Max and Sherri’s story marks a first for our Snapshots of a Marriage series here on Snippet & Ink… we’ve met couples who were separated by war or who even met in grade school, but Max and Sherri are the first to have met and fallen in love online before ever meeting in person!

Max and Sherri met when Max’s band was looking for a female musician to sing on a few tracks. He was already a fan of her music, so he used the opportunity to introduce himself by email. Lots of chatting and emailing ensued over four months before the couple met in person. They even sent each other songs they had written about each other before meeting! “Sherri and I literally started writing songs together for the singular purpose of wooing each other, and once we got the wooing done, it was to continue to expand upon our love for one another.”

Once they did meet, Max says, “It was amazing and I moved pretty much immediately to be near her. It was kind of a whirlwind thing but we really did give it time to grow. We didn’t want to rush things.” But before they knew it, they were married and starting their life together.

Since their wedding five years ago, Max and Sherri have used what they learned emailing back and forth in the early months of their relationship to their advantage. Sherri explains they always try to “be honest and over-communicate.” Max agrees this is a key to their marriage. He says there’s nothing that he’s ever felt he couldn’t communicate to Sherri, which helps the two keep from having lingering issues that eventually boil over.

From the beginning of their marriage, Max has made sure to fight against the stereotype he saw as a child. “I never really got advice from my parents about getting married. I think they just wanted me to make my own way. I do remember the social stereotypes about being married and about how much it saps your love for each other. I never believed in that. I just thought, it can’t be that way. I’m a hopeless romantic; I kind of decided to go the other way.” He adds, “We’ve never been more in love than we are today.” Clearly something’s working!

The couple’s advice to those planning their weddings today is exactly what you might think would come out of the mouth of such a creative person: “Try to understand that marriage is an extension of the passion that you have for each other. It’s not an archaic legal ceremony, it’s just basically a really intense form of commitment on a soul level. I think it’s like the most romantic thing in the world.” A wonderful, poetic reminder of how romantic marriage is, five years in.

(PS – Max and Sherri have recently released an album called Two of a Crime, so you can hear a few of the love songs that brought them together!)

Snapshot of a Marriage” is a series from contributor Emily Westbrooks, who interviews couples on some of their secrets for a strong and successful marriage. With all of our focus on how to make your wedding special, we thought it was important to highlight some ways to make your marriage awesome, too! Click here to see previous Snapshots.

SNAPSHOT SUBMISSIONS  Do you know a married couple whose relationship you admire? Or maybe you’re married and want to share your words of wisdom! We’re now accepting submissions from couples who have been married for ten years or longer. Email Emily at emily@fromchinavillage.com with your first names, how long you’ve been married, and a few sentences about why you’d like to be interviewed for our Snapshot of a Marriage series.
8 comments posted +add a comment SEE MORE: Snapshots

The story of Bob and Liz’s courtship plays like a movie montage. You can just picture it overlaid with a romantic, lyrical song. They meet, become friends within a big group of people just out of college, and one by one, everyone else fades away until they are the only two left. Liz explains it matter-of-factly: “We could never quite shake the other person.”

Liz and Bob met when they were both working for a non-profit helping children living in poverty; Liz was a senior in college and Bob was a Vista volunteer in legal services. The two became friends and would hang out in big groups of people. When Liz graduated, the two ended up living around the corner from one another and found themselves spending more and more time together. They dated other people, but those relationships never stuck.

Eventually, their friendship evolved into a relationship, although neither of the two can remember an actual first date! And their relationship eventually evolved into a marriage – as Bob says, “It became obvious this was someone I could spend the rest of my life with.” Meanwhile, Liz was slightly more dubious. “Up until the day before we were married, I didn’t think I could do it,” Liz said, explaining that she was nervous about losing her aspirations of being a strong, independent, adventurous woman. She realized, though, that “Bob was a perfect boyfriend because he encouraged me to do those things. It was never a question that we loved each other.”

And so they tied the knot, and thirty years later are still at it. They were married in a low-key ceremony in a local church (a fiddler played jigs and reels for their walk back down the aisle!), followed by a reception in Liz’s parents’ backyard.

