I'm pretty excited for today's post, because a couple of weeks ago while in the midst of our marriage course I had asked Taylor if he would be open to writing his reflection of the course to share with you guys, and he said yes! And now that the course is finished, I am finally able to share his reflection with you.
Me oh my, I love that sweet husband of mine!
So without further ado, I'll let him take it from here - enjoy!
. . .
So this week, as you all know, Em is having me write about what I thought about our course. Going into this whole thing, it was really just about doing something that I knew would make Em happy. The least I could do was give an hour once a week to do something she wants to do, right? So overall, I was excited to do it, but I did not think it would help us. I thought I knew what our main problems were and how to fix them. Boy was I wrong! Kirk and Chelsea’s course really made us think and talk about things that we really just did not acknowledge at the time.
So my expectations going in to the whole thing were that we would hear the same old stuff. Respect each other’s opinions, listen to one another, and work together on things. The typical things that people tell you will make your marriage successful. But they dive so much deeper into marriage then I ever thought. Our conversations led to more tears then I expected. I mean Em is definitely a crier but this really brought that out even more! But that just means that these conversations needed to happen. Right before we started the course, we got into a big fight. We were both stressed from moving and I just boiled over the top. It was not a fun night. We realized we had some things to work on. Nothing crazy but we needed to make sure we fixed some things now before they became issues later on.
One hesitation I did have with the course was that it would be all about God. My experience with church growing up was vastly different then Emilee’s. We would go on and off but once I was in junior high we were just so busy with sports that it just did not fit in. As you can tell from Em's posts, hers was much different than mine, which is okay but I was just hesitant about it. Since Em and I started dating, we go to church any time we can so it’s not like I was completely against it. But after going through the course, that is far from how I feel about it now. They do connect things they say to Christ but they also make it applicable to life in general.
After the first class on the purpose of marriage and changing yourself first, I was coming around the idea that this would benefit us. But Kirk really hammers home that it is a process and it is hard to change. I quickly realized that there were many things that I could work on to be a better husband and this class was just the first step. Some weeks I just did not want to do the class but then I reminded myself that it wasn’t just about me. It was important for us to do this. The excuse that I was too busy just was not going to cut it. Pretty soon I started to look forward to the videos and to hear what the Cameron’s had to say. They present the information in a way you can understand it and even provide you with supplemental articles to read if you would like.
The worksheets after each video were very beneficial in making sure that the information presented in the video was applicable to our lives. But there were some weeks that I had a harder time connecting with the material. There were two weeks where the focus was on parenting and disciplining. Though the information was great and I loved hearing what they had to say on really connecting with your children, I did find it tougher to engage with this material. Not being a father yet, I cannot say how I will discipline my kids until it comes time for that. I have no idea how I will react the first time my son or daughter hits another kid. I can say “oh I will do this and I will do this” but until it happens and I am in the moment, it is hard for me to say what I will really do. This led to a bit of a disagreement between Em and I because she really liked these weeks and it made her think about how she would like to raise kids. But we agreed to disagree on the topic because it was just harder for me to relate at the time.
After going through all 6 weeks of the class, I have had some time to reflect on the classes and realize that it has had a huge impact on me. The classes have made me think about how I act in a whole different way. It has made me more conscientious of what I say and how I say it. I am still not perfect. But the biggest thing this class has given me is that I am now more aware of my faults or the way I interact with my wife. I am more aware of the things I say. I may let some stuff slip out at times but at least now I realize what was wrong about what I said or how I said it. I am still not perfect by any means but I am continuing to grow as a husband.
Another thing I felt was a huge learning opportunity for me was how to have a real conversation with Em again. It is easy to get into the day to day of life and forget the little things. This class really got us talking again and reminded us how important it is make time for these real conversations. Like I said before, the course made us talk about things we had not or did not want to talk about. It made us have tough conversations that needed to happen. We even learned more about the other person that we did not know before.
I would definitely recommend this class to anyone in a long-term relationship. You do not even need to be married honestly. If you are married and you have no issues in your marriage, still go and spend the $30 for the course. Em and I were happy too. We argued, but who doesn’t right? This class is not only for people in struggling marriages that are barely hanging on by a thread. This class can help anybody who is in a committed, loving relationship. This class will help those who have fallen out of love with their significant other but want to make it work. It may even help those of you who are on the other end where you feel like you are trying but the other person is just not interested anymore.
If you have any hesitations, reach out to Emilee or I (or both!) and we can talk about it. If you are interested, go buy the class now! After you have done a few classes, we would love to talk with you about your experience with the course.
To purchase the course, click here!
- Taylor -
Well y'all, we did it!
This weekend we completed the 6th and FINAL lesson of our marriage course - woohoo!!!
