A couple of months ago, James and I did a Q&A where we opened up and answered some of YOUR questions about our relationship! You can recap that post here. But today, we are taking it a bit further and getting deeper into how our relationship is structured. From how we deal with conflicts, to how we fit travel into our busy schedules, we are getting into the nitty gritty details!
I hope you enjoy this glimpse into our undeserved love, and that it provides encouragement to all of you out there! We are grateful for this community where we get to share, encourage, and be inspired! Here’s to finding vulnerability as strength, in all that we do. And above all, here’s to our almighty and precious Heavenly Father without whom, our love would be nothing.
What is one thing you would go back and tell yourself when you were single, in preparation for your life ahead?
B: I recently wrote a blog post on singleness and shared some points I would go back and share with my single self. Although I don’t believe I would ever go back and do things differently, I have learned a lot of sweet principles through marriage that I wanted to encourage single women with. You can read more on that here. But one thing I will say is: pursue holiness. Pursue it daily and let the precious word of our great God be the very driving force of your life. This, my friends, is the only thing that will prepare you for what lies ahead.
J: I don’t know that there is anything I would go back and tell myself, only because I truly believe that every choice I made has led me to where I am now. I guess if I had to go back in time knowing where I am now, I would tell myself to learn to be more sacrificial. And get ready for an exciting adventure ahead filled with traveling, getting a puppy, and lots of back rubs (although there are never enough of those).
How does conflict resolution look in your relationship?
B: James and I rarely fight. And I feel that the reason for this is because we work on vulnerability and communication constantly. It’s the one thing I always find myself bringing up on a daily basis. We will ask each other questions like “Is there anything going on you want to talk about?” or sometimes even harder questions like “Is there anything I can personally be working on?” This opens up for healthy conversation time about things that maybe we have gained a habit of that hurt the other person. If you point these things out in the heat of an argument, they usually aren’t reciprocated well. We are far from perfect, so we fail at this a lot. But if we do get into a disagreement or conflict over something, we always come back to each other within minutes. We never let the silence between us go any longer than that, because we don’t want it to harbor bitterness. Communication is key. I know you have probably heard that a thousand times, but it really is. I personally believe that is better to over-communicate your feelings in a marriage, rather than to shy away from things that need to be addressed. Above all, we bring conflict to prayer, because conflict is never resolved by our own accord. And through prayer, both humility and tenderness is truly emphasized. This is important!
J: I agree with Brittney on this one. I just want to add that practically, it looks like sitting down, communicating without any distractions. It is important that we give each other time, without interrupting one another. It is also important that we are both open and honest when dealing with conflict.
What is the hardest obstacle you have had to overcome as a couple so far?
B: As humans living in a broken world, we endure tribulations every day. The magnitude of daily tribulations differ from day to day, but so long as we are living on this earth, we will always battle with sin. That being said, I believe the hardest obstacle we have had to overcome (and are still fighting daily) is the tendency to fall into complacency. Sometimes we get so caught up in our routine…in the mundane, check-list structured kind of day. And we have conversations about this constantly. It is so easy (even as a single person) to fall into a state of contentment, to become lazy and forsake gospel opportunities. So this is something we are still working on, praying that God would bring us to our knees daily and that we would never take this life for granted. We don’t deserve any of it, and we are striving to pursue a lifestyle that honors our Heavenly Father. It’s a struggle every day, given we are sinners. But it has been a beautiful and rewarding journey so far.
J: I feel like for us, we are in that right now. Not that we are struggling to overcome an obstacle per se, but rather that we are trying to work through what we want our future to look like. Where do we want to settle down? When do we want to start a family? How do we want our every day lives to look? What do we want to do as far as work goes for the rest of our lives? What are our priorities? Realizing that the answers to these questions will shape our future and family is a pretty big deal. So we are working through all of this right now. This has been a good challenge for us, that has brought us to communicate more and really focus on trusting God’s will for our lives.
What does a normal day-in-the-life look like for you guys?
