Scott & Shelton Oakley Hersey Revisit Their Vows

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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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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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Thor & Jenny Erlingsson Revisit Their Vows

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To Have

Jenny describes her husband Thor as having unwavering enthusiasm, positivity, and joy. “Even when he is down, he is still hopeful and I love that!”  

To Hold

When this wife of 7 years is in her husband’s arms she feels secure, thankful, and full.

For Better

The Erlingssons admit that if there was anything they could do better in their marriage it would be scheduling date nights. “It’s hard with young kids and also busy schedules but we think we need to say no to other things more, to say yes to spending more “fun” time together.”

For Worse

When asked about the worst year of their marriage Jenny responds, “Hmm, maybe the 1st year only because there was so much change and so much that we were learning about each other. Even with that, I can’t even call it a bad year, we were just transitioning into being one, had 3 boys in the house, went through a miscarriage, etc so there was a lot going on.”

For Richer

Anyone who knows the Erlingssons can clearly see that their marriage is rich in laughter, long-suffering, friendship, understanding, faith, intimacy, and joy.

 

For Poorer

When there is poor communication in the Erlingsson household Jenny states, “The house is quieter. When that happens there are walls up. But that was earlier in our marriage. We have really been strategic about being real and open so that walls don’t go up.”

 

In Sickness

When asked about walking through sickness, this family hasn’t had to walk through much. However, the sickness that they have walked through has been significant. Their son has allergies. “You hate to see your child dealing with so much.”  But the benefit is that it has made them more prayerful and attentive concerning their kids and Mr. Erlingssons allergic reactions.

In Health

The way they maintain the health of their marriage is by seriously “keeping Christ at the center.”

 

To Love

Jenny shares that her perception of love is different after marriage than it was prior to. She has realized what covenant really is. “Choosing to agree with the Lord’s design and intention and choosing to love even in the mundane of every day.”

 

To Cherish

“Cherish” means to build up. Thor builds up his wife by always encouraging her, calling her beautiful even when she doesn’t feel like it, pushing her forward and releasing her to walk in the fullness of her calling.

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Til Death Do Us Part

The thought of death makes this beloved bride appreciate her husband’s role in their family.  “My children have a wonderful father and I have an amazing husband that I never want to take for granted.”

 

Something Old

When asked to share some old school advice Thor encourages men to “recognize your wife’s dream, so that you can support her and push her to do it.” He firmly believes husbands should set their wives up to succeed.

 

Something New

Thor’s new school advice is to “Never stop dreaming or moving forward. Always be willing to take risks. It keeps you motivated, on fire, and moving forward.”

 

Something Borrowed

Advice Thor borrowed early on his marriage comes from one of his spiritual mentors, Mark Stearns. “Make sure your wife is always taken care of.”

 

Something Blue (Something extra just for fun!)

Thor who is extremely passionate about worship encourages couples to “Learn to dwell in the Lord’s presence.” When asked what question Mr. Erlingsson would like for his wife to answer, he responds, Are you ready for the next adventure?” Jenny’s question for her husband is, “What is your favorite thing about me?” If this lovely couple had the chance to do it all over again Thor says, he would have “gotten married earlier.” And Jenny shares with a smile, “Saved more money when we had more money, lol.”

 

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

 

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