Scott & Shelton Oakley Hersey

Marriage Vows for Blog (29)

To Have and to Hold

The quality that Scott has that makes him exclusively hers is his attentiveness. She describes him as having a unique blend of serious and silly.  “Scott is consistently attentive to me and to others, always looking for small ways to serve that most people might never notice.”When Shelton is in Scott’s arms, she feels beloved, home, and seen.

For Better or for Worse

One of the areas that Scott and Shelton feel they can do better in their marriage is through not reacting emotionally to the other’s state of being. “When one of us is sad, frustrated, tired, or insecure, the other can tend to mirror the same emotion. It has been something we honestly weren’t aware of at the start of our marriage and sometimes occasionally only saw it as a strength.” They’ve discovered that there are times in which this tendency is a good thing–when it promotes empathy and sensitivity. “Often times, however, this lack of emotional detachment has kept us from many healthy paths including seeking and speaking truth about who we are in Christ and the promises of God we can rely on.”

When asked about the worst year of their marriage Shelton and Scott respond with “Can we say the worst (or hardest) year and a half?”

As missionaries living in a South African township, The Hersey’s went through a period in which they had to balance full-time ministry, full work schedules, a growing social enterprise business, friends experiencing deep trauma, and their own mental lows. During this same period, they transitioned from South Africa to Boston, all the while facing consistent illness and infertility.

“There was so much to do, so much loss in the massive transitions and struggle with infertility and illness, and each of us had our own journeys of grief and healing to walk through. We had been married for three years at this point, we were exhausted and well past our breaking points and did not understand very well how deep our emotional lows were and how much we were trying to sustain ourselves on our own strength.”

Through consistent tears, moments of irritation and anger, little to no energy, and loneliness they came to understand long-suffering in marriage. They saw the beauty that can come from sticking by one another and trusting God’s promises. They had to mourn the end of one season while embracing the beginning of another. “We needed rest, perseverance, counseling, acceptance of one another, healthy detachment from each others’ emotional ups and downs and the type of healing that only comes over time cloaked in grace.”

For Richer or for Poorer

Shelton & Scott see their marriage as being rich in laughter, long-suffering, friendship, understanding, faith, intimacy, and growth. They enjoy learning from one another and growing personally and together.

When there is poor communication between these two they share, “Our tendency when we poorly communicate or don’t communicate is to make assumptions… Assumptions about what the other is thinking, doing and not thinking or doing that we feel they should be considering… and assumptions about each other’s motivations.”

Through Sickness and in Health

The Hersey’s are far too familiar with sickness. “This past year, we journeyed through the illness and passing of Scott’s father. Watching Scott’s dad struggle and pass from this life to the next was so painful, especially for Scott. Meanwhile, we continued to struggle with infertility and grieve through the process of unsuccessful fertility treatments. Again, the two of us were faced with another wilderness period of grief, each of us expressing it so different than the other. We longed for a lighter season of healing and regeneration. This time, we clung to God, sought joy and gratitude of each other, held a new perspective of the preciousness of life, and gave each other the acceptance, space, support, and grace we both needed to freely grieve and heal. We discovered amidst this wilderness season that regeneration was happening all along.

The way the Herseys maintain the health of their marriage is through communication. “We try to be aware of our own pain points when they’re triggered so we can speak God’s truth to ourselves and to each other. We create fun moments, romance, memories and conversations through which to connect in new and diverse ways. We rely on community and share openly about our marriage: the struggles, the different seasons, the help we have gratefully received, the love, fondness, respect and admiration we have for one another. We speak well of each other to others, conscious of building each other up and not tearing one another down.

To Love and to Cherish

Shelton’s perception of love has not changed much since before she married, but her understanding of what it means has deepened. “One perspective that has changed is what love in action means. I have had to learn a LOT about what this means for Scott and also for myself. Love for us means:

  • Prioritizing time together. 
  • Extending an extra measure grace to each other. 
  • Acknowledging what Scott says he needs.
  • Supporting each other in every season. 
  • Celebrating small and big “piles of stones” (or markers of God’s faithfulness.) 
  • Laying down our individual life visions for a God’s vision for “us.”
  • Embracing a unified vision that is about our journey toward wholeness. 

Scott cherishes his wife through encouraging her. Through his words, small notes, texts, emails and choosing to be present. He supports her in various areas of work and community commitments. He contributes to her gifts and passion. “My favorite is when he out of the blue says to me, “I’m so proud of you, Shelt,” or sends me a text that says, “I love you, and I see you.””

Til Death Do Us Part

When asked how the thought of death makes Shelton appreciate her husband she responds, “It is strange. Even though I only met Scott at age 25, I now cannot imagine living this life journey without him. In fact, looking back, it feels as if he was a small part of me all along. Perhaps this is because God has intricately used Scott to shape me more into my whole and true self. I always tell people that in being married to Scott, I have grown into the person that God created at my very inception; through him, my brokenness has given way to a more centered soul rooted in Christ.”

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Something Old Something New

Scott’s old school advice can be found in John 15:13, he quotes,

“Greater love has no one than this: to lay one’s life down for another.”

He goes on to share, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.” – Philippians 2:3-4

  • Seek the interest of your wife before your own interest
  • If your wife wants to connect with you in a way that doesn’t interest you, lay down your interest and choose to connect.
  • Enter into conversations and conflict that you don’t think is a big deal or worth a conversation but it’s important to your spouse to engage and grow.
  • Listen to understand.
  • Buy a less expensive car (or something else) because your together-values are to be frugal and generous with others.
  • Put down your work (or turn off the t.v.) and go to bed with your spouse as much as you can (ending the day together is a great rhythm!)
  • Conserve energy throughout your day to have the peace and presence to go on a date night or to help serve alongside your wife in daily family routines.

His new school advice is to, “ Be aware when to HALT(!) a conversation. In other words, don’t enter into a serious conversation if either of you are feeling Hungry, Angry, Lonely or Tired (HALT). Take some space–even if it means going to bed, taking a walk or going about your day while you’re still feeling a few of these things–so you can come back to each other and the conversation in a better, more whole place.”

