cookieOptions = {...}; Kent Heartstrings: 5 Ways We Bring Life To Our Marriage

5 Ways We Bring Life To Our Marriage

Tuesday, September 30, 2014



I am very nervous and excited to share my heart with you today! Super stoked about being invited by Nancy, from Do Small Small Things With Love to be a part of this series. Please check out the other posts, they are encouraging, inspiring and thought provoking!

Before we dive in you need to know one very important thing: Mike and I are not perfect. Very far from it. I hope you read this post with the eyes of a friend, listening to me share the ponderings of my heart in hopes that it may touch yours...and if it doesn't that is perfectly fine. Just know our life is messy, but these are 5 things that work for us and bring us closer together, and make us fall deeper in love with each other and with God.


1. Prayer- it takes 3 to get married...and stay married.

It was a week into Mike and I's dating relationship that he suggested we start praying together every night (wow, I was super impressed!). It was a formal prayer, the Angel of God prayer, which we both knew and had memorized. It was short, sweet, and brought us together everyday with the Lord. It did not matter where we were, what time zone we were in or what company we were keeping, every night we called each other to pray.  We never skipped, ever. We got into a serious routine about it and I am glad, because now being married 6 years, I think this foundation of prayer we have built into our relationship is the saving grace of our marriage and the driving force that keeps us glued together.  If I were to give any advice to any couple it would be to find a time in the day for prayer, be consistent and do it everyday.

Logistically, now that we are married, it's easier to pray before we got to bed. But at the same time now that we are married and have kids life is so much more busy, hectic, and full so there are times in our weekly schedule where Mike and I's only time to connect, see each other, and take it all in is our prayer time! It is just what I need to keep on going.

 It has developed through the years as the needs of our hearts, relationship and family has changed.  We have added several other prayers we love, spontaneous led prayer spoken from the heart, and a litany of people in heaven to pray for us. Whatever prayer looks like to you, do it with the one person in the world you love most and do it everyday!

We are not perfect, sometimes life gets busy and we slip up, forget, or one of us is dog tired and falls asleep before we have a chance to pray. Our overall intentions are there though and that is good.




2. Communication- The art of "checking-in"

It is probably no surprise to anyone married or even dating that a relationship takes a lot of work and a lot of that work lies in communication with each other.  There is a lot to talk about how we talk, but I am going to hone in on one tip that has helped Mike and I....the art of "checking-in".  I am a planner, there is a lot of coordinating that has to happen, especially with kids, to sync up in order to pull off a happy day.  So, Mike, "checking-in" on me throughout the day is really helpful to me and thoughtful.  Texts on how my day is going, how the kids are doing, and if there is anything he needs to grab on the way home....are the texts that get me through some days.

This "art" is especially helpful when either of us is trying to make plans. Whether individual activities or family ones we always say, "ok, let me check with my wife/husband" before making a commitment. We "check in", discuss and go forward with our decision. It is important to me and Mike that we are a "team". This is our mantra, so we always make decisions together, and that can only happen if we are constantly checking-in, letting the other person in and allowing there to be a space for discussion.

We are not perfect, because this was more "my thing" something I like, am used to and so on. Mike had a hard time developing this habit, but understood its importance and value and worked crazy hard at this. Now 6 years of this and I can say I think he is better at it now then I am, its embarrassing. I do not know how things that were habits of mine have slipped through the cracks, but hey, they did. 




3. Being Silly- Do not take life so seriously

Mike and I are just straight up goof balls.  When we were first married we would talk in a weird accent, a cross between British/Russian, it was weird, but we loved it.  Full on normal conversations were expressed in the accent on the regular. It wasn't until we had Gigi we realized maybe we should back off the accent so that our child doesn't start speaking like a crazy person where people might start to doubt she is from this country. So we have slacked off that habit, but we do not slack off being silly, especially with our children. Life is messy and sadly taken way to seriously sometimes. Its moy importante to lighten things up, laugh, make someone else laugh, not take yourself too seriously and speak in strange, made up accents. I find the best response (sometimes) in a tense situation with Mike is to make a joke, make myself look silly, and not take myself or whatever I care about so darn serious. 

