Why Having Fun Comes First...

The other night, Tim and I made an appearance at a local Bridal Boutique, Remi Raine for their one year anniversary. We expected to show up, make the rounds to the vendors there, network and meet some new people, and see a few people we knew. One of the reasons I love Remi Raine is Emily. She is this amazing person who runs the social media and does photo shoots for them etc. She is a doll, and is awesome to work with. The shots below are her work! You can find here here>>> https://www.emilyvance.com/

 
 
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Anyway, that was what we were expecting from this evening. But I always expect fun, and new adventures wherever I go. I expect that I will be presented with fun opportunities, because I make fun a priority. So I was excited, but not really shocked, when Emily approached me part of the way through the evening and asked if I would like to walk in their fashion show happening later that night. I said “yes” of course, because that’s another thing I do. I say “yes” to things that I love, things I find fun, and things that are new. Walking in a fashion show, while not a new thing, was still something fun that I love. Then a few minutes later, she came rushing back asking if Tim would also like to be in the show to “walk me down the aisle” as the finale of the show. Fun is something he is working on (getting a lot better, but still working on) and sometimes he struggles to be spontaneous. But he agreed to walk with me. I think secretly he was hoping to be asked, but maybe that’s just me.

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Next, I was presented with a few dresses to choose from, and though none of them were really “my style,” I chose a beautiful dress and it was put with the other dresses for the show. When it was time for all the models to get dresses, I stood waiting for my turn. While I was gazing at all the gowns on the rack that had been labeled with names, I saw a dress that made my stomach flip flop. It had a vintage feel to it. It was perfect. But my name wasn’t on it. I wished for it to come to me if that was the dress I was meant to wear, and honestly- I believed it was. A minute later, my original dress got swapped out for another dress that they were hoping would fit me, and it was beautiful, but wasn’t “my dress.” I happily tried it on, knowing that somehow I would be wearing that beautiful vintage looking gown. Sure enough, the new dress was too big and from the other side of the dressing room door, Emily said, “Well, here! Now you get to wear that amazing dress you were looking at!” And I literally almost laughed out loud as I slipped the vintage flavored dress on and it fit PERFECTLY. Of course it did. Because I knew it would.

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Tim was a bit surprised when he saw me, since I was wearing a completely different dress than the one I sent back to the fitting rooms. I was all smiles, feeling like an absolute princess, knowing that I was supported in that moment, and knowing it was because I choose to have fun, and make having fun a priority. We both had so much fun, and we will remember this date night for a long time.

Are you uncomfortable yet??

Many people get super uneasy when you talk about making fun a priority. Because we’ve been so conditioned to believe that “nothing good comes easy”, that struggling is this badge of honor we wear in superiority, and that you work first-play later, we often put fun at the bottom of our priority list. We’ve learned to associate busy-ness, stress and riding the struggle bus with being responsible.

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What if these things weren’t prerequisites for your success? What if by believing your success in life was inevitable, and so you showed up in that energy? Instead of that energy of striving, of killing ourselves over being successful, what if what mattered was “how we show up” not “what are we doing”??

Show up expecting fun. Prioritize it. More fun= more money, better sex,…need I go on?? But seriously, make having fun the most important thing. Bringing that joy to all you do, will ensure that you’re open to only those things that serve you, that bring you more fun and more of all the good things that you get to have.

XOXO,

Ashley

Date Nights With My Baby

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You have probably heard many couples recommend date nights as a way to keep a relationship strong. Ashley and I echo that recommendation. But, what is the purpose of a date night? It is not just being together and eating a meal together, although that helps, it’s about being intentional in building your relationship. 

When you think of a “date night” you may think it always has to be something fancy. But the purpose behind a date night is what is important, not where you have the date. The purpose of a date night is to engage with one another in an intentional way to build your relationship. It’s not just about time spent together, it’s about being intentional with that time. 

Ashley’s and I’s date nights were not always this way. However, as we have grown we have seen the benefits of being open and vulnerable with each other about our strengths, our weaknesses, our desires, and our frustrations. Date nights give you both an opportunity to set undivided time to being together. That means not being on your phones and both being present for one another.  

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If you and your partner are not used to being vulnerable with each other, it will feel awkward at first. You are sharing deep parts of yourself and you want to feel accepted. The same goes for your partner. The conversation starters by Dear Young Married Couple found here, are a good place to start. 