Something Borrowed Something Blue

Some borrowed advice that has greatly impacted Scott over the years is, “Intentionally discover and seek out the unique ways your wife receives love and keep exploring new ways to speak her love language. Keep in mind that your wife’s love language might (and will) change from season to season in life. Your wife is in the process of constantly changing… So take the time and give energy to continually get to know her, always holding her with sacred curiosity.”

Scott’s bonus advice is to “Have fun together! Seek out fun, adventure, and new experiences, and pursue enjoyment of one another in little and big ways!” He suggests that couples celebrate as often as they can.

The question Scott would like his wife Shelton to answer is, “In what way do you feel you most need to be consistently pointed to God?”

Shelton’s question for her husband Scott is, “What do you dream over and for us?”

When asked if they had the chance to do it all over again would they, Scott replies, “I would have been more consistent about walking with other men through the marriage journey. We have had some very important and intentional voices speaking into our marriage, and some of the most important pieces of vision and health in marriage have been heavily influenced by our mentors and those with an intentional presence in our lives. I would have tried harder to be more consistent about these connections in difficult seasons as well as find new mentors from whom to receive encouragement.”

Shelton’s response to doing it over was, “Earlier on, I would have lowered my super-high and unrealistic expectations of Scott and our marriage (an expectation of perfection that I didn’t realize I had until a few years into marriage). I like the hopes I hold for us and that we hold together. I am enjoying the plans we make that are cloaked in God’s grace and vision for our wellness, not in my own expectation. I know I have a long way to go in this area, but I hope we can continue to see our marriage even more through the eyes of God’s delight in us so that all we do and say to one another might derive from a place of inspiration, not expectation.” 

For the reader: If you would like to ask this couple a question or offer a word of encouragement, please do so in the comment section below?

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Steve & Rita Smith Revisit Their Vows

 

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To Have

The characteristic that Rita says her husband Steve has that makes him uniquely hers is his God-given purpose.

 

To Hold

When she is in his arms, she feels intimacy, security, and possibilities.

 

For Better or Worse

Something that the Smiths both admit they could benefit from doing better in their marriage is listening. The worst year of their marriage was the first year. When asked “Why?” Their collective answer was “growing pains.” 

 

For Richer or Poorer

Mr. & Mrs. Smith consider their marriage rich in intimacy, understanding, laughter, friendship, long-suffering, but most of all faith. When there is poor communication between the Smiths, “We take a time-out… Stop talking, take a break, then resume.”

 Through Sickness and in Health

“In 2013, my husband was diagnosed with cancer, had a staph infection, heart surgery, and diagnosed with ITP.  4 years later, we’re still standing. It has made our marriage stronger.” In February of 2017, Steve had splenectomy surgery and just finished up chemotherapy at the Mayo Clinic. During every hospital stay his wife slept in the bed with him. No matter how uncomfortable or small the hospital bed was Rita’s only place of comfort was found next to her husband. When he had staph, the doctors had to explain to her the dangers of sleeping so close. It was the only time she actually complied with their requests to not sleep in the same bed with her husband. The way they maintain the health of their marriage is to, “Run home every day, and keep dating each other.”

To Love and To Cherish

Rita values her vows now more than ever before. Her husband Steve is her greatest cheerleader. “He models godly character, teaches me, and pushes me.”

 

Til Death Do Us Part

When asked about how death makes her appreciate her spouse Rita responds, “If you’ve seen the movie the “Notebook,” that’s our desire. That we go together and never experience separation.”

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Something Old Something New

When asked to share some old school advice Steve replies, “Start out like you can hold up.” His new school advice is, “Invest in your marriage.” 

Something Borrowed Something Blue (something extra for fun)

Steve’s borrowed advice for husbands is, “Success is nothing unless you have someone to share it with.” When asked to share some bonus advice, Steve, who is a Pastor practically preaches a sermon, a pretty powerful one that all husbands should adhere to.

“I would like to encourage all husbands to make a decision to have the type of marriage that typifies the love that Christ has for the Church. Marriage is the ONLY earthly example we have to show others, how much Christ loves the church.
Always remember that she is the weaker vessel, (things that affect her may not bother you, she is more emotional) therefore dwell with her “according to knowledge” –that your prayers be not hindered. Remember husbands, you are the “Pitcher,” and she is the “Catcher.” Be mindful of what you’re throwing at her. If you don’t like what she’s offering you, investigate what you’re giving to her, she is usually just returning what you gave to her.
Honor your vows and be true to God, be true to your spouse, be true to yourself, “Drink water from your own cistern,” have no need for “spoil” outside of your marital union. I’m honored, thankful, and grateful, to know that in 29 years of marriage to my wife, that she is the only woman I’ve known intimately since I walked down the aisle, and said, “I do.” I settled in my mind, a long time ago, that I never ever want to cause her pain! 

 

Steve’s question for his wife is “What makes you stay in love and remain committed to me?” Rita’s question for Steve is, “Is it still good to you?”  Steve and Rita are very much in love and not lacking at all in the romance department. Their shared advice for couples is to never stop dating, and plan at least one night out of the week for just the two of you, and make that your date night. If they had the chance to do it all over again the one thing they would do differently is, “Start it all one day earlier.”

For the reader: If you have something you would like to share, or a question you would like to ask the Smiths please do so in the comment section below.

 

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Jack & Beckah Shae Shocklee Revisit Their Vows

Marriage Vows for Blog (26)To Have and to Hold

The trait that makes Jack aka “Shoc” uniquely Beckah’s is his patience. “He understands how passionate I am, and he gives me grace and room to process and express it, while he honors, supports, and makes me feel like he adores and admires that part about me. We work perfectly together because we compliment each other so well.” When Beckah is in her husband’s arms, she feels, safe, happy, whole.

