Years Married: 13
Kids: 4 boys
Occupation: Josh is a professor of Chemistry at a large university; Amber is a stay-at-home mom and blogger at Crazy Little Projects.
Hobbies/Interests: We love to play games, watch shows together, eat out, and just be together.
Favorite Flavor of Ice Cream: Amber - Peanut Butter Chocolate; Josh - Peppermint.
The Little Things
Q. Will you share with us some of the little things you do together, or for each other, that nurture your marriage?
J: One of our very favorite things - really, the absolute highlight of our week - is our Friday night date night. Every Friday night around 7:30pm we put the boys together in their room for what they call “Brothers’ movie night.” They snuggle together on the bottom bunk and watch a movie and eat popcorn (and they love it!), while we get takeout and eat and talk together, and then snuggle on the couch and watch a show together. For several years we watched X-Files every Friday night. Once we finished that we moved on to Psych.
A: We do it every single Friday night (unless there is some major event - but it has to be pretty major to interrupt date night!). It’s a chance to be together with no stress. We don’t worry about if the house is a mess or if there are chores to be done. It’s our time to unwind and focus only on each other. It’s the one time during the week when we know that we get to be together with minimal interruptions, and we love it!
Q. Can you give us a few examples of things he/she has done for you that may seem small, but that have made a big difference?
A: When Josh vacuums the living room.
J: Acts of kindness and consideration. I really appreciate a warm dinner waiting for me when I get home, or other acts of kindness like that.
Q. What has been your favorite date you have been on together?
J: Our very favorite is the one mentioned above. Keeping it simple works so well for us. Other dates we enjoy are just simple things like going out to dinner, double dating with friends, seeing a play, playing games with friends, going for a walk or anything else we do together.
Q. What are the obstacles you have faced in going on dates, and what have you done to ensure that dates happen?
A: It can be hard to get a babysitter, and stressful to plan a date night out, but our date nights "in," are every bit as fun as any night we ever have out.
Values to Live By
Q. We would love for you to each take a minute and brag about your spouse. What do you love about each other? What is your spouse’s strongest trait?
A: The number one thing that I love most about Josh is his kindness. This was something that was a top priority to me in marriage. I know that the people he meets each day, whether it is the checker at the grocery store or his students at school, are going to be met with the utmost kindness. He genuinely wants to be a good, kind person and do what is right and he does this in every way. He is kind and compassionate and would do just about anything for anyone. I value this so much and hope that our children learn it from him.
J: Amber is creative, fun, and determined. When she puts her mind to something, it’s as good as done, and it’s going to be a blast! This attribute carries through to many different areas: her commitment to the Lord and serving in our church; the fun and creative ways she plays with our boys; her success in starting a business and blogging, etc. Her mantra is “Green light, GO!” and it works!
Q. How do those traits, values, strengths and characteristics nurture your marriage?
A: Josh would never, ever intentionally be unkind to me in our marriage. How can you not love that? He will do anything to make me happy and is always looking for ways to keep the peace.
J: Amber is my biggest cheerleader. When I feel inadequate as a dad, or at work, or at church, she tells me to keep going, that I’m doing fine. I think she genuinely sees me as better than I actually am, which inspires me to work harder and to be better.
Routines and Rituals
Q. What things do you do day-to-day that keep you connected?
J: We often talk on the phone during the day while I am at work and Amber is at home. In the evening after the kids are in bed we spend time talking or being together. We read scriptures and pray together each day.
Q. Do you have any special places, things you say to each other, or other mini-traditions that are unique to your marriage?
A: The first day that we held hands (years ago) was a Monday in April. It was the last day of our freshman year of college and Josh was getting ready to leave on a two-year mission for our church. We spent the day doing fun things together like hiking, eating out and going to a park. That night we went for a walk and held hands for the first time (and last time for two years). We called the day, "Fun-day Monday," and we still sometimes celebrate that day, all these years later.
Q. Do you have any routines/rituals around special occasions like anniversaries, Valentine’s Day, birthdays, etc.
A: On special occasions, Josh usually makes me crepes - filled with pudding and topped with whipped cream, chocolate shavings, and powdered sugar. YUM!
Q. What does it mean to you to have an intimate relationship with your spouse?
A: It means that we can be who we truly are with each other, without worrying that we will be judged. To be completely at home, vulnerable, and safe with each other. This is still a work in progress - it’s not easy to be completely sure of yourself, but it’s a true beauty of marriage.
Q. What does emotional intimacy look like to you, and what things have helped you draw closer together emotionally?
J: Experiencing life together and going through challenges brings us together. Recently our three-year-old was in the hospital for several days and we found that this time, even though there was stress in our lives, was a time where we were able to be kind and loving to each other. This helped us draw closer together because we chose kindness rather than getting irritated and grouchy (like we have sometimes done in the past when we have been in stressful situations).
Q. What other things help you nurture the intimate relationship you have with your spouse?
A: Intimacy is a journey - not a destination - and it will take work and not be perfect.
Q. What specific suggestions can you share that have helped you work through challenges that have come up in your marriage?
A: Being married is more important than being right. Acting like adults and talking through things rather than playing games, like the silent treatment.
J: Treat each other like the person you know they can be, rather than like the person they might be right then.
Q. How do you talk about hard things, or tough issues where you don’t see eye-to-eye?
A: Try to understand things from each other’s perspective, and be willing to apologize and recognize your own shortcomings. There is a Celine Dion song called Faith, that talks about “Take me as I am,” even when I am imperfect. That’s the beauty of marriage. We see each other at our worst, and yet can still forgive and trust, and believe in each other, and move on and love each other. It also helps to believe that God brought us together with things for us to learn from each other.
Q. What principles and/or practical suggestions have helped you, as a couple, manage your finances? What marriage-related financial tips could you share with other couples?
J: Be completely open about priorities. Set some basic rules and goals. No major purchases without talking to each other. Set priorities together like savings, retirement, etc. We have worked together to have enough finances to live comfortably. When I was in school for many years, Amber was able to find ways to make money from home, to contribute.
Q. How has working through conflict together nurtured your marriage and brought you closer together?
A: We have learned from past experiences (sometimes cringing at our own shortcomings) and are slowly growing more patient and kind with each other.
J: Being willing to work through things demonstrates that our marriage is our top priority and that nothing else matters.
Q. You are still married. What is your secret to a happy marriage?
J: We’re in it for the long haul, no matter what. So we let that govern our actions.
A: Nothing matters more than our marriage, and we will always treat it that way.
"There is properly no history; only biography."
- Ralph Waldo Emerson
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