Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Amy's Research Questions

Well a few weeks ago, my dear friend Amy posted a blog requesting that people respond to the following questions. I am finally getting around to doing it. Sorry for the delay, Ame!

How long have you been married?
Almost 5 years! Technically 4 years and 9 months.
How long did you and your spouse really know each other before you married?
We dated for 4 and 1/2 years before we got married. We were friends for almost a year before we started dating.
Looking back, how prepared do you feel you were for marriage?
I would say we were somewhat prepared. We knew each other quite well, and we had done some pre-marital counseling. There was, however, quite a lot of adjusting to do once we were married.
If you have kids, how long did you wait before starting your family?
How many children do you have and what are their ages?
What challenges have you faced at this stage in your marriage?
We have faced several challenges - 1. Adjusting to being married and sharing a home together, 2. Buying our first home and renovating - can create stress :), 3. Dealing with job changes and learning to balance our marriage vs. our work, 4. Deciding what to do regarding further education, and 5. The societal and family pressures regarding having vs. not having kids and trying to make the decision based on our own thoughts and feelings, not those around us.
If you have kids, has your relationship changed since you've added them to your family?
If so, in what way(s)?
What resources or support systems do you have that benefit your marriage?
1. Our families - both my family and Scott's family are very supportive of our marriage and I feel that we are very blessed that way.
2. Our friends - having several friends who have strong marriages encourages us and gives us someone to turn to for advice/support.
3. Our church - they are beginning to implement more marriage related studies and programs which I feel is very beneficial. We haven't been able to participate in any of them yet, but just the fact that it is happening is encouraging.
What advice do you have for young couples contemplating marriage and starting a family?
1. Get premarital counseling - I think this is a key that really needs to happen before people jump into marriage. You can be as in love as you can imagine, and the marriage could still fall apart if you don't have the right tools and skills to keep your marriage alive. I believe that looking at where each person came from is important, including your views on marriage in general, gender roles, household responsibilities, sex, etc, in order to better prepare for your own marriage. That doesn't mean you have to agree on everything, but just being aware of where your future spouse stands on these issues can eliminate a lot of heartache.
2. Recognize that you are God's gift to each other - This point hit home at a marriage conference Scott and I went to last year. I recognized that there were lots of times that I ignored this fact and treated Scott as my enemy instead of God's gift to me. When you view your spouse as a gift from God, it changes how you speak to them and treat them. Still working on this one myself...
3. Don't be afraid to ask for help! Many people think that going to a marriage retreat or conference (which Scott and I do every year) means that your marriage is falling apart. NO! It's kind of like a car - if you never get a tune up, you are bound to have some major problems. But if you do tune ups every once in a while, the problems will still come, but you'll be more prepared and they won't be nearly as expensive! It's the same with marriage - when you take time to specifically focus on your marriage, you and your spouse will be so much more ready to deal with the inevitable problems that arise. Along with that, I feel that going to marriage counseling or even just talking with close friends about issues is not a bad thing - God created us to live in community and to share our strengths and experiences with each other.

What is/are the biggest need(s) that you have as a husband/wife at this stage in your marriage?
The biggest need I would say that I have right now is just to be loved and supported (which Scott does wonderfully!). As we are currently deciding about me getting my Master's degree, I appreciate that Scott takes the time to really talk about this with me and pray about it too. He doesn't immediately shoot down my ideas, even when they may be a bit crazy. He loves me and supports me in all of my ventures. And that makes it easier for me to accept feedback from him about these types of decisions. Being an independent person, I know that I sometimes do not have the most submissive nature. However, I do desire to respect Scott and value his perspective immensely.

Do you feel there is a need for this kind of ministry in your church, and if so, would you attend such a ministry program - either as a mentor couple or as a couple who would like to be mentored?
Yes, there is a need for this type of ministry in every church. Thankfully, our church has started a few different things for marriages. One is an Alpha Marriage Course that is 8 weeks long and is for couples at any stage in their marriage. The other is that we have Bible Studies on Sunday evenings and there are a few studies being offered throughout the year that focus on marriage. I would like to see possibly a marriage retreat or weekend that our church hosts or sponsors, since there are currently those types of options for men or women, but not married couples.

Well, Amy, I hope this helps! Sorry for my delay, but I finally did it.