For Better or for Worse

One area the Shocklees feel like they could do better is working out together more. “Health and wellness is always a goal!” The 5th year of their marriage was their worst year. Beckah was ministering to a young lady and her husband Jonathan “Jack” aka Shoc did not feel called to do the same. “He was very focused on production at the time. We learned the importance of walking together in all things. We’ve also learned about boundaries, and how much we allow others into our space and time. Because our boundaries were not strong and we were not on one accord, it became a very painful learning process for us both. God worked it all out for good in the end. Like growing pains, we both feel much stronger and wiser!”

For Richer or for Poorer

The areas the Shocklees feel rich in their relationship are grace, love, affection, honor, intimacy, faith, joy, vision, creativity, patience, kindness, passion, health, favor, hope, laughter, friendship, and adventure.

When there is poor communication between Shoc and Beckah “We can misunderstand each other, and it can be frustrating. It takes us longer to get on one accord.

In Sickness and in Health

When asked to share about a time in which the Shocklees faced sickness in their marriage Beckah shares, “I broke my ankle 5 months pregnant on my husbands birthday. Shoc and the girls took good care of me with gentleness and patience. They were attentive to my needs and gracious towards my emotions. This proved the character, love, humility, and grace my husband has towards me. I Love him!”

The way Beckah and Shoc maintain the health of their marriage is through JESUS. “Honoring and Cherishing one another. Aiming to Love each other like 1 Corinthians 13. We make God and one another priority. We dream together often, and we are careful to walk together.

To Love and to Cherish

Beckah says that her perception of love has become richer than it was before marriage. Their roots have grown deeper after having 3 children. Shoc builds his wife Beckah up by affirming her with words. “He tells me I’m beautiful when I least feel like it. He reminds me I’m doing a great job (especially as a mom). He surprises me with valuable gifts ( to affirm my value). He strengthens my soul with prayer! (to keep me focused). He gives me massages and allows me to be pampered when needed (to stay refreshed).”

Til Death Do Us Part

The thought of death prompts Beckah to share her adoration for her husband, “I kiss him a million times, and it never seems enough. It hurts to imagine spending a day without him on earth. I am overwhelmingly grateful for every moment I get to share this life with him while living in light of eternity.”

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Something Old Something New

Shoc’s old school advice to husbands is, “Always give 100%.” His new school advice is, “Always dream together.

Something Borrowed Something Blue

The marriage advice Shoc received that has impacted their marriage strongly is, “Never go to bed upset.” His bonus advice to husbands is to “Plan surprise trips!” The question he would like for his wife to answer is, “What day is our anniversary?” With a laughing but very serious tone, he says, “Cause she always forgets.” The question Beckah Shae has for her husband is, “What day is our anniversary, (cause I always forget) haha is it the 14th or 15th?”
For the reader: If you have a question, comment or compliment for this couple, please feel free to share in the comment section below.
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Eugene & Naima Russell Revisit Their Vows

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To Have and to Hold

Naima describes what traits make her husband uniquely hers, “He’s very old school. He’s part play Mario Brothers on our Nintendo in our PJs Saturday morning, and part hold my hand, so I don’t stumble in my heels while he carries the groceries.” When Naima is in her husband’s Eugene’s arms, she feels affirmed, released, and like she’s melting.

 

For Better or For Worse

Something the Russells feel like they can do better in their marriage is, “Not thinking the worst of the other person’s actions. Asking for clarity and actually listening to UNDERSTAND and not just waiting for the other person to pause so you can  respond.”

 

The worst year of their marriage was the year after their first child was born. “Priorities shifted, recovery from childbirth, sleep deprivation, just all around new parenthood took its toll. We stopped working on the marriage, and things were said that caused a rift that we are still working hard to heal from.

For Richer or For Poorer

The Russells state that their marriage is rich in resilience. When there is poor communication between the two of them Naima shares, “We both end up frustrated and confused. The devil thrives in confusion, and it is an opening for strife in our marriage. We end up seeing the other person as our enemy, as someone to compete against, we assume the worst of them.”

Through Sickness and in Health

Mrs. Russell shares about their experience with sickness, “My mother-in-law was diagnosed with sarcoidosis years before I ever met my husband and through faith, prayer and the care of my father-in-law she defied her life expectancy several times over. A short 10 months after we were married she went into the ICU. My husband and I, along with an army of family, and friends stayed by her side around the clock for the next month. We traded shifts, we brought meals to the hospital, we never gave up on her. She made her transition a few days before his birthday.  That is a really hard thing to go through in your first year of marriage.

Everyone thinks that the first year of marriage is a never-ending date night, all roses and candlelight dinners, and for some it is, but most will tell you the rose-colored glasses quickly fall off before the thank you notes are in the mail. You have to figure each other out (who are we as a MARRIED couple now), You have to figure yourself out (who am I as a wife/husband), and then you throw the loss of a parent in there? Our marriage had to grow up quickly, and I had to embrace this new person my husband had become. He had this fresh wound –this hole that, as much as I wanted to, I could not fill. Nor was that my job.”

Maintaining the health of their marriage has been their biggest challenge. “We try date nights, but our kids are so young it’s hard to get away, and when we finally do we are tired, with a capital T.  Pre-kids, we did a vision for the year, read books, went to conferences. I want to get back to this. It is so important to keep working on us.

To Love and to Cherish

Naima’s admits that her perception of love before marriage was influenced by one too many romantic comedies. “This is probably pretty cliche, but I expected him to “get me” to just know what I needed to feel loved. Now I try and tell him exactly what I need and hope he remembers,” she laughs before continuing to say, “I am also focusing on the 5 Love Languages. I am learning his love language and realizing that to really touch him I need to speak his language too. He speaks Swahili, and I speak French so emotionally we have a continent between us, so we have to keep working on that bridge daily.”

Eugene cherishes his wife by being tough on her… It’s his way of affirming her. If she doesn’t go after hard opportunities, or he gets frustrated when she gets down on herself. He sees value in what she brings to the table and doesn’t want to see her discouraged. She shares, “Of course being a romantic I initially wanted a softer approach but realizing that’s is his way of showing love is kind of sweet.

