Melvin & Toya Poplar Revisit Their Vows

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To Have

Though he is a rapper and an alpha male, Toya sees her husband Melvin as a nerdy guy who talks to himself. He is always “dadgineering” some brilliant new idea. He has a particular way that he prefers things to be done. She is well aware that his idiosyncrasies would drive most women crazy but she thinks they’re cute and finds herself more attracted to him because of he of his uniqueness. His quirks confirm that Melvin Poplar Jr. is the perfect guy for her.

 

To Hold

These high school and college sweethearts have been married now for 18 years.  When Melvin holds Toya in his arms she says she experiences healing from life’s hurts, safety from life’s harms, and comfort from life’s crazy. Toya considers herself to be a good wife but is always seeking to be a better helpmeet. One area she would like to “do better in” is to not take any phone calls when he is home. Life is short and time is precious. The Poplars want their home to be a sacred space for them to reconnect, recalibrate, and renew their love for one another, daily.

 

For Better or for Worse

“2011 was the worst year of our marriage, but the best year for our family. It was the year we opened our home and heart to adoption,” said Toya. Their boys are a blessing, but meeting their needs the first year was the heaviest burden they had ever carried. Imagine adopting a 1, 2, and 3, year old, when you already have 3 children ages 9, 11, and 13. Melvin started working a second job to offset adoption expenses. So his wife recalls that even when he was present, he was a “sleep-deprived” version of himself. Additionally, he was renovating their kitchen and if you’ve ever renovated a kitchen, you can only imagine how stressful that must’ve been for a family of 8. Their boys came to live with them in September. By November 11, Toya’s doctor told her she was a “walking heart attack.”

 

For Richer

The Poplars admit that their marriage is rich in laughter, long-suffering, friendship, understanding, faith, intimacy, and forgiveness. Some of the ways they maintain the health of their marriage is through having a date night every Tuesday. One of their favorite marriage maintenance routines is attending monthly marriage workshops with a local group called, Marriage More Abundantly. They try their best to both staycation (local hotel stays) and vacation often. They believe that communication is essential to maintaining the health of a marriage. The Poplars are aware that health is wealth so they try to eat pretty clean, workout often, play in the yard with their kids, go hiking, dance, reminisce, occasionally watch TV, and pray together daily.

For Poorer

When there is poor communication between this couple before they do anything they pray first and ask God to keep the enemy from twisting their words. Then they revisit everything that led up to the communication breakdown… Thoroughly discussing how and when things went awry so they can reconcile and reconnect.

 

Through Sickness and In Health

The Poplars have been through a lot. Toya has had some surgeries and had to overcome a few health concerns over the years. In 2010 she had double foot surgery. Her husband literally and figuratively carried her for 6 weeks. Imagine being totally dependent on someone for all your basic needs. He did everything from going to the bathroom to assisting her with bathing. The way he cared for her was unlike anything she had ever witnessed. She saw the perfect picture of what it looks like for a husband to love his wife like Christ loves His bride.

 

To Love

Before they were married Toya had fanciful ideas of love and marriage. In high school and college, they had a long distance relationship so much of their time spent together was over vacations and holidays. In Toya’s mind, she thought marriage would consist of constant surprises, continual romance, and perpetual fun. In hindsight, she sees that as a conditional perception of love. She now knows that love is far more in-depth than that. She says, “Love is more like everything around you is going wrong but you know somehow, someway that everything is going to be all right.”

 

To Cherish

The word “cherish” means to build up. Melvin builds his wife up by telling her she’s smart when she feels stupid, convincing her that she is strong when the enemy amplifies her weakness and seeing her as lovely when she feels like a hot mess. When doubt fills her heart and she is drowning in darkness, her husband sees her light and reminds her that she is enough. Each day he sends their family text messages that contain scripture and an encouraging word. Each album he has recorded contains a song that he has dedicated to his wife. Every morning he prays for her and each night he holds her close. She says, “His love lifts me. Daily he works hard to support our family so I don’t have to.”

 

Til Death Do Us Part

“The thought of death makes me appreciate how Melvin pours out his life for our family. Our oldest son recently made the statement, “Dad is the glue that holds us all together. If something happened to him, I don’t know what we would do.”” Toya shares, the same sentiments as their 19-year-old son. The thought of death motivates her to savor every second in her husband’s presence and honor him so strongly that he would love her long after she is gone.

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Something Old Something New

Mr. Poplar’s old-school advice to husbands is, “If mommy is happy, everyone is happy.” And likewise the inverse… “If mommy is unhappy everyone is unhappy.” When asked to share some new school advice on marriage Melvin simply states, “happy wife, happy life.” One of the most endearing aspects of The Poplar’s relationship is that they met so young (16 & 17 years old)  they have shared many first time experiences. Melvin advises young couples is to enjoy their “firsts” together.