I'm excited, but also sort of sad - I'm really actually going to miss the class. When I say that this class has helped us so much, it is no joke and the funny thing is that going into it I really thought we had a pretty good marriage, and we do, but there was certainly a lot of room for improvement . . . I mean we would fight and such, but I didn't think anything of it. It really wasn't until we started doing this class that both of us realized that neither of us we're doing the best that we could do in this marriage.
It can be so much better. It should be so much better.
I think one of the biggest realizations that I have had over the last six weeks is that I am not being the best spouse that I can be for Taylor - Over the last few weeks I have recognized a profound selfishness in me that I am not particularly proud of and I also recognized how difficult it is for me to let go of my pride and move on to forgiveness and grace.
Throughout the lessons, one of the messages that was reiterated over & over again was this:
Love them when they don't deserve to be loved
I will be the first to admit that this is so much easier said than done and it takes practice - a lot of practice. But I'm telling you that if you just try it and keep practicing it, I can only imagine the difference that it will create not only in your marriage, but in your life. And like I said, it is hard - I can tell you that in the last six weeks of this course we have failed at it more times than i'd care to admit. It is a complete work in progress and you're going to fail, probably more than once, but the more you do it the quicker it turns into a habit and a natural reaction - I believe that with all my heart. I think this act alone - loving someone when they don't deserve to be loved - has the power to change your life and I can't wait to see how it changes our life just as it does yours.
Yesterday I sat down and I prayed - I asked God to change my heart. I asked him to make me less selfish. To help me to love better and be a better wife. To show me how can I serve my husband better - how can I serve others better in general. I asked him to open my heart to others, to not be so quick to judge and to listen first. I asked him to teach me and show me how to find the good in everything and everyone,
For whatever reason yesterday as I was dilly dallying around my house I felt a sudden urge that I just needed to sit down and lay it all out there for God to hear and so I did. And I'm telling you that afterward I felt so much relief as if whatever was weighing on my shoulders was finally lifted and I just felt peace.
I encourage you to try the same thing this week - open your heart to God, lay it all out there for him and he will bring you comfort, peace and whatever it is that you need.
- I'll be praying for each and every one of you -
Another message that was spoken over and over again throughout the course was that we cannot change our spouses, or anyone for that matter - God reserves the right to change them for himself.
I think this point was a hard one for me to grasp, because it is so easy for us to try and change somebody, especially those we love - like our spouse. But I think that the best thing we can do is pray to God that he changes their heart and you have to have faith because God will see it through.
The second part of that message was to stop trying to change the other person and instead focus on yourself - what can you do to make yourself a better person?
As I said above I have come to recognize that I can be very selfish and I also struggle with letting go of my pride - I tend to hold onto things for a long time instead of forgiving that person and showing them grace.
So as we move forward after these past few weeks I have found the things that I really want to work on in myself, just as Taylor has for himself. We both have things that we desperately need to work on. I will say that we really do and did have a good marriage leading up to this course, BUT had we gone on for 10, 20 or 30 years doing and acting the same ways that we have been acting over the past couple of years I don't know that we would have eventually made it. This class changed our marriage in more ways than one - it shifted the focus of our marriage, it forced us to talk and open up to each other on topics that aren't fun to talk about, it pointed out our problems, it taught us how to better love and serve one another and it provided us with a foundation to build our marriage and family on from here on out.
This class was a complete and total blessing - I don't know that I can put it in any better way - it was blessing and I'm thankful for the changes that it has made in each other, our marriage and our future family.
So with that said - the course is still for sale and you take it at your own pace and it's only $35 dollars - if interested you can buy it here!
. . . .
I'm sorry y'all - I didn't even realize how long that was and I haven't even talked about lesson 6 yet - stay with me!
This last & final lesson was about discipling your children. I liked this one simply because there are so many variations of what the best way to discipline your kid is and everybody has a different opinion on it. Of course like most parents, we will discover what works and doesn't work for us as parents, but Chelsea and Kirk laid out some really great tips on disciplining your kids.
Chelsea speaks a lot about getting to your child's heart.
She talks especially about the importance of explaining to your kids why what they did was wrong, not just that they did something wrong but going even beyond that and having a conversation with them to get to their heart. It is important to connect with your child, regardless of their age, and talk to them and try to understand what was driving that behavior, not just that they did something wrong.
I especially loved this part: Chelsea says that when you discipline your child you want to show them and let them know that you're doing this in their best interest and that whatever they did that was wrong is driving them away from this path that they're on - this path that God has created for them. You want to explain to them how this choice that their making is not only affecting the "right now" but how it can lead to many of the same choices later on in life.
Now obviously Taylor & I are not parents so I really don't even feel as though I have any authority or reason to speak on raising kids - but the lesson was really good and it was so powerful. I think these days I see a lot of discipline that is simply out of the frustration of the parent or whoever is watching a child and instead discipline should be done for the good of the child - not out of frustration from the parent.
