6 Helpful Tips When You Work with Your Husband

This Thursday is Jeff and I's One Year Anniversary and I thought it would be appropriate to write about our story so far in a way that can possibly help someone else. And the number one thing that God has been teaching us lately is how to work well together.  You see, Jeff and I have been working together (in the same department at work) for almost 3 years now, 8 months as friends, 6 months dating, 6 months engaged, and exactly a year now married and MAN.. have we learned a thing or two.

This Thursday is Jeff and I's One Year Anniversary and I thought it would be appropriate to write about our story so far in a way that can possibly help someone else. And the number one thing that God has been teaching us lately is how to work well together. 

You see, Jeff and I have been working together (in the same department at work) for almost 3 years now, 8 months as friends, 6 months dating, 6 months engaged, and exactly a year now married and MAN.. have we learned a thing or two. 

Working together is NOT easy and as grateful as I am for the opportunity, there are a few things that I have learned basically the hard way that can help with walking that oh-so-delicate line of spouse and co-worker. I promise it does get easier and it began to get easier for us the moment I started to put into action the tips I'm sharing with you below. It's a bit complex and detailed and some people might think I'm overdoing it all. But for those of you who work together, you know that any advice is welcome advice. 

Browse the list and see what fits for you and your man. The most important thing is to never stop talking about what you want your marriage to look like, in and out of the office. 

1. Acknowledge each other as married, but respect each other as co-workers

We tend to let our guards down with our man. But because guys are so task driven, they need us to put our best foot forward at work. This certainly doesn't mean that you can't be there for each other. You are best friends, confidants, the shoulder they lean on.. But make sure that your treating them with at least as much respect as you would another co-worker. It's easy for your other co-workers to get all the best parts of you and your spouse is left to only get the frustrated and worn-out bits. Remember to sometimes tuck your own feelings aside while at work and never be too afraid of showing favoritism that you overcompensate and treat your spouse harshly at work. They are supposed to be your favorite person, and everyone knows it! 

2. Give each other some space and keep conversations at work about work

One of the first marriage books we were ever given was called His Brain Her Brain, and it went into detail about the differences between the male and female brain and how that relates to marriage. One thing that really helped me was the idea that women are natural multitaskers (especially in the brain) while most men need to focus on only one thing at a time. It's the same reason men and focus on their career and soar to new heights and a woman can manage an entire house-hold, the cooking, cleaning, children, schedules, finances, shopping, etc.. and carry on a totally different conversation at the same time. 

So this means at work, I don't discuss what's for dinner, our gym schedule, upcoming trips, or any other sudden burst of inspiration I get without him initiating it first. And then I let him drive the conversation. Don't go visit his office whenever you feel like it. I try sending emails and calling on the phone first just like I would any other co-worker. That way he can focus on his work and not feel like all these details in our lives are simply distractions. 

3. Spend Quality time together and leave work at work

No wife or husband wants to feel like they are just your co-worker outside of work. It's vital to our marriage that we learn to unplug from the duties and demands of the day and truly see the other person as our best friend, husband, lover, safe place and rest. 

When Jeff and I were just dating, we went on a mini trip to Florida to see his parents, while back at work, we were in the middle of a seriously stressful situation. It was taking a toll on both of us, him more than anyone, and we decided that we needed to remove ourselves from that situation for a while, physically and mentally! The issue back at work all ended up better than we could have ever imagined on our own. Now we look back and laugh at how we actually used to worry about that. This tends to be harder for men to mentally unplug from problems. As wives, we should encourage (not nag) them to take off the worry and trust God with the results. 

It's important to leave work at work. If your not really on a date, then give him a break and let him check his emails. Everything being on our phones makes unplugging a pretty difficult thing. But when it's official date-night time, make sure that work doesn't make it a party of 3. 

4. Define and make clear the roles and responsibilities of each

When Jeff and I were sent on a video shoot to Michigan, we shot 9 interviews! (That's 9 interviews with 9 different people!) Oh and we did this in about 3 or so days. That's A LOT of work! When we got back, people would often ask us how we did it. I would say that we determined our roles and then stuck to them. 

This particular story we were working on was Jeff's, so he was the producer and I filled in the rest. I let him give vision and I helped him figure out a way to make it happen. Another thing we decided was that he liked to be able to focus on lighting the interview set and making it look great. So I would talk to the people and keep them busy so he wouldn't have to feel responsible for that too. 