We are not perfect, because this is definitely more Mike's strong suit, and I don't mean, he is sillier then me...I think on a ranking scale I would definitely be higher on the silly scale then Mike, or maybe that is just because I make a fool of myself more often, not sure. Mike has a better tact to using humor and silliness in tense or stressful situations that lighten the mood and make me laugh, and I am oh so grateful. I am more of a work in progress, many, many times my attempt at the humor thing did not go over well, and sometimes has resulted in argument over an argument, sey la vie. So my radar of appropriate humor at the appropriate time is still not sharp, but again, a work in progress




4. Thoughtfulness- Going to bed at the same time

Being thoughtful takes on many different shapes and forms.  One way our thoughtfulness brings life to our marriage is going to bed at the same time....ok hehehehe, get your giggle out of the way.  I mean sleep, people, sheesh ;). When one of us is tired, we both go to bed- together.  I do not know what it is, but it's like a necessary connection that happens when we share this experience. We both are brushing our teeth, we both are changing into our Pjs, we both go through the litany of things that need to be done before going to bed (I have a little more then Mike, big surprise there, right ladies?!), we both hop into bed, we both say our prayers as mentioned above in #1 and we both chat about whatever is on our minds before shutting our eyes.

Now this falls under thoughtfulness because we both love going to bed at the same time, but it can be hard sometimes if one of us is either into a show we are watching, or need to get something done, or just is not tired at all. So it can be a sign of selflessness and sacrifice to choose the spouse over your own wants.  An act of love. You are being chosen over whatever else could be done. It's a good feeling.

We are not perfect, because we do this about 85% of the time because our schedules sync up pretty nicely. But there has been many a time where I need to get shizzle done at night, because the demands of the kids, especially since starting to homeschool Gigi, during the day is just too great (and important!). Mike understands and is supportive, and when he needs to stay up to watch a late football game and decompress I am too. This could easily be an opportunity where bitterness and resentment could fester and well, can't say it has not, but we all just do our best. 

(Photo Credit: Katie Beverley Photography


5. NFP- Being open to life is life-giving.

It is important to Mike and I that we live out all aspects of our faith, in truth and love. One of those aspects is choosing to be open to life (a.k.a. not using birth control or any other way of stopping life from forming). We use a method called Natural Family Planning (NFP). It gives you the tools needed to follow a woman's natural cycle of fertility, so as a couple you can choose to start your family, grow your family or if needed wait to have children.  It is such a gift, and by that I mean it is really hard. 

You have to really become good and honest communicators as a couple, hashing out expectations, needs, wants, desires on an intimate level almost on a regular if not daily basis. For us, the biggest thing is that we are free.

Free to let God lead, free to still exercise our free will, just free. This freedom has lead to a deeper relationship with God, with each other and with our children (there are no oops babies, they are always welcome!). It is a radical mentality shift of approaching your marriage, intimacy and family. To always be open to accepting life ultimately makes our marriage more life-giving...in more then just the literal sense.

We are not perfect because damn it- its hard. It is not as convenient as popping a pill. We have to be honest. We have to communicate all the time (please note extreme emphasis). But the benefits we have gained greatly outweigh the negatives. I would  even venture to say this practice has been one of the most life-giving things in our marriage.

Oh and if you choose to be a NFP instructor and NFP chart for Halloween, be prepared to give a lot of lessons on how to chart, and not be embarrassed your husband is wearing your fertility....its not my exact chart I swear ;)



And if you happen to not remember a single thing - here are the necessities:

Marriage is hard. We need God. PRAY. Hold hands as much as possible.



(Photo Credit for wedding photos: TIM WILL Photography  aka best wedding photographer EVER!)







28 comments:

  1. That Halloween costume is hilarious! That would be something I'd love to do but my introverted husband would so not be up for it. ;-)

    Great advice! I love that you said, "it takes 3 to get married...and stay married." It truly does. I love all of your advice, but that is my favorite.

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    1. Thanks so much Teresa! The costume was pretty fun, I still cant believe we did that bahahaha. 3 to get married. Amen!