Til Death Do Us Part

When asked about how the thought of death makes her appreciate her husband Naima poses the question, “Who would kill the spiders or clean the kid’s runny noses?

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Something Old Something New

When asked to share some old school advice Eugene encourages husbands to:

  • Open doors for your wife.
  • Pump her gas.
  • If you see her carrying heavy bags, take them from her.
  • If she’s coming home after dark, watch (or walk) her out of the car and into the house.

It’s not that she’s incapable of doing these things alone, it’s just important for her to know that you are covering her.

Mr. Russell’s new school advice is If you’ve got kids, hold it down at home so she (if she desires) can get away at least once a week for what I’ll call a “mental health” break. If you don’t have kids, encourage her to do something fun or relaxing on her own (or with her friends) regularly.

Something Borrowed Something Blue

A quote that has strongly impacted their relationship is “Marriage is more than a loving feeling. It’s a daily commitment.” Eugene’s bonus advice is, “If she teases you, learn to laugh at yourself. Sometimes, laughter can be the best pillow talk.”

The question that Eugene would like to ask his wife is, “In what everyday, practical way/ways does your husband make you feel loved?”

Naima would like for her husband to answer the question, “What are some ways I show you respect?”

If the Russels had the chance to do it all over again the thing they would do differently is,

We would have been more mindful of what we said to one another in the heat of the moment during arguments. Once spoken, hurtful things can’t be taken back.”

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Jonathan & Harriet Williams Revisit Their Vows

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To Have

The trait that Harriet’s husband Jonathan has that makes him uniquely hers is his ability to make her feel comfortable in uncomfortable situations.

To Hold

When Mrs. Williams is in her husband’s arms, she feels safe, peaceful, and at home.

For Better or for Worse

The Williams feel as though they could do a better job of managing their time away from one another. With a laugh Harriet shares, “We’re together a lot, and at times we feel lost without the other. Personal time is needed, but we tend to forget that.” When asked about their worst year in their marriage Harriet shares, “I can’t say we had “a worst” year, but more so a shift.

When all our children had grown up and moved on, I started working out, losing weight and doing more things I had an interest in. Everything seemed different to me because I had no one else to focus on but myself, I thought.” She started to feel like she would enjoy what she was doing more if her husband were there. She later learned, and admits is still learning how to enjoy the things she does but still make time for her husband. “I had to teach myself that it was OK for us to have different interests but, ultimately at the end of the day, he is my main interest.” 

For Richer or For Poorer

The Williams marriage is rich in laughter, long-suffering, friendship, understanding, faith, intimacy, but most of all LOVE. When there is poor communication between Jonathan and Harriet, “The house normally gets quiet for a while. I’m not one to hold stuff. We talk when we’ve given each other a minute. We don’t stay upset with each other for long.”

In Sickness and in Health

When asked about sickness Harriet shares, “My husband I both faced surgeries this year. I can honestly say we pulled even closer during those times. He goes far and beyond when taking care of me and I try to do the same.” The Williams maintain the health of their marriage through communication. They talk about everything.  

To Love and to Cherish

When asked to share what she thought about love before she was married Harriet explains, “I can honestly say I didn’t know what LOVE was when I got married. It’s so much more than looks and sex. It’s about long-suffering, becoming selfless, committed, caring for another more than yourself, building, giving past your reserve and the list goes on.”

Jonathan cherishes his wife by praying for her. “That right there, means everything, EVERYTHING!  I’ve been blessed with a man that truly cares about my spiritual growth and me as a woman.  Everything else is extra, and there is a lot of extras. From cooking for me and being the first one to tell me I’m beautiful.” Jonathan builds his wife up by showing her she’s special. 

Til Death Do Us Part

When asked about how death makes her appreciate her husband Harriet expresses, He’s the one who showed me what love is. I know that I’ve been given a love that will be a blessing to me throughout my lifetime. From the early morning talks to being held in his arms while watching TV. I send my secret prayers of thanks at those times. They will never be able to be replaced nor forgotten. He has given me so much that my harvest overflows through my children and prayerfully their children’s children.” 

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Something Old Something New

Jonathan’s old school advice begins at the beginning, Genesis 2:24 to be exact. Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.” Jonathan who is a fountain of wisdom flows on to say,

  • Don’t let the Sun go down on your wrath;
  • A soft answer turns away wrath;
  • The Early Bird gets the Worm;
  • Early to bed early to rise-helps to keep one healthy and wise.
  • Keep others out of YOUR MARRIAGE
  • Don’t be afraid to share, but what goes on between you and your spouse stays between you and YOUR SPOUSE (Keep out in-laws, friends, children, etc. Unless there is something detrimental or life-threatening)

His new school advice is, “Love life and be true to yourself and be yourself. In other words, No one can be you Except YOU!!!”

Something Borrowed Something Blue

A marriage quote that impacted Mr. Williams strongly is, “Communication is the key to a great marriage journey- really listening effectively, talking, and understanding your partner makes for a great start in marriage and being 100% committed to your partner will keep it going and exciting.” He emphatically expresses, “Keep other people out of your family business!” He reflects on the saying, “This is grown folks business.” And shares that as a couple all couples should adopt the phrase, “This is between ME and MY spouse.” Jonathan’s extra word of advice is to, Date your Partner even if you have been married a while.” He goes on to add an inside joke, “Do your ONE JOB.”

The question he would like for his wife to answer is, “When can we retire?” Harriet’s question for her husband is “Why do you think you can hide candy from me?” This couple is as sweet as the treats Jonathan hides. When presented with the question of what would they do differently if they had a chance to do it all over, Harriet answers, “Nothing, if I change anything it may not lead me to where I am and with whom I’m with today.” Jonathan says, “I would be crazy to try and change something, If I did, I would not have all the blessings and love that I get daily from my wife and family, and of course, our God who made it all possible. LIFE IS GOOD!”

For the reader: If you would like to compliment, question, or encourage this couple please feel free in the comments below.

