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 Madelinegot 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 startdoing 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 1 month….what!?)
Buying/decorating a house
Reading/listening to books
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 fleefrom hard conversations. Over the last few years, I have been able toget over the conflict and laugh about itwithin 10 minutes.”- Larry
How? Connecting with God to becomehealthier 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 atoy (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 getthe 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 oldmarriage! 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 preferences, I 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 inme and in the directionI take our family.” -Larry
How did Madeline do this?
Encouragement: always more encouraging then critical
Leading with encouragement in moments ofconflict
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 welove 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!
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!
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].