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  2. This is great Cassie! All great advice, but I especially love the going to bed at the same time. I don't think Jason and I ever discussed it, it just organically happened that way bc we had the same work hours. But now that we have kids, it's definitely our time to reconnect, pray and talk about all that's swirling through our minds. Then we (more Jason than me bc I zonk out right away) read and bedtime. It's so peaceful to end our day that way together :)

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    1. Thanks so much Kellie! Going to bed at the same time, so easy, but so important! I am glad you and Jason practice it too! Totally agree ends the day on a together/peaceful note!

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  3. Love this, Cassie! #4 is my favorite, but damned if it doesn't make #5 a little harder, amiright?!?! Sorry, total TMI.

    Really, really love this, thanks for sharing!

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    1. hahaha I know right?!!! I here you, I get you girl. Thanks Ana!

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  4. Wow so much great advice in one post!!! I really love how you said that going to bed at the same time is a part of thoughtfulness...I'd never thought of it like that and now I'm even more happy that my husband and I make it a point to do this every night. Thank you so much sharing this, Cassie! :)

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    1. Thanks Elizabeth! Going to bed together... it just feels right....I am glad you are doing this already! Isn't it great?!

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  5. Great advice. I love the one about going to sleep at the same time. That has been something really big for us too and helps us stay that much more connected. The NFP chart/instructor costume is too funny! Love it!

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    1. Thanks Laura! The costume was a big hit, slightly embarrassing, but fun ;)

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  6. Such good advice and so true!
    And I LOVE the Halloween costume!! :(

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  7. love this. I'm not married but just last week I stood alongside one of my best friends as she married the love of her life, and they tied together 3 cords to represent the first thing you pointed out - that there are three people in their marriage, God included. it was beautiful. I cried. reading what you wrote kinda got me teary just thinking about those two lovebirds. oh and you guys are super cute I can't even stand it <3

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  8. I really love the part on thoughtfulness.

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  9. Thank you for this!!! My hubby and I are good at checking in with each other and it is so wonderful to know he's thinking about me in the midst of his crazy work day! Sadly we are not good at praying together or going to bed together. I want to work on the first but the second... well he's a night owl and I'm not so while I would love it i'm not sure i see it happening! ha. I love your photos, simply beautiful!

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    1. Thanks Laura! Every couple has their own beat, you know?! I am glad you and your hubs have found something that works for you!

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  10. I am in awe for their ability to think on their feet, comfort a bride crying about the rain, and deliver an evening where every guest said it was the most flawless wedding they've ever attended.

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  11. This was a wonderful post! :) My husband and I go to bed at the same time each day also, and I never thought about being a good thing. It was just something we've always done. But now that you say it, it is thoughtful! You made some great points - prayer, being silly, and checking in with each other is so very important!

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  12. This is a beautiful posts. 5 simple ways to strengthening and supporting your marriage, I love it!

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  13. Hey Cassie! I know it's been a long time since I've commented but I do read everything you write and I love your blog so much :) I just wanted to take the time to thank you for this post. I'm getting married in 5 months now and this is so appropriately timed for me - we've been having big conversations and these are so helpful to keep in mind. Thank you for the wisdom and advice that we can keep in our hearts BEFORE we get married - how perfect. Thank you sweet friend! I am grateful for you!!
    -Anna May :)

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  14. I cannot handle the sickness of that Halloween costume!! Haha!! Only Piles...

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  15. OH my goodness, that Halloween costume!!!! Love this post. It was reassuring to me that we're on the right track!

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  16. Oh my gosh!! I just about died laughing at that Halloween costume and I can't wait to show my husband (though he probably won't find it as funny as I did haha). My husband and I just started on our journey of NFP in March of this year and though it's been challenging, it's encouraging reading how it's brought you guys closer together. Great post!

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  17. Ok. I'm not sure if my comment posted or not. :/ Sorry for double posting, but I just love this post. Everything about it. From the nightly prayer to the NFP chart costume (thannnnkk you! so uhmazing!). sharing on FB now. I know my friends will love this and be blessed by it! Thank you for sharing beautiful you and your beautiful marriage! :)

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  18. Choosing to go to bed at the same time is definitely important for us--not always the natural reaction, but always worth it!!

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  19. Ah, I love this! Thoughtfulness and being silly are two of my favorites. :) Love all of these photos of y'all!

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  20. Every event needs an unforgettable venue! VenueCenter has many beautiful venus in Dallas, Austin and Houston! http://venuecenter.com

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