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Marcus & Teisha Friend Revisit Their Vows

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To Have

Teisha says the thing about Marcus that makes him uniquely hers is his amazing sense of humor.

To Hold

When asked to use 3 words that describe what she feels when she is in her husband’s with a smile she replies, “Heat melting ice.” She goes on to say, “We are one.”

For Better or for Worse

The Friends share that the two areas they feel like they would like to do better in are communicating and praying. Teisha says the worst year of their marriage was, “The 2nd year because it was the most challenging to compromise and learn how to submit ” my will” to “our will.”” Marcus adds, “It was during the second year that realities and sacrifice surfaced.”

For Richer or for Poorer

Marcus and Teisha share that their marriage is rich in faith, unity, long-suffering, friendship, intimacy, laughter, but most of all support. When there is poor communication in the Friend household chaos happens.

In Sickness and in Health

Sickness and setbacks have a way of strengthening couples. Teisha shares, “I recall trying to get pregnant and being impatient with God’s will. Marcus had to constantly remind me of God being faithful to His Word and not needing my help to fulfill His promises.” Marcus shares, “I recall Teisha losing sight in her eye. It required me to step up and do more to contribute to home and the family because Teisha was hospitalized.” In both scenarios, the Friends grew stronger and closer to God and each other as a result of the trials they faced.

Marcus & Teisha maintain the health of their relationship through prayer and trusting God’s way of doing things. They believe it’s important to “Take time away from EVERYTHING else and spend time alone with each other.

To Love and to Cherish

Before marriage Mrs. Friend shares, “Love was simply a feeling. But now love is more than a feeling, it’s an action.” Mr. Friend shares that “Love was more emotional, but through marriage, I’ve learned that love is demonstrated by sacrifice.” Marcus builds up his wife by praying for her and encouraging her daily. Teisha shares, “He is forever speaking God’s Word to lift me up.” Marcus says, “My wife builds me up by constantly reminding me that we’re in this together and lets me know I’m not alone and by being a great support.”

Til Death Do Us Part

When asked to share thoughts on death Teisha shares, “Death allows me to appreciate Marcus and his contributions to our family. It reminds me of how valuable and vital he is to our family.” Marcus shares that the thought of death makes him appreciate how his wife contributes to the health and well being of both their family and marriage.

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Something Old Something New

Mr. Friend’s old school advice is, “Always treat others the way you want to be treated.” He went on to express that everything starts with dignity and respect. His new school advice to husbands is “No matter how things change, the one constant has to be your relationship with God.” A marriage quote that has impacted Marcus the strongest is, “If you can think of any reason you would divorce your spouse, you don’t need to get married!” His additional advice to husbands is “Whatever you need to do to keep your marriage spicy, do it!”

A question that Marcus would like for his wife to answer is, “What is it about me that you would most like to change?” A question that Teisha would like for her husband to answer is, “What is the one trait that you believe to be the most valuable?” Looking back, if there were one thing the Friends would change is, “Keeping a distance between us and the people who didn’t and don’t support us.”

For the reader of this blog post: We welcome any questions or words of encouragement you may have for this couple. Feel free to post in the comment section below.

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Ken & Kenya Epps Revisit Their Vows

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To Have

Kenya describes her husband Ken as, “Selfless– I love the fact that he puts us (family)  first. He will change plans/drop everything for us. Ken supports me in whatever I do. He is my biggest cheerleader. Even when I tell him he doesn’t have to go or be there with me, he says, “I know I don’t have to go, but I want to go because I love spending any and every moment with you I can.””

For this couple “Family over everything” is a true statement, not just a hashtag.

To Hold

When Kenya is in her husband Ken’s arms she feels safe, overflowing with love, and invincible.

For Better or For Worst

One area that the Epps feel they can do better in is communication. They admit that they have improved drastically over the years but wouldn’t mind continuing to hone their communication skills. When asked about the worst year of their marriage Mrs. Epps states, “I wouldn’t say the worst but the most challenging year was our first year. The transition from 10 years of being a single, strong independent woman/Momma to having to share my funds and my child with my husband.” Her oldest son Cam was trying to figure out where he fit into his mom’s life and why did he have to share her with her new husband. “I was still acting as though I was single at times and doing things on my own and not trusting that my husband would do it.”

For Richer or For Poorer

 

The Epps consider their marriage rich in laughter. This was very important to Kenya because she likes to joke and have fun. Her husband Ken passed with flying colors; they laugh constantly.

Their marriage is also rich in friendship. “Ken is my Best Friend! And everyone knows you can’t stay mad at your bestie for long.” Being angry with Ken is not an option for Kenya, she explains, “I share everything with him just like I would with my best girlfriend.” 

Trust and faith are two other areas that the Epps are rich in, “To walk together in faith with your spouse is so refreshing. By putting God first in all things, and then you add two God-fearing lovers—We run the world… INVINCIBLE!!! We run it!”

When there is poor communication among the Epps, “Assumptions are made, and silence takes over.” When that happens Kenya says, “The enemy takes over my mind and I start entertaining stuff I shouldn’t even entertain. Early on in our marriage, I thought not arguing was ok because at least we were not fussing and screaming. I later learned that men and women communicate differently. So now instead of making assumptions about what the other one is thinking we sit down and discuss it so we don’t let things don’t snowball and get out of control. There is much more peace in our relationship when we communicate effectively.”

Through Sickness and In Health

“About four years ago my mom had brain surgery. During that time I was with my mom daily. And Ken understood and instantly jumped in and became super dad. Just when I thought I couldn’t love him more, I saw how he once-again dropped everything to make sure he handled everything in our household so I could take care of my mom’s household. I am so grateful and blessed to have this selfless man as my husband.”

One of the ways Kenya and Ken maintain the health of their marriage is by taking time for each other. Kenya says, “I learned after taking a marriage enrichment class that my spouse comes before my kids, from then on I make an effort to keep our marriage fresh.” Date nights are a must! But Kenya has also realized that she needs time for her self so she can reboot to be her best for everyone. “I am grateful that when I say I need a mommy vacay, he lets me get that time no questions asked. NEWLYWEDS TILL WE DIE!!!”

