Thinking back to your wedding day, what do you know now that you wish you knew then about marriage?
[Kris]: Reflecting on our wedding day, it's amazing how closely that day would foreshadow our marriage in so many ways. We spent so much time and effort to plan out the perfect day to celebrate our love for each other. And while our special day turned out to be completely amazing, there were plenty of things that didn't turn out the way we planned. Our marriage has been the same way--not always as planned but getting better every day. And it's because we've remained committed to growing as a couple, practicing healthy communication skills, and despite our busy schedules, making sure we make time for "us".
[Vanessa]: I completely agree with Kris. I now know how to communicate even better. I've learned that sometimes you do have to "go to bed mad" because I know my best thoughts and words haven't really been processed. Instead of tackling an issue right then and there, sometimes it's best to take some time, breathe, and come back to the issue with a clearer head. I learned this from Kris especially and it's a tactic that works.
I've learned that when I step away or even ask for a few minutes to process, when we come back, we actually resolve the issue quicker and with much more clarity.
Sometimes when arguing, we can be so stuck on our point, that we actually forget that the reason we're having the argument is to actually get to a solution.
How did you know that it was the "right" time to get married? What factors did you consider before "taking the plunge"?
[Kris]: As my mother-in-law likes to say "When you know, You know!" I knew I was ready to "take the plunge" when I realized I couldn't imagine spending my life with anyone else. Vanessa was and still is my best friend, lover, therapist, partner, and mentor. What else could I ask for in a wife?
[Vanessa]: Great question. For me, I had moved to New York for school and although Kris was only four hours away, I felt that there was something missing. We had gotten our "subway stop" phone calls and texts routine down, but I felt like a piece of me was still left in Maryland. It was then that I realized I wanted to take our relationship to the next level. There wasn't much to consider. Kris and I already had something great and I wanted to keep having that feeling for the rest of my life. Kris had/has taught me about myself, nurtured my sense of independence, served as my biggest cheerleader, and has made me cry laughing.
He is secure in his manhood, respects and honors all of me and so when it came down to getting married, it was a no brainer.
The wedding itself, however, was a matter of timing. We had talked about getting married after grad school, which would have meant waiting another year and a half. When I asked Kris about timing after he proposed, he said ASAP lol! And that's exactly what we did.
Now that you've been married for a little while now, do you feel that you are truly One? What are some indicators that you are, or are not, operating as a Unit?
[Kris]: Yes! And that didn't happen over night, but we definitely operate as a unit. We work closely together on everything from individual work-related projects to personal hobbies and initiatives. We truly support each other! But most importantly, we have our own unspoken language and emotional awareness that comes from intentionally spending time together communicating openly and honestly, being comfortable with ourselves and building a true bond.
[Vanessa]: For sure! Kris and I make decisions together; we discuss difficult issues; we discuss everything. We check in on each other during the day and when we can't - we carve out time in the evening to discuss intricate thoughts about our days and even just share jokes. We both know that communication leads to a better and stronger marriage.
Although we are One, something that we've learned along the way is the importance of independence within a marriage. Kris and I have separate work that we do and separate interests. He hangs out with his friends and I hang out with mine, and we travel without each other.
We've nurtured each other's independent spirits because we know that who we are and the interests we have is what makes our marriage stronger. We believe in each other and propel each other's dreams and goals. Kris and I have spent time apart for school and work and it's our jokes, texts, and emails to each other that keep us in sync. At the heart of everything - it's about being honest and communicating. We've worked to ensure that we each put each other first. I know what Kris is thinking from the look in his eye and he knows from even just my voice inflection the kind of day I'm having.
What are your goal(s) as a couple for 2017?
Our goal is to continue to cherish our individuality but remain committed to growing as a unit, supporting each other and being the best partners we can be.
Gotta love it.
Until next time...