It is a sort of dance that you do as a couple. You take a small step forward in sharing yourself and hope that your partner reciprocates. Then your partner takes a little bigger step forward and you try to reciprocate. On and on the dance goes. Sometimes one partner falters and you begin again, a little easier to get going this time than the last. 

As with many things in life, consistency and avoiding complacency are key. Never think that you and your partner have “made it.” Continue to grow personally and corporately. The best way to do that, is little by little over time. Sooner than you know it, you look back and see how much you have grown as a couple in the last five years. 

So give it a try. Next time you and your partner carve out time for one another, take a shaky step forward towards intimacy and see where you two go. 

-Tim


Why Do I Have To Tell You?

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Why do we always find it so romantic when our partner can “read our mind?” I think it’s because on a very basic level, we want to be known. But the honest truth is that we are human, and thus far- incapable of actually reading minds. We also tend to have a double standard when it comes to our mind reading expectations-

Me: “Why do I have to tell you? Why don’t you just know?”

But also me: “How would I even know that’s what you were thinking, Tim?? I’m not a mind reader!”

I never liked the idea that I had to tell Tim what I needed. Shouldn’t he just know? That would make life so much easier, wouldn’t it? My inner dialogue would go something like this, “I want Tim to tell me nice things about me, because I could use some encouragement right about now.”

Me: Why isn’t he noticing that I’m having a rough day?

Also me: I’m really good at just powering through, no one will even know I’m struggling.

Me: Why should I have to ask him to encourage me? Doesn’t he just naturally want to??

Also me: Maybe if I encourage him, he’ll return and then I’ll feel better.

Me: Well, now he feels great about himself and I am now not only having a rough day, but now I’m resentful.

Also me: He probably doesn’t think nice things about me if he isn’t saying anything.

Is this just me?

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I spent a lot of time chasing the “magic” in our relationship. You know, the phase where you’re just constantly affirming things, learning new things, and everything feels shiny and new and exciting. But the reality is, that is...a phase. (More on this in my next blog) The time eventually comes when it becomes imperative for you to communicate your needs to your person. So why is this so hard?

I think first off, many people are never really encouraged to express needs. Maybe they were told it was selfish to ask for things people didn’t naturally think of to give you. Maybe they were told they were unworthy of having what they wanted. Asking for things isn’t necessarily a safe bet. You’re risking what feels like a lot by putting yourself in this position of vulnerability. It’s scary. But if you want a functional relationship, you have to be brave enough to ask for it. Mind reading simply has no place in a marriage. I don’t think it ever becomes possible for your partner to consistently read your mind, but they can be observant, and make educated guesses. This requires both partners to equally be invested enough to not only communicate their needs and wishes, but to take note of the other person’s needs and wishes, so they can try for those educated guesses. Take the “magic” when it happens, but you must also be willing to settle in for the long haul and communicate.

A note for those who struggle with anxiety: Your Anxiety spends most of the time convincing you that: You’re not good enough to get what you want/need, you will be rejected if you ask, and your partner doesn’t care enough and that’s why you have to ask. Remind yourself that these are lies. Don’t allow Anxiety to call the shots. You can have a functional marriage, it is possible, and you are allowed to hope for and work for that.

-Ash


In Front of the Fire

Some of my favorite moments in my relationship with Ashley on a daily basis are the times when we are able to simply be together. No agenda, no project, only us.

I do not have a lot of memories from the early years of our marriage. My head was not in the right place and I rarely was in the moment. I was always looking for the next stage, the next job, school being done, our kids being a year older, etc. But, there is a moment I remember fondly.

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Getting To Know You...

I knew Ashley from track Sophomore year but I started getting to know her more in other places. The more I discovered about her, the more I became attracted to her.

This was Ash, just before junior year

This was Ash, just before junior year

We had a project in geometry together once. I went to her house to work on the project and I ended up staying for dinner. I got to meet her parents and her sisters for the first time. They were kind and welcoming.

We were in a church youth group together and went on a mission trip to Mexicali. I started to see Ashley’s heart for the poor and the needy. We danced next to each other in a “human video,” which was an early 2000s church thing. I remember dancing and laughing together, even though dancing in public was not my thing, I think I impressed her with my moves.

We started talking more. Junior year we had all of the same classes together. We always paired up in Forensics class solving mock crimes. She laughed at me because I could not figure out how to prick my finger to test my blood type. I kept poking the wrong part of my finger but I did not want to show how much it hurt because she poked her finger with ease and I did not want to get shown up. Finally she must have felt bad for me so she showed me where to poke on my finger to get enough blood.

