Today I'm delighted to introduce Alexandra for this weeks feature of Marriage, Love and Fun.
I met Alexandra through blogging and though we've never met in person our corresponding has been a real treat. She's an incredibly talented party designer with beautiful taste. You must MUST go over to her blog, Alexandra's Joys and check out some of her work. You'll see what I'm talking about.
1) Tell us about how you and Chris met...
Chris and I have a fun story of being set up by friends. We have so many mutual friends, we are still amazed that we hadn't met sooner in life, but we're a great example that God has couples meet at the perfect time.
I was a server while in college and our mutual friends arranged for Chris to casually stop in at work to meet me. That night, I remember walking by the front door of the restaurant, spotting him, flashing him a big smile and saying hello. He apparently doesn't remember just staring blankly back at me with wide eyes not saying a word. When he finally collected himself, we hit it off and I extended the invitation to a BBQ the next day.
The BBQ was fun and we got to know each other a little more. I agreed to dinner a few nights later and our first official date was wonderful. The following day, I remember telling my mom all about Chris and our date and how I didn't think he could ever do anything to upset me (apparently that's the kind of crazy you talk when you're smitten). Well, five years later and about 500 fights later, I wouldn't change a thing. In one week we met, hung out a few times with friends, went on one date and I knew I was going to marry him.
Although our meeting was a whirlwind and we knew very quickly we were going to marry one another, we ended up dating for about four years. It was fun and amazing times, mixed with some very challenging and tough times. We experienced a lot as a dating couple and I believe it only better prepared us for our marriage.
In August of 2009, I was down in Texas visiting my sister for a little getaway. I was blissfully off shopping and getting a pedicure, while Chris flew to Texas and set up the perfect surprise proposal. We were married in June 2010 and although it felt like we went through a lot to arrive at that point, walking down the aisle, I felt as smitten as I was that first week we met.
2) What's been one or some of the unexpected challenges you were faced with at the beginning of your marriage?
We celebrated our one year anniversary this June, so it still feels like we are so new to marriage. But I think one of our biggest learnings has come from getting used to life as partners. The we versus the I. We were both used to making independent financial decisions, career decisions, everyday household decisions, that coming together and doing this as one was a big adjustment. It's that tendency to want to be selfish that gets in the way of a good, healthy and honest relationship.
3) Now the good stuff, how have you kept the romance alive in your marriage?
I think the biggest thing is communicating your expectations. I love romance, flowers, dinners, candles and just being treated like a girlie girl, and Chris knows this. Communicating what 'floats your boat' :) let's your partner spoil you in these ways instead of making them guess.
Going on getaways is a big one for us. We love relaxing and being together when we're out of town, not distracted by daily life. We love exploring new cities together, trying new restaurants, shopping (I got him hooked!) and just making memories in new surroundings.
When at home, I try to keep things special. Last night, Chris was out playing basketball, so I put on a dress, set a pretty table with candles and made a nice dinner. We enjoyed a great meal, wine and conversation. It may sound a little 40s housewife but I really believe in paying attention to all the little details in your marriage and home.
4) Any advice you want to give to newly couples?
We continue to work on our communication and trying to understand the differences between men and woman. Chris and I have extremely different personalities but it's why we work so well. It's also why we can disagree so well. Continue to learn about one another.
Chris and I try to pray at night before we go to bed. It's a simple habit but it's also an intimate thing to do with your partner. We pray for our family, friends and our relationship.
And lastly, some of the best marriage advice I was given was to simply, be nice. It's easier to be mean or rude to the person you love the most. Your spouse should be the person you are the nicest too.