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Weddings  |  Families  |  Editorial

The Blog

Building Strong Marriages

A Look into Our Marriage

My husband Michael and I will be celebrating ten whole years of marriage on the sixth of June this year!! We have three beautiful children together- Brady, Charlee, and Blaine. Blaine, our youngest, was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy last year. This automatically throws us into the category of “Parents of a special needs child”.  Although if you saw Blaine, you would have no idea. That is, of course, unless you were around long enough to see one of his epic meltdowns.

One day after I picked Blaine up from preschool, I received a flyer regarding a seminar for parents with special needs children. The theme of the seminar was “How to build a stronger marriage while parenting a special needs child”. Michael and I decided to go and we are so glad we did!
I’m no marriage expert, but I do feel like I can confidently say marriage is REALLY hard at times.  But when you’re first married, you just don’t realize just how hard it can be. Now don’t get me wrong, being married is THE best thing that has ever happened to me, but it is by no means perfect. Add three kids to the mix and it really takes things up a notch!

When the Going Gets Tough

Luckily for me, my husband is very loyal and steadfast. Instead of walking away when things get hard, he rolls up his sleeves and does whatever he can to help find a solution. Every single time. I may want to strangle him. I may roll my eyes at him.  I may or may not want to straight up want to punch him in the face (too much??) but he SHOWS UP when it counts.
On top of running a family and investing in our marriage, Michael and I both work full-time. And let me tell ya, finding the balance of it all has been yet another challenge for us. Sometimes we have to stop, regroup, take a deep breath, and remind each other that we love one another. We have also invested in a marriage therapist or marriage “coach” as I like to look at it! Neither of us had been married before, yet here we are trying to figure it out all alone. Therapy and having someone help us and guide us was one of THE best things we have done for our marriage and our children.
Life can really get in the way, so being able to attend this marriage seminar was truly refreshing for both of us. I am so grateful to have Michael as my husband and best friend. I am so grateful for us.  I’m excited to share our favorite takeaways with you today on the blog! Enjoy!

Family Pictures | Special Needs Mom | Special Needs Parenting | Marriage Advice | Family Session | Utah County Family Photographer | Brooke Bakken Photography | www.brookebakken.com

 

The greatest gift you can give your child[ren] is a strong relationship between the two of you.-John Gottman, PhD

The Ingredients to A Happy, Life-Long Marriage

  1. Strengthen and maintain your friendship.
  2. Manage conflict well.

*Source: The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work by John Gottman

Family Pictures | Special Needs Mom | Special Needs Parenting | Marriage Advice | Family Session | Utah County Family Photographer | Brooke Bakken Photography | www.brookebakken.com Family Pictures | Special Needs Mom | Special Needs Parenting | Marriage Advice | Family Session | Utah County Family Photographer | Brooke Bakken Photography | www.brookebakken.comFamily Pictures | Special Needs Mom | Special Needs Parenting | Marriage Advice | Family Session | Utah County Family Photographer | Brooke Bakken Photography | www.brookebakken.com

Do Small Things Often

Commit to spending time together every day (or as often as possible)— (20 minutes a day with no phones/distractions).

Find time for each other.

Build up a surplus in each other’s “emotional bank account”.

Remember that some things never change…try to take a step back and understand the other person’s perspective.

Focus on the positive (and communicate/share/positive reinforcement).

Treat your partner like you would a guest.

Don’t hack at your boat in a storm.

If you are too busy to work on your marriage, then you are TOO busy!

The advice I give to couples who sail into a storm and are fighting is: Don’t hack at your boat in a storm. If you are in the middle of a crisis, don’t take the very support you have and start whacking at it, because that is dumb. You should love, nurture, and care for that other person or you are not going to make it through the storm.”-Parent of three children with disabilities

 

Family Pictures | Special Needs Mom | Special Needs Parenting | Marriage Advice | Family Session | Utah County Family Photographer | Brooke Bakken Photography | www.brookebakken.com Family Pictures | Special Needs Mom | Special Needs Parenting | Marriage Advice | Family Session | Utah County Family Photographer | Brooke Bakken Photography | www.brookebakken.com Family Pictures | Special Needs Mom | Special Needs Parenting | Marriage Advice | Family Session | Utah County Family Photographer | Brooke Bakken Photography | www.brookebakken.com

The Characteristics of A Happy, Thriving Couple 

They prioritize and protect their marriage.

They don’t assume that they have to put 100% of themselves into their children. (I don’t think kids thrive when we put everything into them.)

They see each other as more than just parents.

They take time to connect each day.

They regularly have dates and vacations without the children — without guilt.

*Source: Today’s Parent

 

 

Family Pictures | Special Needs Mom | Special Needs Parenting | Marriage Advice | Family Session | Utah County Family Photographer | Brooke Bakken Photography | www.brookebakken.com Family Pictures | Special Needs Mom | Special Needs Parenting | Marriage Advice | Family Session | Utah County Family Photographer | Brooke Bakken Photography | www.brookebakken.com Family Pictures | Special Needs Mom | Special Needs Parenting | Marriage Advice | Family Session | Utah County Family Photographer | Brooke Bakken Photography | www.brookebakken.com

Recommended Reads

The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work—John Gottman

Love Sense—Sue Johnson

The 5 Love Languages—Gary Chapman

Divorce Busting—Michele Weiner-Davis

Married with Special-Needs Children—Laura Marshak

Rise Together Podcast with Rachel & Dave Hollis

 

Family Pictures | Special Needs Mom | Special Needs Parenting | Marriage Advice | Family Session | Utah County Family Photographer | Brooke Bakken Photography | www.brookebakken.com

PS- Find yourself a partner who not only wants to be present for the happy times but also everything in between. Choose to be with someone who won’t walk away when things get hard, but instead rolls their sleeves up alongside you to work it all out as you endure tough times together.

 

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