Emerson and Emily have been married for almost two and a half years. They are outrageously servant-hearted, kind, and beautifully comfortable and in sync. They are radiantly appreciative of each other, and see their marriage as a undeserved gift from God.
They love to do the same things, share a sense of humor, are both deep thinkers. But they're also a perfect compliment--she's a talker, he's a listener, she's busy-busy, he knows how to help her relax.
We didn't know it when we first contacted them, but they recently found out that Emily is expecting their first baby (!!!), so we got to take some photos for the announcement-to-family-members.
their marriage in one word
the best part of being married
Getting to live with your best friend. The oneness you are able to experience as a married couple--it's unlike any other relationship. Being that close and intimate with someone is such a blessing.
definition of love
An act of the will--a choice--to do the best thing for someone, regardless of your fluctuating emotions or how deserving they are.
favorite memories together
Reading the whole Bible together during their engagement. Honeymoon in Maui, running (3 half marathons!), until she broke her toe while playing Bingo (!?).
ways they've changed since getting married
They're a more mature team--focused on God and growing in their relationship with him.
He's getting better at reading her, and loving her in the ways she needs to be loved. Praying together has helped him pray more than he ever did before they were married.
She's learning to be more giving and servant-hearted. Giving for the sake of giving, instead for the sake of appreciation or applause.
That he loves her in ways that mean the most to her--he intentionally spends time with her, and gives her notes and texts that she gets all cheesy and excited about.
That she respects him and values his opinion. She doesn't hang onto his mistakes.
dealing with conflict
Instead of lashing back when you feel like you've been unjustly treated, take it on, and let it go. Or, if you're in the wrong, be willing to ask to forgiveness, depending on the Holy Spirit.
When communication is getting tough, she asks him to tell her "I love you and it will be okay." She helps him talk things out to resolution, even when it's hard
It's important to remember: he would never intentionally set out to hurt her. Looking at things from this perspective helps keep from overreacting and being hurt instead of just working things out.
They keep it alive--spending intentional time together to stay away from the whole "roommates" phenomenon.
Reading the Bible, doing devotionals, and praying together every day--prioritizing their priorities and staying on the same track. Spending time in the evening talking through things and praying for each other.
Learn what marriage really is. A good thing used for the wrong purpose will ruin the good thing. It's not just about happiness (it's a beautiful byproduct!), it's about bringing glory to God and being sanctified. If you don't know what marriage is for, you'll be disillusioned.
Be students of each other. Ways they receive love, what's most important to them, how they like their coffee.
ALWAYS REMEMBER TO
Speak each others' love languages.
"Marriage By Design" dvd by Voddie Baucham
"This Momentary Marriage" by John Piper
Don't hang onto things. Always be learning about your wife, and asking her questions--she's not the same person forever. Help her to feel safe and secure.
It's easy to assume you know how he's feeling--an entire tiff can arise from the fact that he's tired, and you assume he's mad/doesn't like you, which makes you go FINE I DON'T NEED YOU, which then results in a very confused husband. Instead of getting offended, try actually asking him.
"Date-night-in"--eating on the floor, watching a movie, and just getting to hang out together. Going out to coffee or breakfast. Used book store browsing.
practical things to keep God as the center of their marriage
Finding ways to serve together (they teach a children's Sunday School), devotionals everyday, reading the Bible and other books, just talking through things like sermons, books, and articles.
dreams and goals
Children! Prioritizing them and discipling them in the faith.
Serving in the church together in whatever ways God leads them.