Welcome to our September Q&A where we try to answer some of your questions about marriage, family and walking with the Lord. We clearly aren’t experts on any of these topics, mostly we’re just real people who love relating to you! You can watch the Instagram highlight here!
How did you prepare your relationship for children?
We did a marriage counselling tune up specifically about children. We wanted to address a few things in our marriage and we just did about three sessions. Other than that, we read some books and said, “I love you - we’re in this together!”
What are your favorite practices for setting the tone in your home?
Robert has decided to be the “chief repenter” in our home. He sets the example for everyone. When we make mistakes, we apologize and we try to make it right.
Also, we have some sayings or phrases that we frequently say. Robert likes to ask in teachable moments, “What is everyone worthy of?” and the boys have been taught that it’s “dignity, honor and respect.” We also use the catechism answers along with scripture to guide and teach. We frequently remind our boy of how and why we love them.
I like to use the phrase “Telling the truth makes it better, telling a lie makes it worse” for dealing with little moments where one of the kids may not be telling the truth.
Every family settles into phrases that naturally come out. We’ve never had a “what is our family about” meeting; we’ve just tried things out and course-corrected along the way. We’ll add to this as our kids get older. Certain principles and ideas that matter to you will set the tone for what matters to your family.
What is something about marriage you’ve changed your mind on after getting hitched?
I theoretically knew marriage wasn’t about me, but 10 years in, I feel that in my bones. Marriage is a chief way I’m being sanctified. It’s a regular opportunity to serve someone else and display the beauty of Christ and the church.
Robert’s view of male headship has changed a little during our marriage. If we can’t agree on something, it’s an indicator that we shouldn't do anything yet. This approach has really helped us! He values my opinion and wants to arrive at a decision we both agree on, being led by the Holy Spirit.
If you were going to have a different business (not jewelry), what would it be?
Robert would like to be a landscape architect! (I didn’t know this about him!) I’d have a cut flower business. Looks like we’re a match in a dream world too!
For real, he’d have a business assistant company, helping new business owners get their business off the ground. He’s such a champion of other people’s ideas.
I think I’d be a life coach or an author.
How did you take time to talk and learn about each during the busy time of engagement and working?
You just have to do it! Life doesn’t slow down. You have to prioritize.
I recently heard this analogy about juggling glass and plastic balls. Balls will always have to fall, but you have to keep the glass ones in the air. A marriage is a glass ball. You might have to drop a plastic work ball to hold the glass.
The Bible story of Martha and Mary is a helpful story. Entering into a covenant relationship with someone else is more important than your job. We can all only pour out what has been poured into us. We’ll experience burnout if we don’t have other people pouring into us. In a marriage relationship, your spouse should be one of those people.
Advice for when your life gets hard and your faith is shaken?
The Puritans had a phrase that said, “Pray until you pray.”
We would advise the same: worship until you worship, believe until you believe. You just make a decision to stick to your faith and ride out the valley of shadow.
Try this illustration: Someone was setting off on a plane. They went through a storm full of clouds and rain and then got above it all to the glorious sun. Of course, the sun was always there, but they needed to get through the storm to see it.
You need community for this. Make sure you’re a part of a local church or body of believers. I re-read books of the Bible until the message sinks in. We just trust that God is not going to leave us, that He uses suffering and sorrow in a beautiful way.
There are also times when we’re working for future fruit. Right now at home, we’re working in my literal flower garden. There’s nothing in my garden beds, but we’re working the soil for the fruit that will be coming in a few months time. We still do the work now! Even when you don’t feel like the Lord is near, stay in the Word, memorize the verses - the fruit will come.
What would be your advice for someone struggling with assurance of salvation?
Robert lived this for many years. He re-dedicated his life so many times as a child. Assurance comes from the Holy Spirit as you feel the kindness of the Lord calling you to repentance.
There are times when you don’t feel it! In those seasons, call the Lord up on His promises - to never leave you or forsake you - to honor His promise that whoever has been placed in His hand, no one will take them out. Rely and count on these promises. Ask the Holy Spirit to make Himself known to you.
We have to trust the Lord to do the work He said He did.
I think that using the word ‘feel’ can be misleading. Salvation isn’t always an experience and we can put too much weight on needing to ‘feel’ it.
I wish I could sit down with you to hear your why. Do you feel like you’re not good enough to earn salvation? Are you falling back into a sin pattern? My encouragement for you is to meet with someone you trust to walk this out together.
Tips for baby proofing your home?
Put locks on all the dangerous cupboards! We try to keep our home kid-friendly. We don’t have a ton of breakable items. We also set boundaries on what’s okay to touch and not touch. We let our kids touch the shiny new thing and then their interest wanes. Sometimes we say “no touch” and enforce that. Our kids don’t need allowance for all areas. There’s no need for them to play in the fireplace, the litter box, the stove or Robert’s office. The children need boundaries, but don’t make your house unlivable. It’s made to be lived in.
How do you show respect to your spouse?
We had an example today: I could have handled a situation myself in a way that Robert wouldn’t love OR I could ask for prayer to help respect him here even if his way was different to what I’d do.
Robert is aware of how he treats me in front of our boys. We don’t mind having an argument in front of our kids, but we try to demonstrate patience, respect, kindness and repentance. Our body language also demonstrates respect. We treat others the way we want to be treated and we love one another. Respect is a natural outcome of seeing someone else made in God’s image.
Thoughts on date night!
Robert thinks people put too much pressure on date nights - like it’s the thing that makes or breaks your marriage. If you’re living your week in such a way that date night is the only time to connect, your week is the problem, not your date night. Admittedly, he works from home and we connect daily - we’re privileged! Ultimately, we’d recommend you to figure out a way to make your week more enjoyable.
Also, Robert doesn’t need a lot as far as needing to try out the newest restaurant or the latest adventure. He isn’t longing for that on a date night. We get takeout every Tuesday and eat it after our kids go to bed. We’re intentional with our few hours in the evening together. We try to schedule a date night out once a month alone and once a month with another couple (this is my date night of choice). We do dinner, errands, and then home before it’s too late so we can enjoy some relaxation time at home.
Maybe this just sets the bar a little lower. The point is to love one another. Find time for one another at home on a daily basis. And we try to teach our kids to respect the times when mommy and daddy need to talk.