To Love and to Cherish

Kenya’s thoughts on love before marriage were, “Love was more of an emotion to me. A warm fuzzy feeling. I never felt the desire to want to make another person happy. When I got married, love was about sacrifice, compromise, selflessness. I found myself wanting to give love more than receive. My attitude was they need to do this for me or give this to make sure I am happy/loved.” After meeting Ken everything changed, seeing him smile made her feel excited. She has realized, “Love after marriage is unconditional. No matter what we love each other and put pride aside. Tomorrow is not promised so why waste it being mad about basically nothing. God probably stay mad at me but I still love Him unconditionally, I can do the same for my husband.”  

 The way Ken cherishes his wife is through consistently telling her how proud of her he is. “He always tells me how sexy and beautiful I am. He says he is so blessed to have me as his wife.”

Til Death Do Us Part

In response to how the thought of death makes her appreciate her husband’s life Kenya shares, “I think of all he does for me and the kids.  I appreciate all the little things he does like washing dishes, folding clothes, or noticing how I am stretched thin. All the times and he says, “Bae just chill I got it.” Who will be there to listen to me vent for an hour and then say, “Bae don’t worry about it you know God is gonna take care of it.” My support system, encourager, my rock would be gone.”

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Something Old Something New

Ken, who is a coach by profession has practical old school and new school advice for husbands. 

  • Lead by example
  • Be open to change
  • Keep Christ first
  • Keep dating your wife

Coach Ken’s question for his wife was, “How can I pray for you?” Kenya’s question for her husband was, “What areas can I improve?” When asked if there were anything you would like to do over again, what would it be? Ken responded, “I wish I understood sacrifice and humility sooner.” Kenya shares, “I wish I would’ve communicated more with him vs. at him in the beginning of our marriage. 

For the reader: Is there a question you would like to ask this couple?

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Mike & Karmel Revisit Their Vows

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To Have

When asked the question, “What characteristic makes your husband uniquely yours?” Karmel paused then replied, “Hmmmmm… maybe his uncanny ability to tell someone off (including me) in a loving way such that they have no idea they just got told.

To Hold

When Karmel is in her husband Mike’s arms, she feels loved, protected, and she is able to exhale.

For Better or for Worse

Something the Popes feel like they can do better in their marriage is, “Thinking first of how the other would do or receive something before automatically doing it our own way (without thinking).” Every year of their marriage has been great thus far. However, they did have a few weeks that were pretty intense. Mike’s mom was sick and passed away, while their daughter was in the hospital due to illness. “So much attention was needed in both situations, and we just couldn’t do it, so we had to divide and conquer. It made us each go through hurt and hardship alone, and though we knew the other was there “in spirit,” it was not the same.”  Frustration led to blame and blame led to isolation. “Thank GOD it didn’t last too long as we recognized it and addressed it.”

For Richer and for Poorer

The Popes see their marriage as being rich in teamwork, sacrificial love, faith, understanding, and friendship. When there is poor communication between Mike and Karmel, they’ve noticed that it takes twice as long to accomplish something. 

Through Sickness and in Health

Mike and Karmel are get-it-done types of people, so when sickness takes place, they take care of business first and realize the impact it has on their marriage later.Clearly, having a thriving relationship is of utmost importance to Mr. & Mrs. Pope. Below is a list of some of the things they do to maintain the health of their marriage:

  • Praying together each morning and night
  • Having a date night nearly once a week.
  • Having a lunch date nearly twice a week,
  • Hanging out with like-minded married couples
  • Hosting monthly workshops and fun nights
  • Attending marriage conferences and retreats
  • Taking yearly anniversary honeymoon
  • Celebrating Valentine’s Day BIG

All because “Our love is worth celebrating!

To Love and To Cherish

Because the Popes were pretty mature when they married their perception of love is not much different now as married folk as it was when they were single. “We knew that it was more than good looks and feel-good times. We had no idea, though, that our love could get so much stronger over time. We thought we were maxed out in the in-love department!”

The way Mike cherishes his wife is through commending her when she accomplishes something. He thanks her for her efforts as a wife and mother and tells her why it is important to him to protect her. He compliments herappreciates her cooking, and asks her for advice.

 

Til Death Do Us Part

When asked about how the thought of death makes her appreciate her husband Karmel responds, “My life is so much better with him than it was when I was single(and I didn’t think it could get any better), that I want to create, enjoy, and treasure moments with him. Death gives me the big picture. Half of the things that we get all riled up about aren’t even worth the energy! Oohwee! I often pray that God will give me strength if I ever have to bury my husband.”

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Something Old Something New

Mr. Popes old-school advice is to always remember, “If the wife ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.” You should be so connected with your wife that when something is bothering her, it’s bothering you. When she is not happy, you are not happy. As protector, you should not only be concerned about her physical safety but also her emotional and spiritual safety.”

Mike’s new school advice to husbands is, “Do things to show your wife that you love her. This means you have to know her love language and how to meet her emotional needs.  You may be working a lot of overtime and bringing home a big check, but if she needs quality-time, then that big check means more to you than it does to her. She’d rather have your time than your extra money.”

Something Borrowed Something Blue (Something extra just for fun)

The advice that has most impacted Mike came from one of their pre-marital counseling sessions. “Never let the Honeymoon end!” This is the reason each year this couple takes a week off and goes on another honeymoon. “We also try to live this advice daily, in fact, I’ve been known to say that we haven’t started our marriage yet because we are still on the honeymoon.”

Additional advice from Mike to husbands is, “Even though God has made you the head, he made your wife the neck. It’s been said that God may give you the vision, but he will give your wife the plan for carrying out the vision. Listen to the wisdom of your wife.”