Liz says they weren’t given advice prior to their marriage, but rather learned by example. “The lessons we learned about marriage we learned in the households we grew up in.” Liz’s parents have been married 68 years, and Bob’s mother has been a widow longer than she was married. “She just never wanted to marry anyone else. She loved her husband.”

With their own kids, they tend to show by example rather than prescribing marriage advice, but they do have a little advice to share with newlyweds. Liz suggests, “Be very communicative and honest about where you’re coming from at all times.” To which Bob adds, “[It] means you don’t always hear the stuff you want to hear.” Hard conversations aside, Bob says he’s found marriage overall to be an easy task. “I’ve never felt like marriage was hard work.” And long may it be so!

Snapshot of a Marriage” is a series from contributor Emily Westbrooks, who interviews couples on some of their secrets for a strong and successful marriage. With all of our focus on how to make your wedding special, we thought it was important to highlight some ways to make your marriage awesome, too! Click here to see previous Snapshots.

SNAPSHOT SUBMISSIONS  Do you know a married couple whose relationship you admire? Or maybe you’re married and want to share your words of wisdom! We’re now accepting submissions from couples who have been married for ten years or longer. Email Emily at emily@fromchinavillage.com with your first names, how long you’ve been married, and a few sentences about why you’d like to be interviewed for our Snapshot of a Marriage series.
2 comments posted +add a comment SEE MORE: Snapshots

Lynn and Martin have a wonderfully romantic story of the night they met, on a dark, rainy night in the countryside of Ireland. Lynn had just moved to Ireland from Canada, and Martin was a musician with a wink for her in the corner of a cozy little pub.

Lynn tells the story of that first night they met, shortly after she moved to Ireland: “I decided to explore the country a bit, and someone in [the tourism board] told me to go to Doolin, which I’d never heard of. So off I went to Doolin, a tiny village on the west coast of Clare that is renowned for Irish music. After several days of being buffeted by wind and rain, all on my own, I decided to head to the pub farthest from my B&B since there was a chance some tourists I had met would be there. I was dying to talk to somebody! I headed out into the blustery night and passed a cozy looking pub which almost tempted me to stop, but I was intent on finding someone to chat with.

“On I went, into the driving rain, until I paused. Madness! I decided to turn and just go back to the first pub. After about 10 steps in the other direction, I thought, This is not so bad – I may as well go on to farthest pub. So back I turned. After about 10 more steps the realization dawned that I would be coming back in this weather – or worse – at about midnight – so again, I turned. I’m not sure how many times I went one way, then the other. Eventually I decided sensibly on the first pub and was soon ensconced with pint in hand. At that moment I saw an interesting looking man enter. He passed me, saying howya, then headed to the musicians corner. I moved to where I could see the musicians yet was somehow still shocked when he looked over and gave me a wink and a huge smile.”

Doesn’t that sound like a scene from a movie?! The two were married 16 years later and have settled in Dublin, where they live with their two kids. Both Lynn and Martin both work partly from home, and have learned what works in their home so they can: “If we didn’t fully support each other, neither would get anything done! Sometimes we’re both working at home, sometimes one of us is away; both situations inevitably need one of us to be there for the other, especially where the kids/household is involved. I was able to write a novel because Martin took care of our daughter during the mornings for several years; I take on everything whenever he’s away on tour. My part time job is easier because he does the school runs when I’m in work. And because we’re both often trying to create in the same physical space, we try to give each other the room to do that.”

Lynn says they have always tried to figure out ways to work as a team, both in parenting and in major house renovations. “Often the best times we have together are when we’re stuck in doing some project, or cycling together. After Martin bought the house, we put in a maple floor that was salvaged from a postal sorting office in Dublin. It was a huge project as the wood needed to be sorted, cleaned, everything, and we were doing the entire ground floor, in our free time. We established a system where each was doing what we were best at, and eventually got the floor done! Except I was in Canada when Martin actually finished it. When I came back, he showed me how he had left some nails exposed near the wall, so we could hammer the last ones in together. I thought it was an incredibly romantic gesture.”