I think that point was the most profound from the whole lesson.
I think it all comes down to loving your kids and making sure that they know that they are loved, appreciated and that you (their parents) are proud of them and that they know that there is nothing that they could do that would make you love them more.
And as far as disciplining goes, the biggest take away from this final lesson was to always be working to get to your child's heart - through their heart you are able to connect with them, teach them and guide them on this path that God has created for us.
- XO -
Hi sweet friends!
I hope that you all had a fabulous weekend! I’m not sure about you, but this weekend was so much needed – Taylor was in class all weekend, which was a bummer, but it did give me the opportunity to clean up the house and get a little bit of time to just relax. Oh how I love the weekend!
And once again I am so excited because today is #MARRIAGEMONDAY, and we’re getting so close to the end of our marriage course – only one week left!
I have to admit that I am so bummed that we’re almost done with the course - this class has been so helpful to Taylor & I and we have just been so inspired by Kirk & Chelsea. The other night I looked at Taylor and said, “you know, I think I just need a mini Kirk and Chelsea on my shoulders at all times . . . “ That’s how helpful they have been!
In all honesty, we have seriously been so encouraged by their words and their wisdom and it has been such a privilege for us to learn from them over these past few weeks.
Like I have said many times before, I would 100% recommend this class – its only $35 dollars and it is absolutely worth it. Before doing the class I was just excited about what may come from it and what we’d learn doing it, but these past 5 weeks have taught me so much more than I ever could have thought and I am so eternally grateful.
With that being said, if you want to learn more about the course click here and if you want to purchase the course (which you should!!!!) click here!
And if you have missed any of my previous #marriagemonday posts I linked them below:
Marriage Monday | Lesson 1
Marriage Monday | Lesson 2
Marriage Monday | Lesson 3
Marriage Monday | Lesson 4
OKAY! On to lesson 5 . . .
I really loved this lesson. Like the last lesson, it was focused on kids and parenting, but both Taylor & I found this one a little bit more relatable because there was also a lot of focus on marriage.
Kirk and Chelsea started off the lesson by talking about family traditions and how important those are – One of their traditions that they shared was ‘blessing their children’. Every night before bed both Kirk & Chelsea place their hand on their son or daughter and they say a blessing over them.
Part of what they say comes from the Book of Numbers when the Lord says to Moses
“The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.”
I loved that.
This led into a discussion about how important it is to show love and encouragement to your children and how to bless your children as often as possible – this means simply encouraging them, telling them that you love them, lifting them up, listening to them, telling them that you’re proud of them, etc.
I don’t have kids and am not a parent, but I have been a child and I can tell you that both of my parents blessed me all the time – I remember my mom would say a prayer over me at night before bed & my dad was, and still is, the most encouraging dad and my number one fan. I wholeheartedly believe that these things that they did, which may have seemed like nothing at the time, played a significant role in how I was raised and they turned me into the person I am today.
These things, no matter how small, are important and they matter.
Kids remember these things – I certainly do and I’m so grateful to my parents for raising and loving me so well.
. . .
The other part of the lesson was focused around two things – 1. More is caught than taught and 2. Priorities
Kids catch on to a lot of things – think about why you don’t curse in front of your kids . . . because they pick up everything and the likelihood of them repeating that word is pretty high.
So we just don’t do it.
This is just one small example of how more is caught than taught, so Kirk & Chelsea talked about the importance of being an example for your kids in everything you do, because they watch, they learn and they grow up repeating those habits that they have learned – especially in marriage.
How often is it that marriages fall to the wayside when kids come into the picture?
I would say it happens more often than not – and I don’t think that any one person is to blame, but I do think that because kids are needy and demanding, the priorities shift from marriage first to kids first almost immediately . . .
Kirk & Chelsea say that the best gift that you can give your children is a healthy marriage, and in order to do so you have to put marriage first – you have to put your spouse above your kids.
It is too easy to be distracted and let things get in the way of your marriage, whether it is kids, money, work or whatever – You have to make time for your spouse even in all of the chaos - no matter how busy life gets.
Your spouse has to be a priority.
This doesn’t mean neglecting your kids at all or ignoring them or anything of that matter – this simply means that with everything in life you have priorities and it is just looking at the scenario and deciding what is most important in that moment and how that reaction is going to look and feel to your kids and your spouse.
This ties back to this idea of more being caught than taught. If throughout our lives we put our marriage and spouse ahead of our kids, they will pick up the same habits and eventually bring those traits into their own marriages and families.
It doesn’t even have to be big things that you have to do – Kirk & Chelsea have 6 kids and sometimes all they could do was go into their office, shut the door and put a note on the door that said, “Do not knock or come in for 1 hour unless someone is bleeding.” And that one-hour would be their date night where they would check in with each other and have time together.