 

Something Borrowed Something Blue

A marriage quote that has greatly impacted Melvin over the years is “try to out serve one another.” His primary love language is acts of service so this advice is something he practices daily. When asked, “What is a question you would like for your husband to answer?” Toya’s response was, “What do you think of when you see me, from across the room?” When Melvin was asked, “What question would you like for your wife to answer?” He declined to answer because he said his response was too X-rated. After 18 years the Poplars are still going strong. If they had the chance to do it all over again Melvin says, he wouldn’t change a thing. Toya shares that she would want to, “Watch more sunrises and sunsets together.”

 

For the reader: If you have a comment, compliment, or question for us please share 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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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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Nathan & Stephanie Faught Revisit Their Vows

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To Have

The trait that Stephanie feels makes Nathan uniquely hers is that he is a “Super Dad.” She explains, “I have never met another man that delights in his children and wife like my man. There is no place he would rather be than with us, and knowing someone desires to be with you that much is one of life’s most incredible feelings.”

To Hold

When Stephanie is in Nathan’s arms, she feels calm, connected and accepted.

For Better or For Worse

The Faughts feel like an area they could do better in their marriage is, “Coming to the Lord TOGETHER more often.” When asked about the worst year of their marriage the Faughts responded, “We don’t feel like there was the worst year, but our hardest years were the years were following the birth of our first and third son. They both were very sick and cried all the time! We were often sleep deprived and running low on energy, so it was hard to give of ourselves to one another fully. Even so, the Lord was always faithful to guard our marriage and keep us close.”

For Richer or For Poorer

Nathan and Stephanie have found their marriage to be rich in laughter, long-suffering, friendship, understanding, faith, intimacy, consistency, and gratitude. When there is poor communication in the Faught household “Lots of inaccurate assumptions are made, and we are often left feeling disconnected.” 

Through Sickness and in Health

The Faughts have fought through great trials with sickness. “Our third son had a digestive disorder that made him very ill and extremely unhappy. He cried MOST of the time and was in constant pain. We desperately asked the Lord to heal him and end our suffering. His healing did not come immediately, but the Lord was WITH US! Each day was a challenge. There were days I was so exhausted, I didn’t know how I would have the energy to care for the baby and our other children. Nate would get home from work and quickly jump into action while I escaped to the shower. That year, Nate saw me at my worst, and yet he loved me the most! Such a trying time could have torn us apart, but instead, the Lord used it to strengthen my level of trust in Nate and to show us how to better care for ourselves and our marriage.” 

The Faughts maintain the health of their marriage by creating a routine and maintaining an early bedtime. “Once our boys are in bed, we guard our time, so we can consistently connect. Don’t underestimate the power of an at-home date!”  

To Love and to Cherish

Stephanie shares how her perception of marriage has changed over the years, “I used to think that marriage was all about usour dreams, our love for one another, our happily ever after. Now, I realize how marriage is all about God’s Kingdom- His purposes, HIs love, His plans, His molding us through the many moments of marriage.”

Nathan cherishes his wife by listening to her. He loves her where she is. He tells her how much he values her. He challenges himself for her benefit. He trusts God, even when it’s hard. He never makes her feel weak, and he expresses his gratitude often.

 

Til Death Do Us Part

When asked to share how death makes her appreciate her husband Stephanie replies, “I can’t imagine doing life without him. He makes me a better woman. I’m extremely passionate, too easily anxious, and a bit of an overachiever. His nature is steady and calm, so he balances me out.”

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Something Old Something New

Nathan’s old school advice to husbands is, “Never speak poorly of your wife.” His new school advice is to “Always tell your wife how beautiful, irreplaceable, and valuable she is to you and how you could not do life without her.”

Something Borrowed Something Blue

His borrowed advice is to “Love your wife through all the different seasons of life.” He adds, “Find activities you can do with your wife that you both enjoy.” The question that he would like for his wife to answer is, “What could I do on a daily basis that would encourage you?” Stephanie’s question that she would like her husband to answer is “What is your favorite thing about our marriage?”

         

If the Faughts had the chance to do it all over again, Stephanie says, “I would feel more secure in my husband’s love. I spent the early years of our marriage concerned that if he saw my weaknesses, he could not love me the same. I WAS WRONG! Oh, how he has loved me through my good, and my bad and seeing it has only increased our love!” Nathan says, he would have learned to consider what his wife needed more in the early years of their marriage.

 

For the reader: If you have any questions or encouragement for the Faughts feel free to share in the comment section 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.

David & Neshonne McDonald Revisit Their Vows

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To Have

When asked “What trait does David have that makes you know he is yours?” Neshonne answers, “David is mentally strong. He has the tendency to think decisions through and be much more cautious than I am, especially when it comes to financial decisions. I often refer to him as my “balance.” He will analyze, break down, and consider all the different outcomes before making a decision. It has served us well over the years.” 

To Hold

When Neshonne is in David’s arms, she experiences peace, calm, and serenity.