As for advice, Lynn suggests married couples make sure they spend quality time together. “Really make the effort to have time together – even better if it’s something fun! – but a quiet cup of tea in the evening does wonders as well.”

Martin sums up his feelings for Lynn and their marriage very sweetly, “Lynn is not just my wife or the other half of the management team that runs our family, she is my best friend and the person I want to hang out with more than anyone else in the world.”

Snapshot of a Marriage” is a series from contributor Emily Westbrooks, who interviews couples on some of their secrets for a strong and successful marriage. With all of our focus on how to make your wedding special, we thought it was important to highlight some ways to make your marriage awesome, too! Click here to see previous Snapshots.

SNAPSHOT SUBMISSIONS  Do you know a married couple whose relationship you admire? Or maybe you’re married and want to share your words of wisdom! We’re now accepting submissions from couples who have been married for ten years or longer. Email Emily at emily@fromchinavillage.com with your first names, how long you’ve been married, and a few sentences about why you’d like to be interviewed for our Snapshot of a Marriage series.
2 comments posted +add a comment SEE MORE: Snapshots

George and Anna can’t seem to agree whether they dated eighteen days or a full month before getting engaged. Anna maintains it was the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas of their senior year of college, and George claims it was shorter. But either way, it was short! Anna says, “It’s nothing short of amazing to me that we’ve been married for 37 years.”

George remembers the first time he met Anna: “We ended up taking a spring microeconomics class together, though it was very large and we never really spoke. I’d noticed her, she always seemed alive and vibrant and smiling, at least until the econ started. At the final, which was several hours, she arrived wearing shorts, softball cleats, and carrying a bat. She finished the exam an hour earlier than everyone and ran out the door…I was impressed, and thought, Wow, I have to meet her.” They met the following fall and became friends. They started dating around Thanksgiving, and were engaged by Christmas!

After their whirlwind courtship, Anna and George set out on a honeymoon world tour. “After George and I were engaged, and started planning the wedding and honeymoon, George realized that family leave was part of his father’s contract in Saudi Arabia which meant that we could take his allotted ticket and trade it in for two coach round-the-world tickets (life was simpler back in 1976 as far as air travel was concerned). Since our wedding was planned for April in Chicago with our jobs not starting until July in New York, we booked a trip with stops in the Caribbean, Europe, Saudi Arabia, with stops in the Far East, Hawaii and San Francisco before returning to Chicago with enough time to prepare for our move to New York.

“What we discovered after 3 months of traveling together, is that if you can live in close and sometimes really strange quarters, moving from place to place as nomads, sometimes staying in a hostel or hotel, and other times with relatives or friends, in different cultures and timezones, then you have a pretty good proxy for married life. Nothing like 8 hour flights and 5 hour delays, missed connections, trying to communicate in a foreign language, time zone changes, and navigating in uncharted territory to prepare you for married life. I’d like to think that we learned that each day is an adventure, and it’s what you make of the stops along the way that matter.”

After their epic honeymoon, Anna and George moved to New York to start their first post-college jobs. Anna says, “In retrospect, we took on a lot of change within a short period of time: relocation to a new city, married life, full-time employment, and building a new base of friends without immediate family nearby. It was a little bit of a trial by fire.”

But they took the changes in stride, and have come up with systems that draw on their strengths. For example, Anna explains, “Both George and I love cars, and it’s when we have to negotiate the purchase of a car that we outwardly work best as a team. We have often switched roles in the midst of a negotiation, with one of us as the interested buyer and the other the one who needs convincing, or in some cases, we take turns playing good cop/bad cop. In many ways, our approaches might be different but we have similar goals, and that provides a working framework for most everything we do, especially in our role as parents. The truth is that most things in life are enriched if you can share them with someone else – the heavy lifting and the celebrations are enhanced when they are experienced as a team.”

After thirty-seven years of marriage, George advises newlyweds to keep the bigger picture in mind, “All I can offer is to say have faith and stay focused on what matters. It’s not always perfect but what’s being built, or has been built, is worth everything.”