One of the questions on the study guide was how we can give our children a healthy marriage and we simply wrote down things like – setting aside time for each other, doing special little things for one another (flowers, golf, little notes, coffee in the morning, etc.), communicating and not fighting with each other and continuing to learn about one another as we grow and change.
Things like that go a long way and they absolutely make a difference. Those small, imperfect and thoughtful things are so important.
Whatever it is that makes your spouse feel loved, do it & never stop.
Make your spouse a priority
And speaking of priorities – here they are:
Matthew 22:37 – 40
And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
There is one last thing that I want to share with y’all that really stuck with me.
Often times we feel inadequate – we feel inadequate to our spouse and/or our kids, but what Chelsea said has really resonated with me and it is something that I think we need to be reminded of more often.
You are the perfect mom for your kids.
You are the perfect husband or wife your spouse.
1 Thessalonians 5:11
“Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.”
- XO -
Does anybody else feel like they need another weekend just to recover from the current weekend??
I certainly do.
This weekend was so fun, but busy, busy, busy! We went country dancing (SO FUN!), we wandered around the cutest little town near us and then we took our Christmas pictures - plus a couple naps here & there, because that is a weekend must ;)
It was a successful weekend to say the least and although I wish it could still be the weekend, I am excited because today is #MARRIAGEMONDAY!
We’re on our fourth week of the course and still loving it - only two weeks to go!
This week’s lesson, and next week’s actually, are both focused on parenting. And since we don’t have kids yet we did our best to try and take the lesson to heart and really listen and learn from the lesson.
I actually really loved this lesson, because my biggest dream has always been to be a mom and I loved hearing from Chelsea especially about what she has learned over the years and how she has worked to become a great wife & mom for her family.
Chelsea talked a lot about learning and understanding your child’s heart and I loved that. She talked about how when your child is acting out, instead of immediately reacting, you should instead try and take a step back and think about why they are doing what they’re doing. What is driving their behavior? And once you are able to figure that out, than you can talk about the problem and really get to the heart of the problem, while also developing a deeper relationship with your child.
I loved that.
This lesson really hit home with me and really just strengthened my desire to be a mom and to do everything I can to be the best mom that I can be.
Now on the other hand, as much as I loved the lesson, Taylor struggled with it. He had a hard time relating to it because we don’t have kids. In his mind he kept thinking that we have no idea what we’re going to be like with our own kids and so while this advice is great, it is only so helpful right now.
So with that being said, we tried to alter the questions a little bit and sort of direct them back to us and not kids. So one of the questions was - how did the way you were raised affect how you raise your kids? We turned this into, how was the way you were raised affect who you are today – what things were good and bad about your upbringing? What are things that you would do differently from how your parents raised you, etc.
Once we did that we got into some good conversations. And speaking of conversations, this class has been so good for helping us communicate. It really makes you have the conversations that you don’t want to have, but that are so important to have. Both Taylor & I hate talking about serious things – it is hard, it’s not fun and it is sometimes difficult because we have both come from different upbringings. However, these conversations are so important.
I think in the end we both liked the lesson, because like most of the rest of the course, it made us talk about something that we probably wouldn’t have talked about. I think we now understand how important it is to talk about our family before we have kids and to really set a foundation for our family to build on.
This lesson gave us the opportunity to start building our foundation and talking about how we want to raise our kids and what we want our family to be. Taylor and I, like most couples, come from different backgrounds and different upbringings, which then can create conflict – especially when it comes to raising a family.
I remember when Taylor & I would get on a conversation about raising kids and one of us would say something that the other disagreed with and all of the sudden we would just shut down and stop talking about it. We would figure it out when it was time and right now we didn’t have to worry about it – that was our thought process.
We would always say, well why is your way right? Why should we raise them this way, when I think this is better?
We weren’t communicating or trying to see the others point of view, we were simply being stuck in our own ways. We were trying to change the other person. We weren’t thinking about what would be best for our family – and that was the problem.
It isn’t Taylor’s family anymore and it’s not my family anymore – it is our family. Now knowing and understanding that we can honestly communicate and talk about our goals and purpose of our family.
One thing that I loved from this lesson was that Kirk and Chelsea both talked about the importance in keeping God & faith at the center of your family. I really loved that. Taylor and I got to talking after the lesson and we kept saying how in our family we want it to be more than just going to Church – it really is so much more than that, it is a way of life.
And it was at that point where it really felt like we laid the foundation for our family.
- XO -
This weekend we found this little chapel and I just fell in love with it - And then I thought what better picture to post for #marriagemonday than one that represents a God who gave us two of the most precious gifts - marriage & children.
Hi sweet friends!!