B: We both work 8-5 jobs Monday-Friday so we are busy. On top of that, James is a full time student at an online university, I am an aspiring blogger, and we both volunteer in the student ministry at our local church a couple times a week. We also try and squeeze in as much family time as we can throughout the week, since both of our families live locally. All of this to say, it brings me back to our answers above on how we deal with complacency. With such busy lives, it’s easy to fall into this. But on the other hand, our lives really are filled with so much joy. I am thankful beyond words to get to do this life with James. I come home every day to an amazing man who loves and cares for me so well, so I am grateful. I don’t deserve a single moment of it, but my hope and prayer is that I would use our lives (work, travel, and everything in between) for God’s glory, and His glory alone.
J: Wake up with just enough time to get to work (because we love sleep a little too much), we try to meet up for lunch on days that we can, come home at the end of the day, make dinner & watch Netflix, spend time on individual projects/tasks, take care of the puppy, general housekeeping, watch more Netflix, take a nap, and then go to bed (after maybe playing a board game). LOL short and sweet, but pretty much sums up the majority of our week days.
Do you think it is important to share the same dreams in a relationship?
B: James & I don’t always share the same dreams. Sometimes I talk about picking up & moving to Europe spontaneously (yes, seriously) but James talks about settling somewhere with a slower pace. I honestly feel like this is the one thing we share the most differences on. That doesn’t affect the way we love and pursue one another daily, though. Rather, it teaches us how to be open-minded, how to come alongside one another and learn to appreciate something new. I once heard a woman speak about how she was an all time city girl who fell in love with a farmer. She really struggled with the thought of leaving the city to live a life in the countryside. It took a long time (years, she mentioned), but she ended up falling in love with farming. Why? Because she learned to appreciate that passion in her husband. This has resonated with me so much over the years. Because so much changes over time…our goals and pipe dreams shift. But above all, no matter where life takes us, we always choose each other. Love isn’t about always sharing the same mindset, it’s about learning to choose each other in the midst of our differences.
J: There are two different types of dreams. There are dreams for marriage and family, which I feel is important to share on some level. And then there are dreams for hobbies and career paths. Careers can influence family because that affects where you live and settle down, but I don’t believe you need to share the same dream of what you want to be doing with your personal time. I think it is important to be excited for and encourage one another in the pursuit of separate dreams, but no, they don’t need to be the same. This also requires you to learn how to sacrifice at times for your spouse, in the same way that would for you. In having your own dreams, just encourage one another, and learn to be there as a companion.
How do you find time to travel? How do you budget for trips?
B: I recently wrote a blog post on my top 5 tips & tricks for traveling on a budget. I’d encourage you to head over to that post (which you can find here) for a in-depth look at how we afford to travel while living on a budget. As far as finding time, we just agreed to make it a priority. When we first got married, I told James I wanted to be intentional about traveling. I didn’t want to give up our day jobs and head out as world travelers, but I wanted it to be something we actively pursued. So, we put it in our budget and planned ahead of time. Our first international trip took almost 2 years of saving and planning! But it was all worth the wait. And for us, travel doesn’t always mean international. Our first year of marriage was filled with weekend getaways, which fit perfectly into our schedules since we both don’t work weekends. My biggest tip for finding time to travel is to just make it a priority. Find how it fits into your schedule, and then save save save!
J: My wife tells me where we are going and when. Nothing more to add. HAHA
Are children on the horizon anytime soon?
B: Oh boy, we get asked this question very often. We did answer it in our last Q&A, so I almost didn’t throw it in here, but I thought why not. Not much has changed since our last answer, but I will say that we have been talking about it a lot more lately. We are in our 4th year of marriage now (wow, time flies) so it’s no secret that we are thinking of what’s next. I wouldn’t be surprised if our family starts growing in the next couple of years…but we will see what God has in store for us!
J: Well we just got a puppy, so no, not anytime soon. In all seriousness, we’ve been talking about that more and more as we work through what we want our future to look like. So yeah, maybe soon. It all depends on where God takes us. Stay tuned!
Thanks for reading friends! We are grateful for each and every one of YOU who have poured so much into our relationship. Here’s to growing in our marriages, and becoming farmers, however that looks for you!
xoxo, The Gages