Snapshot of a Marriage” is a series from contributor Emily Westbrooks, who interviews couples on some of their secrets for a strong and successful marriage. With all of our focus on how to make your wedding special, we thought it was important to highlight some ways to make your marriage awesome, too! Click here to see previous Snapshots.

SNAPSHOT SUBMISSIONS  Do you know a married couple whose relationship you admire? Or maybe you’re married and want to share your words of wisdom! We’re now accepting submissions from couples who have been married for ten years or longer. Email Emily at emily@fromchinavillage.com with your first names, how long you’ve been married, and a few sentences about why you’d like to be interviewed for our Snapshot of a Marriage series.
0 comments posted +add a comment SEE MORE: Snapshots

Julie and Michael met when Julie joined the law firm where Michael was a paralegal. They became “easy friends long before we realized we loved each other,” according to Julie. But, Michael says, “within a year or so we decided that we wanted to be married and started the process of planning a marriage ceremony. Since we had both done traditional weddings in our first marriages we decided that we wanted a ceremony that was completely about us. We chose to have a small ceremony at a local state park overlooking the ocean. We were married by a close friend and her partner. A week or so after the ceremony we had a small party with family to celebrate our marriage and honor our four children.”

Fast forward fifteen years, having raised their children and started their own businesses, and Julie and Michael have recently become empty nesters. Julie explains that the new phase in their relationship was difficult at first: “Our lives suddenly stopped revolving around sporting events, dance recitals, sleepover parties and school plays, and we found it difficult to relate to one another in a now quiet house. It took some time for us to figure out who we are as a couple as we entered this new phase of life. It can be daunting and scary to communicate your fears and unhappiness to your spouse, but the more we came clean about these things, the better and stronger our relationship became. What we found was that our relationship could weather the storms and that we could accommodate each others’ needs and wants, once we knew what those were. It was the silence and the not-knowing that was the true threat to our marriage.”

Because Julie and Michael’s marriage started with kids already in play, their first time as just the two of them came much later, and they have embraced it. “Our ‘new life’ now includes lots of firsts that we didn’t have the time, energy or money for when our children were younger. Michael is joining me in practicing yoga and running. We’ve taken stand-up paddle boarding lessons, traveled to Ireland together, hiked numerous mountains in our area, danced at lots of local concerts and music events and enjoy cooking new dishes for each other in the evening. This is a new and different level of relating with each other, one based more on fun, adventure and trying new things. We’d almost lost touch, in the day-to-day raising of our family and meeting the various demands from the outside world, with that sense of joy in being together and doing something exciting and fresh.”

One of the keys to their marriage? Laughter! Says Julie, “We laugh every single day, loud and together, over lots of things. A shared sense of humor has carried us through so much. The sound of my husband belly laughing until tears are rolling down his cheeks is the best sound in the world to me and never, ever fails to cause me to join in, no matter if I know the cause of his laughter or not. His laughter is my medicine.”

“The only surprise I can think of about marriage is to learn that after fifteen years, two people and a marriage can continue to evolve, grow and mature, all for the better,” says Michael. “By remaining open to each other’s feelings, emotions, desires, and with communication, a partnership and marriage can become something that you never in your wildest dreams imagined it could be. You watch your friend grow and blossom into a mature, wonderful, courageous person and your heart expands and grows beyond belief.”

Snapshot of a Marriage” is a series from contributor Emily Westbrooks, who interviews couples on some of their secrets for a strong and successful marriage. With all of our focus on how to make your wedding special, we thought it was important to highlight some ways to make your marriage awesome, too! Click here to see previous Snapshots.

SNAPSHOT SUBMISSIONS  Do you know a married couple whose relationship you admire? Or maybe you’re married and want to share your words of wisdom! We’re now accepting submissions from couples who have been married for ten years or longer. Email Emily at emily@fromchinavillage.com with your first names, how long you’ve been married, and a few sentences about why you’d like to be interviewed for our Snapshot of a Marriage series.
2 comments posted +add a comment SEE MORE: Snapshots