This weekend we hit the half way point in our marriage course – 3 weeks down and 3 weeks to go!!
And I I have to tell y’all that yesterday Taylor & I were talking and we both said how we’ve each noticed differences in ourselves and changes in each other as a result from what we’ve learned so far.
How cool is that? Thank you, Kirk & Chelsea!!
Both of us have really taken this course to heart and we have been trying so hard to practice everything we’re learning so that in time we won’t need to practice anymore and instead we will begin to act out of habit. Our desire to have a long lasting healthy & loving marriage is so strong and every week we are learning how to be a better partner to our spouse, how to serve them better and how to really love one another with the same kind of love that God has for each of us.
We are so thankful for what we have learned so far and I am especially grateful for all of you who have been following us through this journey and I hope that we are continually inspiring you in the way that we have been inspired over the last couple of weeks.
I know that I have said this already, but I have to say it again – I would highly recommend this course. You don’t need to have any problems, you don’t have to have an unhealthy marriage and you don’t even need to be going through anything, I really think it is so beneficial for any marriage. I have been asked a few times now if Taylor & I are having problems and if that’s why we’ve chosen to take the course, and the answer is no. We don’t have any serious problems that are currently threatening our marriage, but for us, we want to be proactive and do what we can now to avoid getting to that point later on in our marriage.
So with that being said, if you want to do the course (which you should!!!) click here! And y’all it’s only $34.99, which is a STEAL! I think I can speak for both of us when I say that it is 100% worth the $35 dollar investment.
And if you buy the class be sure to comment below and let us know!!!
. . .
Okay! Let’s get on with lesson 3, which was about forgiveness.
“The truth is, marriage is the joining of two imperfect people – two people that are sinners. And in order for a marriage to be healthy and thrive, forgiveness must be an essential practice.” – Kirk Cameron
Forgiveness is hard and it is certainly much easier said than done. It is especially hard because we have been raised in a culture where forgiveness isn’t the answer, but we are called by God to forgive others as he has forgiven us.
So the first question on our study guide was to think of some things that our spouse has done that we have held onto or that we have not forgiven them for.
Taylor & I couldn’t come up with anything . . . And that’s good! I am so thankful that neither one of us is holding onto anything that one of us has done in the past, however just because there is nothing now doesn’t mean that something won’t happen later on that one, or both of us, won’t want to forgive the other for.
And when that happens, how are we going to respond?
The whole lesson here was that we need to learn how to forgive in the freest, purest, most constant and unconditional form.
We have to learn to forgive like God has, and continues to forgive us.
Matthew 6:14 – 15
“Then Peter came up and said to him, “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as 7 times? Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy-seven times”
I have always loved this verse. It is a such a profound example of forgiveness and how we must learn to forgive over, and over and over again even when that person does not deserve it.
As a culture we don’t want to forgive, because we don’t want people taking advantage of us, we think that the other person should apologize first, we don’t think that they deserve to be forgiven or we want to get them back and hurt them the way that they hurt us.
I think the same goes in marriage – I know that for Taylor & I it did. I really struggled with forgiveness. If Taylor said something that hurt me I would stay angry and bitter for a long time, much longer than I should have. I would bury it inside and then at random times I would think of that thing he did and I would randomly get grumpy with him or simply be bitter towards him.
And then for Taylor, if I did something that upset him, he would be angry for a few minutes, get over it and then be fine – but he wasn’t really fine. He would bury his feelings and then over time they would build up and one day it would all just blow up and we would get in a big fight.
Both of these things were a result of us not forgiving one another. Eventually we came to forgive each other, but by the time we had done that we had wasted so much time being angry or bitter towards the other person and it caused us to be short tempered and disrespectful toward one another.
And to be honest with you, at the time I don’t know that either of us realized that we weren’t forgiving the other person, but looking at it now, that is exactly what we were doing and it was causing unnecessary hurt and anguish in our relationship.
In marriage we are bound to hurt one another, never intentionally of course, but in those moments I think it is so important to simply act with love and forgive your spouse, even when it doesn’t feel like they deserve it.
With as much as we disobey and dishonor God, we are not deserving of his forgiveness or his love, but he loves and forgives us anyways – no matter what. How amazing is that?
We are so fortunate and blessed to have such a loving, forgiving and amazing God that loves us more than anything. If we can learn to love others, especially our spouses, in the way that God loves us, I can only imagine the profound impact it will have on your marriage and your life.
There was one other part of the lesson that I really loved and it was Chelsea talking about how unforgiveness was like a cancer in the way that it just eats you up inside and it steals your joy.
When I heard her say that I became genuinely sad, because I thought about how many times I have let my pride, anger or whatever it may be stand in the way of my forgiving someone and how much joy I lost because of that.