At the time of this interview, Mike did not have a question for his wife, but she certainly had something she wanted to ask him. “What are the things that caused you to fall in love with your wife that make you love her even more now (because I never get enough of hearing it!)?” Upon revisiting whether or not Mike had a question for his wife he replied, “My wife is an open book, any questions I have she answers my questions before I ask them.” When asked if they had the chance to do it all over again what would they do differently, Mike says, “Nothing.” And Karmel, responds, “Not a thang!!!”

For the Reader: What question would you like to ask this couple?

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If you would like to connect with these happy honeymooners for a couples fun night or a free marriage workshop find them on Facebook. They have a remarkable marriage ministry called Marriage More Abundantly in which they help married and engaged couples make the most of their happily ever after.
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Click the highlighted “Marriage More Abundantly” above to visit their Facebook Page.

 

Willie & Patricia Moore Revisit Their Vows

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To Have

The trait that Willie Moore Jr. has that makes his wife know he is the one is his genuine love for her. Patricia explains, “I don’t have to be all dolled up, or made up perfect, or look a certain way. He just loves Tricia!”

To Hold

When asked to share what it’s like to be in her husband’s arms Patricia shares, “I finally feel like I can release and I go to sleep, I’m protected and warm.” Warmth is important to this bride because she is by nature always cold.

 

For Better or Worse

Something the Moore’s admit they would benefit from doing better in their marriage is, “Listening to understand what we really mean vs. what we say.” The worst year of their marriage was 2012.

 

For Richer or Poorer

Mr. & Mrs. Moore consider their marriage rich in long-suffering. If there is poor communication between them, they have noticed that it affects their kids. Their kids are perceptive and can tell when something is wrong. As a result, their behavior changes and they start to act out. “It also creates tension and frustration between us; we carry on sometimes as if we are just roommates instead of helpmates.”

 

Through Sickness and in Health

The only sickness the Moores have experienced was one time when Patricia severed her Achilles tendon.  At the time Willie was planning to travel to California and take on some work. Instead of leaving he made a sacrifice and stayed home to care for Patricia and their son. “It was a huge sacrifice for him because he’s an entrepreneur and if you don’t work, you don’t eat.” Patricia was down for about a month and shares, “I’m not sure if that created resentment towards me, but it definitely was a trial we both had to learn from. Ultimately, God knew better; Willie really wasn’t called to California, God had a different destination for him.” God called Willie to plant his family in Atlanta. 

The way the Moores maintain the health of their marriage is through weekly meetings. During their meetings, they discuss everything from, bills, budgets, to groceries, the kid’s extra-curricular activities, doctor appointments, travel arrangements, and additional meetings. “We find it easier to be on one accord if we know what to expect; we pull out the calendar and look at every day of the month and discuss it.”

 

To Love and To Cherish

Patricia’s perception of love before marriage was a fairytale perspective. She explains, “I just thought that love was supposed to just flow, like how I saw it in the movies.” What she discovered is that love is something you have to work on every day. “It changes over time and you have to be creative. You may be in love with a person but how you love them is something totally different. Over time, you may fall out of love and have to get that back.” Patricia believes that as a couple it is imperative to learn what Agape love is.  She also sees the importance of knowing your love language. “Not just loving each other based on how we want to be loved, but loving each other based on what we respond to.” The Moores have discovered through understanding each other’s love language that what works for one may not work for the other.

The way Willie cherishes his wife is through observing when she is second-guessing herself. In doing so, he will speak words that affirm her to help her in her decisions. He tells her “Go with your gut, if God gave it to you don’t ever apologize.” He is good at boosting her self-confidence and making her stick to her decisions, no matter what others may say.

 

Til Death Do Us Part

When asked to talk about how death makes her appreciate her spouse Patricia shares, “It makes you cherish them and appreciate them. Everyday I try and give him a kiss or hug before he leaves. Whenever I think about him, I send a love note via text.” Patricia lives her life knowing nothing is promised, so she does the same thing with her kids. She is intentional about telling her family that she loves them and showing them affection. 

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Something Old Something New

When asked to share some old school advice Willie shares, It doesn’t matter what they call you, only what you answer to.” Willie’s new school advice is, “Social media is not the total truth, don’t compare yourself to someone else; social media is only a highlight reel.”

Something Borrowed Something Blue

Willie’s borrowed advice is, “Marriage is development so don’t forfeit your development.” When asked to share new school advice you can count on Willie to keep it 100. His advice to couples is, “Have sex often.” FLAT OUT.

A question Willie has for his wife of 12 years is, “How does a strong-willed woman become submissive?” A question Patricia would like to ask her husband is, “How does a husband become the bridegroom and support his wife?”

When asked if the Moores could do it all over again what would they do differently Willie replies, “Yes, I would have had a better direction of where my life would go before I invited someone else into confusion; I was a kid when I got married.” Patricia says, “Yes, I would have spent more time learning and being amongst married women who were willing to teach. Furthermore, learn more about what it means to be a wife, what are the ups and downs of marriage, what does it mean to submit and be the neck of the family?”

The Moores are the Authors of the ‘Happily After All,’ a relationship book that helps couples discover how to keep their relationship going when they are tired of trying. Willie is a nationally syndicated Gospel radio host and television personality. He and his lovely wife Patricia use personal stories, wisdom, and humor to share keys on shaping healthy couples, and building foundations for strong families.

If you would like to glean more from the Moores, follow them on Facebook or Instagram and watch them as they stream LIVE on Relationship Wednesdays.

 

For the reader: What question would you like to ask this couple?

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Be sure to share, comment, and subscribe for an opportunity to win a free copy of Patricia & Willie’s book, Happily After All.

Jenny & Buster Frith Revisit Their Vows

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To Have

Jenny Frith knows her husband, Buster. She knows his looks, when he needs to talk when he needs downtime, what drives him, his strengths, weaknesses, and most importantly she knows that he lives his life to serve God and their family.

To Hold

When Buster holds Jenny she feels secure, safe, and connected.

