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.
Despite Megan’s successful battle with breast cancer a few years ago, the story of her marriage to Mike isn’t about dramatic ups and downs. Rather, it’s about appreciating the quiet moments in between.
Megan tells me, “When it came to advice, sadly I really don’t think we got any. We each came from split families, so when we began dating we came up with our own specific guides. We talked about what we saw work and what did not, and talked openly and made a pact about each topic.”
And after more than a decade of marriage, they have some bits of wisdom to pass on. “I married my absolute best friend and we’re very compatible, but I still found that we have seasons in our marriage just like there are in nature,” says Megan. “I didn’t expect this and wish someone had told me. Sometimes it’s boring and bleak and other times it’s abundant and warm. What I’ve learned is to recognize that it’s just a phase and the low part will pass. It’s normal to have highs and lows in all areas of life.”
The couple has used this mindset to get through both the big things, like battling breast cancer, and the smaller things, like a spilled drink in the car… Early in their marriage, Megan and Mike set out on a long drive to get a puppy. Not far into the drive, Megan dropped the drink she was sipping into her lap, covering her shorts, legs and seat with juice. Megan recounted, “I froze. Mike looked over at me, his face nervously awaiting my reaction. I looked at the mess, looked at him and busted out laughing hysterically. He took a breath and smiled with relief. I’ve always remembered that day and over the years have reminded myself to consider all of my options before reacting. I could have thrown a fit, yelled and demanded we turn back for home and the day would have been a bust. Instead we found a gas station bathroom, I rinsed my shorts in the sink, and we were on our way. And we got our puppy.”
Mike’s advice for new couples is calm and matter-of-fact, and deceptively simple. He explains, “I really don’t have a plan or any tactics to marriage other than pick the person that makes you a better person and pick the person that you always choose first to spend time with, because in the end all that time together will result in a great, long and happy marriage. When I think of something fun to do or a great place to visit Megan is always the first, and many times the only person, on the list that I want to share the adventure with.”
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