And after sort of having that realization, I really just came to understand how important forgiveness really is and how much of yourself you can lose by not forgiving someone. So from here on out, we are both practicing forgiving each other more and learning to forgive and love each other just as God loves us.
And like I said earlier, it is much easier said than done – I know. But if you do anything or take anything from this post, I ask that you try and practice free, pure, constant and unconditional forgiveness.
Forgive even when they don’t deserve it.
“Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.”
Hello & happy Monday!
Whew! I don’t know about y’all, but this weekend flew by. I feel like we just haven’t stopped moving since we got to Austin and I’ve loved it, it has been SO FUN! We love Austin so far. I’m telling you guys, there is SO MUCH FOOD in this city and it all looks so dang good. Yesterday Taylor and I started a list of all the places that we want to try here and lord help me, cause it’s not going to be short. #ineedtoexercise
Give me all the tacos. And barbeque. And tex mex. And ice cream. And foodtrucks . . .
You see what I mean? It’s a problem
Anyways – Over the weekend we went to this super fun bar in south Austin and before you go in, they have this great sign on the outside. I mean how fitting is that, “Welcome to Awesome, Texas” (don't mind the terrible photo quality)
Now on another note . . . TODAY IS #MARRIAGEMONDAY!
I get so excited to talk about marriage and to share our experience with you, so thank y’all for listening & reading – it really means the world to me.
This course has been a real blessing to Taylor & I and I truly hope that these posts and our experience leaves you feeling inspired and wanting to love and serve your spouse better.
. . .
This weekend Taylor & I completed the second lesson in our marriage course – The Heart of Family by Kirk & Chelsea Cameron. If you missed my lesson 1 post you can see that here! As I have said many times before it would be so much easier to simply tell you only what I want to share about our experience in the class, but that wouldn’t be truthful, nor would it be beneficial for you or us.
So let’s get down to it, shall we?
This week’s lesson was about conflict, and y’all, it was hard. So hard in fact that within the first 10 minutes of us discussing the first question on the study guide, I was walking out of the room in tears . . .
I wish that I could tell you something different, but I can’t. This week’s lesson was plain hard. We had to talk about some tough things and face some of our biggest problems and it just wasn’t fun. But with as difficult as it was, it was seriously needed and it was honestly and truly really good.
I would easily say that conflict is probably one of our biggest struggles. We are both ridiculously stubborn and we get frustrated easily, which together creates conflict.
I often find myself getting frustrated with Taylor because of his tone of voice. Even if he isn’t mad or frustrated, his tone of voice comes across to me in that way – mad/frustrated/annoyed. Or when he is frustrated and he raises his voice, I take it as him yelling at me or scolding me, when he thinks he is simply raising his voice.
And then for me, I am very sensitive and I tend to take things very personally. I hate being scolded or yelled at and when I do, I shut down.
So when we put these two things together it creates immediate conflict in our relationship. Taylor will say something, I will get offended and then I will respond with frustration causing him to get annoyed and then we end up bitter toward each other.
When that happens over and over and over again it starts to take a toll on you. It starts to become your new normal and all of the sudden you go from this place of love to this place of bitterness.
It is so easy for us to let our emotions lead the way, but this week’s lesson taught us the importance of pushing your feelings to the side, thinking before you react and relying on God to change your heart.
God has this amazing capability to change our hearts, to change those hateful, frustrated feelings that you’re having and turning them into love.
John 13:34 - A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.
Most of what the video talked about this week was being slow to react. When you are fighting, take a second to think about the situation and ask yourself if what you are about to do or say is going to work to build a solution or if it is just going to strengthen the fight.
This is of course much easier said than done, but I loved what Chelsea said, she said that in that moment it can be hard to want to love, respect, honor or react positively to your spouse and so if you can’t do it for your spouse than do it for God. Reach out to God and ask him to change your heart and your feelings.
James 1:19 – Know this, my beloved brothers; let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger
I can tell you that Taylor and I are so quick to act on our feelings and after having gone through this lesson we are now working so hard to be intentional about what we say and what we do, because now we understand the importance of it.
I love what James tells us when he says, “be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger.” By doing these three things, we are reacting not through our emotions, but through love and compassion.
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The other focus of this week’s lesson was on the “mother problem” of your relationship. What is that one thing that you would consider to be your biggest problem?
We said our stubbornness and our pride – especially together.
Taylor and I have bad memories and we forget things easily or we tend to think something happened that didn’t and we actually fight over these things.
I will think (and be sure) that I said, did or told him something, but he will completely disagree with me and say that I didn’t say, do or tell him what I said I did and like me, he is 99% sure that he is right.
Neither of us likes to give in because we are too prideful and stubborn.
I mean honestly does it even matter who was right or wrong? No. All that matters is that from that moment on you figure out what you need to figure out and then move on.
