Marriage March: Larry & Madeline Jones

How To Connect With Your Spouse During The Holidays

Any Muscles Yet?

We are half way through March. Are you still with us? Marching builds strength. Does your marriage have muscles? 

This week we spent time with Larry and Madeline Jones. We traveled all the way to Arkansas just to hear their wisdom and learnings from their 5 years of marriage!  

The Marriage March Continues! 

Larry and Madeline got married 5 years ago on April 29th  and have two amazing kids. Truett is 2 and Everly is 7 months old! Our first grand baby and first granddaughter, as you can see they are all about the first!  

What is Currently Working in Your Marriage?  

Madeline shared how she had a fear of looking up after 10 years of marriage and having nothing in common with Larry. This led her to spend time with God. He challenge her to start doing things with Larry!  

“God said, “start doing things your spouse likes!” So, we did!” – Madeline 

Here are a few things they have done together in 2021:  

  • Read through the WHOLE Bible (in month….what!?)  
  • Buying/decorating a house 
  • Reading/listening to books 
  • Working out 
  • No negative talk 

They shared how doing things together created conversations and common ways to spend their time. So smart!  

What Are Some Things You Have Overcome? 

Communicating with each other is a challenge, but they both shared how they have seen growth in the first five years. Here is how Larry described it:  

“I thought we did a decent job in the first couple years, but I have gotten better at it because I can manage emotions in a healthier way. I tend to flee from hard conversations. Over the last few years, I have been able to get over the conflict and laugh about it within 10 minutes.”- Larry  

How? Connecting with God to become healthier and whole. 

Larry shared how as a single person, he thought he was healthy in God. Once he got married, all these new emotions flooded in and he didn’t know how to handle them 

I never had access to these specific emotions before. They got unlocked in engagement. Learning to process them with Madeline was helpful. She grew up with siblings who had a lot of emotions and she knew how to help me navigate them.” -Larry 

A sweet example they shared included Truett and Larry assembling a toy (Larry can build ANYTHING!). As Larry put it together, Madeline was holding Everly and entertaining Truett. Truett kept taking screws, putting them in his mouth, and distracting Larry. Larry started to feel frustrated because his goal was to get the job done. 

I am great at getting the task done, but terrible at managing relationships in the process. I kept getting frustrated at Truett and wasn’t enjoying him.” – Larry 

Madeline said at one point, “Larry, you are focused on the task, but missing Truett in the process.”  

“Five years ago, I would have been felt attacked and wanted to crawl into my bed and hide. In that moment, I was able to see the truth. I was missing Truett. I choose not be offended. I chose to enjoy the time with my son regardless of how long it took to finish the project. – Larry 

Here is what we took away from that:  

  • Allow the interruptions from your kids
    • They are more valuable then the task  
  • Receive the input from your spouse
    • They have a different perspective  

We love how Madeline was able to give an idea and Larry received it. As a trusted spouse, we can give another perspective with grace AND receive it without offense.   

We have intentionally made each other a safe place. When we have conflict, we hash it out, and move on. We believe in each other. We don’t have permission to go off, but when we do lose our self-control, the other spouse can filter it and find the heart behind the words.” -Madeline  

“I don’t always say things perfect or nice, but Larry still knows I love him and believes the best.” – Madeline 

“We have made it a point to believe the best in each other.” – Larry 

We have observed how they choose to have conflict and applied it to our 30-year old marriage! When the tension flares up, they process it, and then it is gone! It can feel tense and awkward in the moment, but ultimately they work it out!  

Bottom Line: It works to say what we think, hear each other out, and move on.  

How Have Kids Impacted Your Marriage?  

They both shared how pointless frustration has become to both of them. They see no point in it!  

“Being frustrated with a 2-year-old when he interrupts our “grown up” conversation is pointless.” – Larry 

They both felt conviction and decided to manage their expectations by:  

  • Giving full attention to babies when they are awake 
  • Once babies are asleep, focusing on the spouse 
  • Remain motivated to finish the day and get babies to bed early!  

The other main challenge kids created is parenting differently. Madeline shared how she doesn’t enjoy enforcing rules, especially ones she does not agree with.  

Ex. Larry asked to keep their new couches clean, but Madeline doesn’t mind dirty couches. She really doesn’t like telling Truett “no food on the couch!”  

Regardless of my preferencesI choose to respect Larry and our marriage by doing my best to uphold our household rules.” – Madeline 

How Do You Get Away?  

  • Try to set 1 night a week aside talk or play  
  • Trips at least once a year  
  • Watching shows (or cheesy romance movies) together

What Have You Learned About Yourselves?  

I need to be supported and championed. It gives me security in who I am as the man of the house. It gives me freedom to be who I am and not try to get approval from Madeline, or the kids. I love how she believes in me and in the direction I take our family.” -Larry 

How did Madeline do this?  

  • Encouragement: always more encouraging then critical  
  • Leading with encouragement in moments of conflict  
  • Ask Larry about what he is interested in and loving the things he loves  

If I am feeling stressed or not healthy, it is easy to find the one thing he didn’t do. If I am healthy, I am better at seeing all the amazing things he has done throughout the day!” – Madeline  

Bottom Line: When you make it not about you, great things happen with your marriage and your kids  

“I need SO MUCH HELP! I have been humbled with how often I have to ask for help. There have been so many times I have needed him to step in while I reset. I am not as independent as I thought.”- Madeline 

One thing we love about the Jones’ marriage is how good they are at taking care of themselves. Larry plays disc golf on Saturdays and Madeline takes long showers to “wash off the day.” It is beautiful because they know how to get refueled for their life. They live to overflow! 

Big Takeaways:  

  • Communicate!
    • Believe the best and speak it consistently  
  • Work through the inevitable conflict 
  • Champion your spouse  
  • Cherish each other and the moments together  
  • Choose to build your parenting style together 

If you are in your 1st, 15th, or 21st year of marriage we hope you are encouraged to work towards each other instead of away. 

What can you do to change your thinking? How can you take care of yourself, deepen your marriage relationships, encourage instead of be critical? How can you intentionally take your marriage to a stronger level this week? Let’s do it together!   

We Believe in You! Keep Going on the Marriage March!  

 

How To Connect With Your Spouse During The Holidays

If you have a question or a parenting issue that you’d like us to discuss in a future podcast, email us at [email protected].

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