For Better or for Worse

The McDonalds feel like they could do a better job of spending more time in prayer together.  “The worst year in our marriage was the 5th year. It was the beginning of a downward spiral that ultimately ended in divorce some years later.”

For Richer or for Poorer

Their relationship is rich in long-suffering. When there is poor communication Neshonne says, “My mind fills in the blanks or creates a scenario that is much more complicated and a misunderstanding can go from a fender bender to train wreck.

Through Sickness and in Health

In year 6 of their marriage, David’s mother was diagnosed with Breast Cancer. “We relocated back to TN to be closer during her last days. It was easy being there for him. I wanted to be as strong as humanly possible. His mother was his world, and they were very close.” During this time Neshonne says that she listened more than she spoke and held her husband as much as she could. “After David’s mother passed, we endured a long, emotional walk back to faith.”

The way that David and Neshonne have learned to maintain the health of their relationship this time around is through communicating more and MORE effectively.I don’t hold grudges or “stay in my feelings” to validate my point. He opens up more and feels more comfortable sharing his true thoughts and emotions.” They CHOOSE to deal with conflict differently, and it has made a world of a difference. 

To Love and to Cherish

Nashonne confesses, “Before marriage, I’m not sure what I thought love was, but now, I know it is a totally selfless, free expression of grace and forgiveness that induces, but does not demand, reciprocity.” David cherishes Neshonne by believing in her when she doesn’t believe in herself.  

Til Death Do Us Part

Neshonne’s thoughts on death… “On this side of 40, I can say that death is much more of a concern than it was 20 or even 10 years ago. Every day, my goal is to not take anything for granted- especially this time around. God gave me to David to keep me balanced. He keeps me focused and in the middle. He is a provider and a problem solver. He is the anchor for our family.” Even though she is well aware that death is inevitable the very thought of not having David around throws her off-kilter.

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Something Old Something New

Although David’s old school advice is the familiar phrase “Happy wife, happy life.” His new school advice was not so familiar, so I looked up the meaning to “Bands will make her dance.” If you want a good laugh, I suggest you look up the meaning of this new school advice.

Something Borrowed Something Blue

David’s borrowed advice is “Take care of home first.” He advises husbands to “Give until it hurts and then give some more.” David would like for Neshonne to answer the question… Neshonne’s question for David is “How can I love you better?” When asked the question, “If you had the chance to do it all over again what would you do differently?” The McDonalds responded, “We actually did get the chance to do it all over again. It’s not perfect, but it’s perfectly imperfect for us.” They are often asked the question, “Is it better the second time around?” Their response is an emphatic “YES! I wish that I would not have given up so easily the first time. I wish that I had more patience, better communication, more self-confidence, and self-worth back then. I wish that I understood the value of love, family, and commitment. I wish that I knew the power of my vows and trusted the God who graced us for those 12 years of marriage.” They know their years together would have been different. “Today, I am so grateful for the Second Chance, our Mulligan! We won’t waste it. It is truly a gift to receive the most Divine Reconciliation.”

 

For the reader: What question do you have for this couple?

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Chad & April Boddie Revisit Their Vows

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To Have

April Boddie describes her husband Chad as big, strong, and soft.

To Hold

When she is in his arms she feels secure, loved, and like one giant woosah.”

 

For Better or Worse

Something that the Boddies would benefit from doing better in their marriage is being intentional about getting away together as a couple. The Boddies consider the years they were separated the worst years of their marriage. April believes that anytime you try to go against God it’s a fight. You can either choose to fight for your marriage or fight against God. She highly recommends that you fight for your marriage.

 

 

For Richer or Poorer

Mr. & Mrs. Boddie consider their marriage rich in long-suffering. In their 12 years of marriage, they have noticed that if poor communication is present everything dies when you don’t feed it with words.

 

Through Sickness and in Health

When April had back surgery her husband bathed her, fed her, came home every lunch break to check on her, he walked beside her when she could not walk. The way the Boddies maintain the health of their marriage is by spending time talking, praying, and serving together.

 

To Love and To Cherish

Before Mrs. Boddie got married she admired perfect love. Now that she is married she admires imperfect love. Mr. Boddie cherishes his wife by cooking for her, cleaning the house, and never making her feel bad when she is too tired from working to do all of the above.

 

Til Death Do Us Part

When asked to talk about how death makes her appreciate her spouse April responded with “it’s too painful of a subject to fathom.”

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Something Old Something New

When asked to share some old school advice Chad says his uncle Ronnie advised him to always play footsies with his wife. Chad’s new school advice is to always support your wife in whatever she does. His borrowed advice is “happy wife happy life.”

Something Borrowed Something Blue

Chad suggests that husbands always make time for a date night. April would like for her husband to answer the question, “how do you really like my hair?” Chad’s question for his bride is, “what can I do to keep our love going strong?” If the Boddies had the chance to do it all over again the one thing they would do differently is have a wedding.

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

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