It is such a simple thing to do, but because of our pride, neither of us wants to back down. We want the other to be proven wrong and in those moments, we’re not acting like a team but instead were working against each other.
Ephesians 4:31-32 – Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
Going back to what I was saying at the beginning of this post, we discussed how to change ourselves instead of critiquing and trying to change our spouses. Taylor & I had just watched the lesson and got done hearing about how you don’t want to change your spouse, but instead you should focus on what things about yourself you can change and how those changes can affect your marriage.
The first question on the study guide asked us to write down the different ways in which we were raised differently and how those different ways impact our relationship.
We were both raised very differently, not to say that either way was better than the other, they were simply just different. We are both incredibly fortunate with our upbringings and how we were raised, but when you combine two people’s lives and their pasts it is hard and a total adjustment, which is probably why people often say that the first year of marriage is the hardest.
While discussing this question and trying to answer it, we found ourselves going back and fourth saying, because you do this, you are initiating the problem and causing the conflict, so you need to change. We were 100% blaming the other person and trying to change them and not us.
We became frustrated and annoyed with each other, which is what caused me to walk out of the room in tears.
After walking out, Taylor came and found me in our bed and I was in no mood to finish the lesson, but he kept reading the questions and the bible verses to me even when I wasn’t responding. He began to answer the questions on his own until I slowly started to respond. I finally came around and we finished the lesson together.
Taylor put me first in that moment. He took time to react, he came and found me and worked to bring us together again even when I felt so against it. He very easily could have forgotten the entire lesson and walked away from the situation, but he didn’t. And although it took some time, I am thankful that I came around, chose to put Taylor first and continued on with the lesson, because I could have just as easily refused to finish it and let my pride & stubbornness win again.
We put each other first and we chose to not let our emotions lead the way and while we probably could have reacted that way much sooner and avoided the first scenario, we're still learning . . . and that's okay.
I know that I would be writing a very different post today if we, especially Taylor, hadn't chosen to react the way we did and for that I am beyond thankful.
We keep our lesson posted on our fridge so that we have a constant reminder of what we are practicing, because it is seriously so easy to forget and fall back into your old habits.
Even if you forget, which you are bound to do time and time again, keep trying to be intentional and continue to work on yourself to be better, because the more we do it, the quicker and easier it is to make it a habit and the more natural it will become.
Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.
- Click here to purchase The Heart of Family Marriage Course -
- XO -
I have been so excited about today’s post! If this is your first time reading the blog, I’ll give you a quick little backstory – Taylor & I enrolled in this marriage course called, The Heart of the Family by Kirk Cameron. It’s an online course that once you purchase it, it can be completed at your own pace and at any time. You can read a little more about it here!
One of the first class assignments is to introduce yourself to your other classmates. One night about a week ago, I was scrolling through all the people in the course and a large majority of our classmates were saying that them & their spouse had been married for 10, 15, 20, 30 years. I remember reading their post's and looking at Taylor saying “ummm, maybe this class isn’t for us . . . we’re like the only people that have been married only one year. Are we just being ridiculous?” And bless his heart, because his response was so perfect. He said, “Em, who cares? Why does it matter?” And he is so right. We are so quick to compare ourselves to others, and why? We aren’t the same people; our marriage is not the same as any other marriage, so why would we compare what works for us, to what works for another couple.
I love that we're doing a marriage course and we're only one year into marriage.
I think it really all boils down this idea that if you only work on something when it needs work than it isn’t going to thrive. Like in a garden, if you are constantly out working on your garden, pulling weeds, watering the flowers and helping it to grow, well than at that time is when it will thrive. When you think about it, it really isn't any different in marriage. Work on your marriage often - don’t only do it when you need to.
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Whew! Okay, on to our first lesson. We really weren’t sure what to expect going into it, but at the end of the lesson, I think we both had really enjoyed it. #totalwin
I should also say real quick that the course comes with a study guide, where you answer questions and discuss various things from the video lesson.
This first lesson focused on a couple of different things, the first thing that they discussed was the purpose of marriage. What would you consider the purpose of your marriage? Taylor and I looked at each other after I read the question, and we both laughed a little bit and said, “To make each other happy.”
But here’s the thing - that is not the purpose of marriage, because marriage is so much bigger than that. The purpose of marriage is learning how to love unconditionally. It is to make us holy. To teach us to love as God loves us. Marriage brings two people together and binds them as one. It isn’t easy. I don't know that it was ever meant to be easy. When marriage gets hard, it is too easy to walk away and say forget it.
Chelsea shared a quick story about a woman who went to a counselor saying that she was done with her marriage; she didn’t love her husband anymore. It was over and done.
