Hi! Thank you to everyone who sent in questions about marriage for my mom, Lisa, to answer.
Lisa has been married to Bill for 30 years. They dated for a year and a half and were engaged for only two months. She was 20 and he was 26 when they married in July 1988. Bill pastors a church in the DC metro area, and they both have been in ministry their entire adult lives.
Lisa is the mother of three girls on earth, and three babies in heaven.
Her passions are her relationship with Jesus, being with her family, investing in leaders, laughing, clean pure water, sunshine, and coffee.
She grew up in California, Hawaii, Oklahoma, and now lives on the east coast.
Lisa was excited to answer these questions even saying, “oh this will be easy!” Until I continued to let her know the rest of them and she said, “oh wow, they really asked the tough ones.” So I was excited and curious how she would answer.
Q1. What is something that surprised you about marriage?
A1. It was weird feeling like I was moving into someone else’s house and not my own. I realized that I needed some familiarity from home to eventually make it feel like it was mine. I was so used to having a big family, so when it was just me and Bill, I found myself smothering him. I remember wanting to sit on my husbands lap, but he was needing space because he wanted to read. It was a good lesson for me to learn that he needed space, but that didn’t mean he didn’t want to be with me, it just meant that it made our one on one time that more special.
I was also surprised that you don’t spoon all night long. You can’t sleep like that. It gets too hot, and you want your own space when you sleep. The movies act like you spoon every night…it’s not like that.
Q2. Do you actually lose friends when you get married?
A2. Relationships naturally take a change, because you tend to hang out with people more who are in the same season of life with you. You find that you want to spend time with your husband more, and your single friends usually try to give you more space. It can feel like rejection, but you have to be intentional with the friendships that you want to maintain. It’s good to reach out to your friends and not wait for others to reach out to you. People usually try to be sensitive when you get married by giving you space, but they don’t realize you’re still wanting to hang out. So, just be intentional!
Q3. What was the most challenging thing during the first year of marriage? How do you deal with jealousy?
A3. For me my insecurities translated into extreme jealousy. The first several early years of our marriage, the most difficult things we would come back to was my insecurity that my husband would find another woman attractive and be drawn away from me. My husband was a pastor and women would come up to him and talk to him and hug him. He was doing nothing wrong but I would ignore him and not look at him in the eyes. I had to finally come to a place where I said to God and my husband that I had trust that no matter what I am loved. I realized and knew that my husband desired to glorify God. Even if the worst thing happened, I knew that I would be okay because my heart belongs to God, and I am responsible to how I treat my husband before God. There has to be trust in a marriage. Bill has never given me cause to be insecure, he is one of the most pure hearted, faithful men out there. My own heart was conflicted with sin and fear, and this caused me to project my own issues onto him.
Q4. How do you study scriptures, pray and keep each other accountable?
A4. We have a unique life in that we are in the ministry together. Bill is studying scriptures daily and preparing for sermons. We don’t study scriptures together, nor do we do devotionals together. We share what God is doing and saying in our lives. We pray together as we talk to one another, and break out into prayer during our daily relationship and conversations. It’s not a “set aside” time because it is a natural lifestyle. We both individually take time to spend with the Lord everyday. Some days I get distracted and miss my time with God. Those days are not ones to hide or feel discouraged by, just get back up and continue. Sometimes when I am down, my husband will be strong and an encouragement to me, and vice versa.
Q5. How do you keep marriage from “burn out” and how do you keep the spark?
A5. It is important to be honest with your thoughts and recognize that if your expectations are not being met then maybe you too are not giving in the relationship. A lot of the times when we feel we are in need, it’s possible they too are feeling that. So focus on one another’s love languages. Humor is so important. If you can make one another laugh it can keep life joyful. Believe the best in one another, take vacations or mini trips that are fun. It is so important to realize little things can become resentment and then it can build to bitterness which can kill every spark there ever was. Get help from godly counselors or pastors because you are not alone. This may seem simple but it’s so valuable, hug each other EVERY day without letting go for awhile, no matter where you are and no matter who sees you. It is good for your children to see you hug. When you talk to one another, listen to your spouse. Reach out and touch your spouse. Pray for your spouse. It protects you both from growing resentment.
Q6. Are you always on the same page with physical intimacy, and what do you do if you’re not?
A6. It’s natural in relationships to go through different seasons of more or less physical intimacy. It’s very important that you always respond to your spouse with kindness and affection, and don’t use terms of, “I’m tired,” “I have a headache…,” or excuses that may come up. Those will come across as rejection.
One of the best ways to avoid hurt feelings and resentments is to communicate things when it’s not emotional. Talk about expectations. Always respond in love. Giving love to your spouse will never be something you regret. Don’t look at it as trying to get something out of your spouse, but rather what you can give, and ultimately both of you will be satisfied.
There are times and seasons when you have new borns and toddlers and you’re exhausted, or stress in work can cause issues in intimacy because you don’t feel like doing anything. Rest is so important, getting out and doing fun things is also vital.
Q7. How do you continue to work TOGETHER as a couple? Cooking, Cleaning, Gardening, etc.
A7. From the beginning of our relationship we both would thank the other one for ANYTHING that was done. That created an atmosphere of serving one another and being thankful for anything that one of us ever did. We naturally fell into certain roles for chores, but we have both serve each other in all things because it is all our responsibility together. I mow, he pulls the weeds. I love mowing. I do the laundry, he does the dishes. We both cook, I do the sides, he does the meat. He does what he’s good at and I do what I am good at. Some things we do because it has to be done, not because we like it. We don’t get frustrated when the other doesn’t do something because it’s both of our responsibility. We help each other out.
Q8. How do you deal with expectations for the wedding night?
A8. It is important to recognize that you’re with the person that you love the most. Let the expectation be that you’re being yourself and you’re loving each other. Have a sense of humor. Don’t try to be “sexy” cause it feels weird. Just be natural. The movies make it seem like it’s some uncontrolled thing. But the reality is you’re tired after your wedding, hungry, and just wanting to be together. Just start by cuddling, and talking, be comfortable. Don’t try to perform.
The night of our wedding there was so much anticipation and nerves. We had a special honeymoon suite with a Jacuzzi in the room. We decided it would be a great idea to use the jacuzzi because we were so tired. We didn’t put towels on the steps that lead out of the jacuzzi but it was very slippery, and I took my first step. I fell into the splits on my butt, naked, in front of my new husband. Well, that broke the ice. We laughed until we cried. That was not how I envisioned my wedding night, but it was so funny and makes for a great story now.
Q9. What are the most important things about marriage?
A9. Keep Christ centered and focus on loving one another. Learn to communicate about emotional issues when they are not emotional so that you can handle difficulties when they come. Recognize that marriage is the most important thing in your life, after God, and you have to protect it with everything that you have. Forgive. Give grace. Don’t allow the little things to become big things which then can cause resentment. Surround yourself with godly influences that can help you grow so that you always have people to go to. Marriage is wonderful, highly recommend it. I was resting my head on my husbands shoulder the other day, and I realized I felt the same way as when I would lay my head on his shoulder 30 years ago when we were dating. It’s so special to love one another, modeling it after Christ’s love, which is unconditional.
Alright guys, thanks so much for sending in these awesome questions, and thank you Lisa for answering them!
Thanks for reading,