have off days. Days we don’t connect the best. Days when our first kiss is late that night before we pass out from exhaustion. Days we misunderstand each other. It seems like we both try to fix that stuff as quickly as possible. I think that’s incredibly important and I hope I always am trying to be better.
J: That’s what it all comes down to, folks. Cherie is the concrete in our marriage. No, she doesn’t weigh us down or drown us when life tosses us off a bridge. I mean that desire to be better is what gives super strength to relationships. I also want to be better. The two of us both being on that same page is powerful. Luckily for me, Cherie is better than me at being better.
10. Go to bed at the same time
C: We go to bed at the same time. When we’re in the same town, we go to bed at the same time. Even if he has a gig, I try to wait up for him. I love to hear all the stories. In fact, what time is it right now? (Yawn) I feel all tuckered out.
J: As stated in #8, we want to be with each other more than we want to be with any other person. Cherie stays up late with me if I need to get important things done, even if I'm up into the wee hours of the night. People talk about their spouses and they talk about their best friends. For us, they are the same thing. I am married to my best friend. Now, I’m positive I read that on a wedding napkin.
"There is properly no history; only biography."
- Ralph Waldo Emerson
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