With all of our focus on how to make your wedding special, we thought it was time to highlight some ways to make your marriage awesome, too. Introducing “Snapshot of a Marriage,” a new series from contributor Emily Westbrooks, who interviews couples on some of their secrets for a strong and successful marriage. 

When Danielle and Greg got married, one of the first challenges they faced was in purchasing a home together. They quickly realized they wanted very different things – Danielle grew up in a town surrounded by neighbors and Greg was looking for the solitude he was used to in a rural area. Danielle explains, “When we were looking for our own house, Greg wanted something out in the sticks but the thought of living that far away from civilization scared me. I liked the security of having close neighbors.” In the end, they compromised by buying a house on a lot with lots of trees hiding the neighbors on either side.

Greg and Danielle have also found it valuable to carve out time not only as a couple, but also for themselves as individuals. Greg explains, “When you have time apart from your spouse, it gives you time to reflect and appreciate the time you do spend together.” Danielle agrees, adding, “One of the pieces of advice we were given as newlyweds was not to forget about our relationship and the things we like to do together once we have kids.” With that advice in mind, the couple makes a point to catch a few hockey games or summer concerts together each year. Danielle summed it up perfectly, “Happy parents make for happy kids.”

Photo by Lauren Bodwell.

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.
4 comments posted +add a comment SEE MORE: Snapshots

With all of our focus on how to make your wedding special, we thought it was time to highlight some ways to make your marriage awesome, too. Introducing “Snapshot of a Marriage,” a new series from contributor Emily Westbrooks, who interviews couples on some of their secrets for a strong and successful marriage. 


On their wedding day twenty-three years ago, Tina and David were given a black lab that they named Chowder. A puppy might not always be a welcome wedding present, but for Tina and David it certainly was. In the early years of their marriage (the second marriage for both of them), when they finished work for the day, the first thing Tina and David would do is take Chowder for a walk. Together. No preparing dinner, no dishes, no television. All of that could wait. Instead, they spent an hour connecting, chatting, catching up on the day. They credit that routine with helping them communicate in the first years of their marriage.

Sitting in their living room, Tina offered this piece of advice to those just starting out: “We have to remember we’re all just ordinary people,” she said. “It’s hard not to expect your spouse to be extraordinary, and when they aren’t, it can be disappointing. The truth is, we all just can’t be our best all the time. Being in a marriage means knowing that you still love the person even when they’re not their very best, and knowing that they love you when you’re not your very best.”

Photo by Lauren Bodwell.

15 comments posted +add a comment SEE MORE: Snapshots

With all of our focus on how to make your wedding special, we thought it was time to highlight some ways to make your marriage awesome, too. Introducing “Snapshot of a Marriage,” a new series from contributor Emily Westbrooks, who interviews couples on some of their secrets for a strong and successful marriage. 

Just a few months after Adam and Paulina met, Adam was deployed to Bosnia. When he returned, they married, moved from Florida to Maine, and Adam started law school. Five years later he was deployed again to Iraq for a year, where he was just missed by a suicide bomber. And where he did miss the birth of his first child.

“When Adam returned from Iraq, we decided to go to couples counseling because we were having a hard time communicating – it was the best decision we ever made,” Paulina told me.

Now after adding four more children to the family (making up the Fab Five, as they call their gang), Adam and Paulina still carve out time for each other. No kids, phones, television or other distractions. Whether it’s occasional short trips, date nights or simply a few minutes in the morning or evening to talk, it’s an important part of their relationship. “The kids have learned to respect that time as ours,” says Paulina, “because we have made each other a priority.”

And advice for newly-weds? Paulina shared, “Love is a choice. All the thoughtful, sweet, selfless things that you do and receive while dating and during the honeymoon stage are not a given. You both chose to be that way and you have to continue to choose to do those things.”

Photo by Lauren Bodwell.

19 comments posted +add a comment SEE MORE: Snapshots

With all of our focus on how to make your wedding special, we thought it was time to highlight some ways to make your marriage awesome, too. Introducing “Snapshot of a Marriage,” a new series from contributor Emily Westbrooks, who interviews couples on some of their secrets for a strong and successful marriage. 

When you’ve been married for more than 60 years, the beginning might feel like a very long time ago. Catharine and Joe now speak of their first few years together in words and memories softened by time, but they admit the early years were a little difficult. After spending three years fighting in World War II, Joe returned home and the two started their life together. Five children, eleven grandchildren, and countless ups and downs later, they narrowed down a few strategies that helped keep them on track for more than sixty years.

Joe smiles seriously, “We were always a united front. No matter what was going on between us, we were a united front.”

“My strategy when we were having an argument was to take a step back, wait a day or so. You really have to just wait for the other person to give in,” says Catharine. “Well, you don’t admit that part,” she laughs. She adds that one of the keys to their long marriage was, of course, to keep a good sense of humor.

Photos by Lauren Bodwell.

30 comments posted +add a comment SEE MORE: Snapshots