For Better or Worse

Something the Friths feel they can do better in their marriage is to take date nights and spend more time alone time together without the kids or any distractions. The worst year of their marriage was when their older kids were ages 1 and 2. “I was working full-time at night so I could keep them during the day.  I was missing seeing my husband, and I was exhausted because I would come in from work as he was leaving, and the kids were just getting up. Not seeing each other was the worst thing ever. I was emotionally and physically exhausted.”

For Richer or Poorer

As they talk about their relationship, it’s clear that the Friths are best friends and their marriage is rich in laughter and levity. They dance in the kitchen and laugh a lot. Jenny confesses, ” I love watching him read and study the Word- that is so hot to me! I love that he knows me. He knows when I need chocolate, he knows when I’m upset he’ll say, “come here,” and he gives me a big ole bear hug. I love spending time with him, I love my man.” Whenever there is poor communication between these two frustrations arise because they are big communicators. If something doesn’t seem right, they discuss it and get it solved. If there is a miscommunication, they believe in owning their fault so they can apologize and move forward. 

Through Sickness and in Health

The Friths are not strangers to sickness and health struggles. Jenny shares “There have been so many. We both helped take care of my grandmother as she aged.” She recalls a time in which her grandmother fell and broke her hip which led to her being wheelchair bound. Being picked up in her wheelchair and carried up the stairs to enter their home would frighten her grandmother so Buster singlehandedly built a large wooden portable ramp so Jenny’s grandmother would no longer have to worry. “It meant the world to me how he cared for her in that way.”

5 years ago, Jenny had breast cancer, and Buster never left her side. When she came home, she had to sleep propped up on a couch in their den because of her drains and Buster slept right there on the other couch just to be close to her. He cleaned the drains, cooked, took care of the kids, helped brush her hair, and helped her in the shower daily.

Last year, The Friths found out about a tumor on Buster’s pancreas. Jenny says, “He showed he had the strength and faith of a warrior. When he came out of surgery, he was so pale… He spoke quietly, “come here.” When I leaned in gently to give him a hug, he said, “I love you so much.”

The way the Friths maintain the health of their marriage is through communication and spending time together. “We work together to get things done and truly enjoy each other. We pray together each day and make God first in our marriage, family, and lives.”

To Love and to Cherish

Jenny, who was 15 years old when she first met Buster says, “we’ve always been friends, but marriage brought new experiences like finances, children, work, ministry, sickness, etc. I thought I knew what love was back when we were young, but I have grown to love him more deeply than I ever knew possible. “

The way Buster cherishes his wife is through supporting her in every way. Before he leaves for work, he kisses her on the head and tells her to have a great day and reminds her that he loves her. He also calls her during the day to check on her and the kids. From housework to homework he helps out daily, even after a long day at work. “I love that when he comes home, he will find me before he does anything else. He will come to wherever I am to find out about my day and hug me and kiss me as soon as he gets home. He always puts others first and has such a servant’s heart.”

 Til Death Do Us Part

When asked about to talk about how death makes Jenny appreciate her spouse she responds, “This last year was eye-opening for me (referring to sickness). We can talk about death and try to imagine it, but until it comes or we are faced with an attack, we

simply cannot imagine how overwhelming and gripping it is to experience even the thought of truly losing your spouse.”

Though the spot on her husband’s pancreas was discovered a year ago and has since been removed. She vividly recalls what it was like to receive the news. “I had to literally sit down as I received the call. I knew he had not looked well and was having abdominal pain and of course, being a nurse immediately thought of pancreatic cancer.  That phone call literally took my breath away. I had to go and sit down at my kitchen table and ask the nurse to repeat what she just said. I heard it, but I needed to process it. I had to leave immediately and go get orders for another scan to be done at the hospital. As I got into my car, I started saying, “this is not happening” out loud.” The thought of losing her husband was too much to bear.

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Something Old Something New

When asked to share some old school advice Buster refers to scripture, In 1st Thessalonians 5:16-18, Paul tells us to pray continuously and give thanks in all circumstances, for that is Gods will for our lives.” Buster adds “in marriage, we should pray continuously together, as a display of unity in our appreciation for His many blessings, regardless of what we might be going through.” 

 He continues with some new school advice for husbands, “Youll commonly hear the old saying happy wife, happy lifebut don’t be fooled by the simplicity of the words or trapped into believing that her happiness is fueled by material things. Your wife has a fundamental need to know shes loved, cherished, and appreciated. A light touch as you walk by or an unsolicited compliment on her looks or what she’s wearing lets her know that she is noticed. Listening to her and holding her when she’s upset (even if shes upset with you) shows you care.” Buster believes that if a man really wishes to show commitment to investing in a marriage that arranging a surprise date night or weekend away sends a strong message. “When the pace of our world (especially if you have children) makes you feel too busy unselfishly spending time together and small displays of affection strengthen the bonds of marriage in ways a new house, car, or diamond ring cannot.

 Something Borrowed

 Once while preparing to teach a couples’ class about expectations, Jenny and Buster realized that even though they had been married for more than 10 years, they were guilty of letting misplaced expectations cause division within their own family. As they taught they learned strategies for communicating expectations. As they set out to pour into the couples in the class, God used the information they were sharing on expectations to not only strengthen their marriage, but also their relationships with family, friends, coworkers, and neighbors. 

Something Blue (something extra just for fun)

Buster has a brilliant strategy of finding out what’s going on with his wife. He has learned to listen to their children who are homeschooled because they are his wife most of the day. By listening to their kids, he can tell if she is stressed or simply needs encouragement. Buster says, “my daughters occasionally greet me when I come home and quietly inform me about something she is struggling with. Those are the days she especially needs to know she’s loved, cherished, and appreciated.

A question that Buster would like for his wife to answer is, “What is one aspect of our lives we could change to make our marriage and family stronger?” and a question that Jenny would like for her husband to answer is “What is something I can do to make your life easier?” When asked if they would do it all over again Jenny and Buster referred to a sign they have hanging in their bathroom, “If I had my life to do over again… I’d find you sooner so I could love you longer.” They said they would do it all over again in a heartbeat.

 

For the reader: What question would you like to ask this couple?

 

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