I let her borrow my sweatshirt when she was cold. Pro tip: I would spray the inside of my sweatshirt before going to school with Axe Body spray, anticipating that I would let a girl borrow it when they were cold. That way when they put on the sweatshirt it would smell good.

Ash pictured here with her sisters, junior year

Ash pictured here with her sisters, junior year

When I look back at our classes together, we always seemed to be close by one another. She is beautiful physically, but what also attracted me to her was her compassion. She was friends with everyone, especially the kids that would have been considered outcasts in high school. I never heard her say a harsh word about anyone. I was safe with my preppy jock group and I did not venture far outside of that. She was adventurous and befriended whoever needed a friend. She did not judge, but took people as they were. She loved people better than I did. As an insecure high school kid, I think I knew that she would like/love me for who I was and that I did not have to be something I was not. I was what I think a lot of boys in high school want to be. I was smart, good looking, starter on the basketball team, and popular. But those things were not who I really was. I knew that Ashley would like me, even if I did not have all of those other things, and that is what drew me to her the most.

All of those things led to a conversation we had on Friday, February 13 that shaped the future of our relationship.

-Tim

The First Time I Saw You -Ash

I remember the first time I saw you.

It was freshman year in highschool and we were on a field trip to GCU. You and your friends were playing frisbee on the lawn and this girl Cait who had a crush on you at the time was remarkably how cute you were and pointing you out to us girls. I remember thinking you were really cute. Then at some point later on she sat you down at lunch and asked you out. You turned her down. I remember thinking, “Who turns Cait down? She's one of the prettiest girls in school.” And suddenly, you were super intimidating to me.

Sophomore year, I remember being so excited on the first day of school when you showed up in every single class I was in. I would just sit and stare at you all during class. I would sit and think, “I'm going to marry that boy.” I had it all planned out. Your dad, I found out, was a military chaplain so that was perfect. He could marry us in his uniform. As I sat observing, I began to notice you paid a lot of attention to this other girl, Bekah. You guys were just friends, but I could tell you liked her a lot.

We weren't really even friends at that point and I sent my best friend, Jess over to ask you what you thought of me. You told her you didn't like me “like that” but thought I was a cool girl.

Never ask questions you don't want the answer to.

I wanted to cry. Pretty soon thereafter, you started really hanging out with this girl, Liz. She was pretty, blond and super athletic. I felt like she was the opposite of what I was and that's what you wanted.  My heart hurt. I wondered if maybe being around you more, you would finally see the light and develop a crush on me, so I decided to join the youth group at the church where you and a few of our friends went. On my first night there, they announced the missions trip to Mexico and asked who would be interested in going. I shot up my hand thinking maybe you would be impressed by me volunteering to go.

You didn't even notice. But you did go on the trip, and I was so excited to get to spend some time with you without Liz there. On the drive down in a van full of girls, I remember sitting in the back listening to, “Stand By Me” I cried quietly to myself feeling very hopeless that we would ever be together. I begin to wonder if I should date someone else or move on. But no one else interested me.

In Mexico, we talked more and I felt like we were becoming friends. I knew I shouldn't get my hopes up, but you let me borrow your sweatshirt when I was cold one night. It smelled so good (Old Spice Pure Sport) and I thought, “Okay, maybe he likes me?” But no, you were just being a good guy and a gentleman. I still held onto a small shred of hope after that trip, but then track season started.

I joined because you and Liz were joining and I wanted to keep tabs and maybe impress you with my skills. In track, you just ran- how hard could it be??

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Sadly, not being a runner, I was terrible. Like really bad. So any hope of trying to get your attention pretty much died. Although one day, my knee gave out during practice and you carried me back to the school. You were strong and I was so smitten. One practice we had at Mesa community college, my grandparents came to watch and afterward we went out to lunch at Burger King. My mom had pointed you out to Momo and she remarked to me at lunch how handsome you were and said she had a feeling things would work out. My heart sank and I try not to cry because at that point, I had truly given up on that. I felt like I had lost you, which was weird because it wasn't even like we had dated. I was done though, my friend Jess had encouraged me to move on. You just weren’t the right one. So I did. And that was how sophomore year ended… little did I know, things were about to get serious. But not with you.

-Ash

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