The counselor said, well tell me what you would do if you did love your husband. And she took a minute to respond and reflect on that question, and then said, well I would love him. I would do things for him, I would listen to him, I would talk to him, I would surprise him, I would cook and clean for him, etc.
And the counselor said, do that. Just do that.
We all know how difficult it is to love someone when it feels like they hate you, are against you, push you away and don’t appreciate you. But this is the purpose of marriage, to learn to love selflessly and humbly. To love your spouse even when they don’t deserve it. To love as God loves us.
Taylor & I entered this marriage and promised a lifetime to each other. This year already we have hurt each other and been angry with each other, blamed each other and so much more, but we're learning how to love each other and how to see each other in God's eyes. To be selfless and humble in our love for one other. And to find the good in every situation, not the bad.
It is not easy, y'all. No ma'am, not easy at all. But marriage wasn't meant to be easy. You have to be intentional and I really think that after you do it for so long, these actions become habits and it changes your life & marriage. We're only at the beginning of this process, but the end goal is so worth it and that makes the process all the more worthwhile.
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This leads me to one of the next questions, how can I do better at changing myself, instead of my spouse. This one really hit home with me, because we always try so hard to change the other person. How often can you think of yourself thinking, I only wish that he/she would do this or wear this or look like this . . . I know I do all too often. So the lesson here was to focus on changing yourself first. Take sometime to reflect on what things you could change about yourself and how those changes could affect your relationships. Then after that, take time and work to change them.
Let’s talk about Taylor’s clothes for a second. He dresses great. I personally think he looks real good in shorter shorts, Sperry Topsiders and nice button downs, but you guys, he hates it. All he wants to wear is a nice polo and some normal length shorts. But, I wanted him to dress a certain way and I learned that me picking out clothes for him was actually frustrating him and driving him away from me.
The fact is that when he puts on all of this stuff that I love, I think he looks so handsome, but at the same time it doesn’t look like him. So as his wife, I want to support him, let him wear what he wants and love him for him, not for what he is wearing one day.
Y’all, I could honestly go on and on and on about this first lesson, because it really was that good. There is so much more that we learned that I didn't share with you and hope to share in the future, but we both just left feeling so inspired and wanting love each other better. I feel like we both have a different mindset about marriage now. We know and understand that marriage goes far beyond simply just making each other happy. Of course making each other happy is key, but I really believe that once you shift your focus to the real purpose of marriage, the happiness part will come naturally.
- XO -
If you are here and are reading this, THANK YOU! I have been anticipating this day for so long, and I AM SO EXCITED. I have put so much love into this blog and I can only hope that it shows and that in time, my readers will come to love it as much as I do.
My hope is that I can fill this blog with a lot of love. Love for yourself. Love for your home. And love for your spouse.
If you know me personally than you know that for the past two years I have been working as a nanny. And let me first say that I loved it. I mean, I don't know how you can't love a job where you literally get to hang out with really, really cute kids all day, everyday. Honestly, most of the time it didn't feel like work.
But, as much fun as the job was, it took an unexpected "toll" on me.
I went from college, where I did my makeup and hair, picked out cute outfits day after day, just to do it all over again for that night out on the town to . . . nannying, where I went to the same place day after day, saw the same people every day and honestly hung out with messy kids all day. My mindset did a complete 360, because I began to think what is the point in trying to look nice, doing my makeup, hair and all that jazz only for the kids to accidentally splatter bright red spaghetti sauce on my cute white shirt?
So, for the last two years this has been my mindset and like I said, it took a toll on me. A toll that I didn't really expect, nor did I recognize for some time.
To be blatantly honest here, I feel like I lost this love for myself that I once had and that I believe everyone should really have. As Taylor and I prepare for this move to Texas (for those who don't know, we're moving to Texas! YAY!) I have a lot of changes that I plan to make - plans that will make me "me" again.
I have sort of broken this blog up into 3 sections: lifestyle, home and marriage. Three topics that I happen to really love.
It is my plan & goal to share our lifestyle with you and this could involve just about anything and everything. I happen to love clothes and fashion, make-up, travel, cooking (mostly baking, let's be honest), reading, exercising, holidays, shopping and so much more.
Plus I have some really amazing family members who have really good style, life changing hair tips, major photography skills, crazy art talent - oh and did I mention that they all have REALLY cute kids. So every once in a while, you might see some of their stuff on here.
I really want this blog to be about finding and creating a lifestyle that you LOVE. I'm excited to continue finding and creating my lifestyle, especially in our new home, and I hope that you follow me in this journey and that somewhere along the way you find and begin to live the lifestyle that you have dreamed of.
Thanks for reading!
I love y'all.
Stay tuned to check out my first "home" post coming this FRIDAY!
I'm Emilee. 26. Homebody. Believer in a simple + intentional life. Daughter of the King. Living in Austin with my hubs.
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