For this post I thought it would be fun to collaborate with fellow blogger and one of my best friends, Makayla Nielson (be sure to check out her blog here!). We’ve been friends for over 8 years now and despite living halfway across the country from each other for about 5 years we have remained very close! Makayla was one of my bridesmaids at my wedding this past summer and I was able to attend her reception after her’s! Because she has been married longer than any of my close friends I frequently go to her for advice, and I thought it would be fun for you all to hear what we’ve both learned in our time as married ladies!
How did you and your husband meet?
Makayla: The simple story is that we met in a class. The longer story is that he was dating my roommate (she only dated him to get free dinner!) and he recognized me from a Facebook photo and introduced himself to me. After a while, we became study partners and I really fell for him. I ended up telling my friend, “Hey, you either need date this guy for real or dump him, because he’s awesome.” She ended up dumping him, and Nick and I started dating a while later.
Hayley: We were both on a school trip to Indianapolis for General Assembly (big Church of the Nazarene conference) for our respective music ensembles. I was there to sing with the choirs and he was playing with the orchestra. We were unloading the busses (we had to bring a bunch of school promo material) and he was struggling to carry all his stuff and his cello. I walked over and offered to help. We ended up hanging out that whole weekend and then texted all summer. He asked me out when we got back to school.
How did you know he was “the one”?
Makayla: The summer after we met he went out to Delaware to work for a summer sales company. We would spend time each night on the phone or on Skype. After about a month of that, he decided he wasn’t into that opportunity anymore and wanted to go to Alaska to work for the fishery he used to work for. The problem was that we wouldn’t be able to talk for seven weeks… I knew right then that I couldn’t go seven weeks without talking to him! I wanted to talk to him every day for the rest of my life.
Hayley: Honestly, I’m not really sure the exact moment that I knew. I knew that I wouldn’t have dated Matt if I hadn’t seen the potential for marriage in the future. But if I have to narrow it down, I remember having this feeling that I would marry him one day after we had been dating for about four months. I also remember that shortly after that we stopped saying “if we get married” and it became “when we get married”.
How did long have you been married?
Makayla: A little over three years.
Hayley: 7 months!
How long were you dating before getting married?
Makayla: We dated for seven months and were engaged for two months.
Hayley: We were dating for almost 4 years before we got married. We were engaged for about a year before we got married.
How do you handle disagreements or arguments?
Makayla: Our arguments are usually about really silly things. Most of the time we’ll start arguing and realize that one of us is hungry or tired. We try our best to identify the root of the problem as quickly as possible. I’ve noticed that most of our problems after three years of marriage come from recurring issues, such as me not being flexible enough with a schedule or him not throwing away a pair of socks that have holes in them. I think most of the problems have been identified by now, so we’re just continually working on them.
Hayley: Typically arguments happen because one of us (usually me, lets be real) is hangry or tired. We haven’t really had any blow out fights, they are usually us getting upset because the dishes weren’t put away or we had to repeat ourselves too many times. Usually we have the argument and then after a bit of a cool off period we apologize and get to the root of the problem. Typically we know who is in the wrong and they are the first to apologize.
What does your husband do that makes you happy?
Makayla: My husband is really great about a lot of things. I love how committed to the gospel he is and he’s very willing to make changes when he recognizes a weakness in himself. I admire how dedicated he is to his studies and that he wants to be able to provide for me and a future family. I think I am happiest when I recognize that the things he does on a daily basis are intended to strengthen himself and our marriage.
Hayley: I have a ridiculous obsession with Dr. Pepper and sometimes I really want some even though its late or cold and he always goes and gets some for me. I know it’s silly, but little things like that make me super happy. He also puts up with my random obsessions (currently its buying plants). But honestly, just how he is always willing to listen and encourage me when I’m having a bad day is probably my favorite thing. He will send me cute videos and gifs while I’m at work to cheer me up.
How do you split up the household chores?
Makayla: Right now he actually does more of the chores because I work a job with crazy hours and a long commute. On the weekends I pick up the slack by taking care of any of my personal belongings that have been thrown around the house… But he’s been great about laundry and dishes while I’m gone during the week. We usually cook together if we have the time.
Hayley: Last semester was absolutely insane and I was only home two weeknights because of class and even when I was working at home my job kept me really busy so I didn’t always have time to do chores during the day. There were times where he literally did EVERYTHING. I felt like a terrible wife until he reminded me that marriage isn’t about being equal, its about being partners and supporting each other.
How do you encourage each other?
Makayla: I think the biggest way we encourage each other is by supporting one another’s spiritual growth. We are both committed Latter-day Saints (Mormons) and strive to be more like our Savior every day. Our motto around the house is, “We can do hard things!” We always say that when we’re faced with adversity of things we don’t want to do.
Hayley: Whenever one of us is down we listen to the other person and let them vent. We also try and distract them from whatever is upsetting them with games or movies or silly videos. We also support each other’s spiritual growth and going to church each week.
How do you handle money issues/spending?
Makayla: Our biggest money issue is that I am a worrier! I am constantly trying to make sure that we have enough money for school, food, rent, etc. My husband is very relaxed about money and can’t understand why I worry so much! Since that’s the case, I take care of all of our finances. It makes me feel more secure because I can see exactly where our money is going and how much we have left. And it’s good for him because he doesn’t have to think about it.
Hayley: We are both fairly concerned with money and making sure we aren’t overspending. I have a horrible tendency to stress shop, which obviously stresses me out more as well as stressing out my husband. Luckily, Matt is really good about keeping us in our budget and lets me know (nicely) when we (I) shouldn’t be shopping so much.
Do you have a mentor couple?
Makayla: Hm, I’m not entirely sure what that is. We certainly have couples that are role models for us though. Nick’s parents have been married for almost 40 years and we live in their basement. They are adorable and go hiking together all the time. My parents live across the country, but we talk to them frequently and they give us advice about anything and everything. There are also a lot of couples at church that we look up to because they have raised amazing children and are very kind to us.
Hayley: Other than our parents we haven’t really found an older couple to serve as our mentors. It doesn’t help that I was so busy last semester and that we don’t really know that many people at church (we go to a very large church). We do talk to our parents frequently though and are willing to go to them for advice.
Do you have any advice for newly engaged/married or soon to be engaged couples?
Makayla: My best advice would be to pray together every morning and every night. This helps draw you closer to Heavenly Father and start your day off on a positive note. If you’re not religious, try reading together in the mornings or sitting down for breakfast together. Something to start and end your day together.
Hayley: No matter your schedules try and make time to do something together. If you don’t get up at the same time then try to have a date night each week or as often as you can. When we were engaged I was a bartender as well as taking night class and Matt worked a regular hours job. We literally never saw each other unless I didn’t have class or work because of how insane my schedule was. There were times he would come over early on the weekend to spend the morning with me because I had to work in the afternoon. Making time for each other at the early stages of your engagement and marriage will make opposite schedules easier and help you and your spouse to stay in sync with each other.
Are you married, engaged, dating or living the single life? If you are married, what is the best piece of advice you have received? I’d love to hear from you!