No matter what field you're in, whether it's the every day tasks or a special project, determine what role each of you will fill and then also decided how you can help each other out in different situations. That way, you can get the job done and still like each other while you're doing it :) 

5. Fill in each other's weaknesses and lend to each other your strengths

This is a truth in marriage that should be carried over into the work place. One thing about Jeff is that he can be rather blunt. While this is usually a great asset, when communicating with women it sometimes doesn't get you too far. Sometimes, he'll ask me to communicate something for him if he feels he wasn't able to get his point or heart across. Because I know him and I know his heart, I can properly communicate what it is he wants - similar to how we represent Christ to this earth. 

I on the other hand, am not a very blunt person and have a hard time approaching people when I'm nervous. Jeff pushes me to be more forward and start conversations that I'm too afraid to start on my own. We also do a lot of writing, which can get really tedious. When we're writing articles, we often edit and proof read each other's articles before we submit them. 

It's important to never point out their weaknesses as proof of their inability but instead, always approach it from your willingness to offer yourself and to help the other person when they need it. So instead of saying "You suck at this," you could say "I want you to succeed. Here's what I saw..." 

6. Refuse to see the worst and choose to see the best

It's quite easy to allow all of the little imperfections that you see everyday affect how you see and treat your spouse at work. Just like you should do with your co-workers, CHOOSE to think, speak, and expect the best from your spouse until you have a chance to discuss it in private if something is wrong. I say "choose" because it is a choice. Our emotions may come and tell us things, but we ALWAYS have a choice as to how we will handle every situation with every person that we encounter.. including our spouse. 

This is something that I am definitely still working on myself! 

If Jeff says something to me that sounds harsh, or gives me a look like he's annoyed at me, or seems to ignore me in front of other people, I can CHOOSE to think, speak, and assume his intentions were good until I can ask him about it later. Maybe he was frustrated at a project, maybe he didn't see me, maybe he though that face was sexy... When I do this, 90% of what I thought was an issue is gone before I have a chance to talk to him about it. This will seriously save you SO much stress. 

Some positive thoughts for the road... 

Before we get too overwhelmed with all of the potential bad that can come from working together, it's important to reflect on all of the good that comes from working with your husband. 

You are able to be a team at work, which brings you closer together. 

You are working together towards a common goal and can dream in a deeper way than most. 

You always have someone at work with you who can fill in your weaknesses and be there for you in a way no other co-worker can. They are always for you. 

You have a constant reminder of what your vision is and why you are working so hard to begin with! 

So whether your working in a joint office, or just working on the story of your marriage, I pray that these tips will encourage you, give you insight, and perhaps just a bit more tools in your marriage belt when it comes to working alongside that handsome man of yours. 

Build your life well, 
Jess

With This Ring...

"You may now kiss the bride..." 

Fairytales are great at helping us get together, but what happens after the vows are made, after the cakes been cut, after toasts are given, and after he kisses the bride? It's so easy to get wrapped up in the planning and preparations, the one you love and the beauty of the day, but the love we feel has to be a decision and not just an emotion; one that starts it's own story shortly following happily ever after. 

We've all heard it many times before, often recited at weddings, love is patient, love is kind. But it seemed to hit me in a different sort of way when I read these verses in The Message. 

 

Love never gives up. 

Love cares more for others than self. 

Love doesn't want what it doesn't have. 

Love doesn't strut, 

Doesn't have a swelled head, 

Doesn't force itself on others, 

Isn't always "me first,"

Doesn't fly off the handle, 

Doesn't keep score of the sins of others,

Doesn't revel when others grovel,

Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth, 

Puts up with anything, 

Trusts God always, 

Always looks for the best, 

Never looks back, 

But keeps going to the end. 

Love never dies... 

1 Corinthians 13:4-8 

 

Oh... so that's what I was agreeing to when I recited my vows in front almost everyone I knew. It's easy to love people when they act lovely; we usually don't even need to decide to love, it's just our naturally reaction. We're so used to a conditional love- I'll act loving towards you when you start acting loving towards me- be what we're not so practiced at is actively loving people when they're not so lovely, especially our spouse. 

It says in the bible that without faith it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6) and I truly believe that it takes faith to step out in love towards someone when you don't feel like it. You have to take your trust off of yourself and out of the comfort zone that you've created, and put it into God's love for you. So that even when it's not reciprocated right away, or ever, your heart can stay at rest. 

Reading the verses above, it becomes more clear to me how our emotions can get us into so much trouble. I feel hurt, I feel wronged, what if they do it again, what if it's not enough, what if I'm not enough? Lies and fears keep us trapped in our emotional state, holding us back from acting on truth, which will in turn set us free from our negative emotions. Anytime you step out in faith, God will always meet you there. He's not in the boat after all, He's out on the water, waiting to see if you'll trust Him for something so much greater to happen in your life. 

Now when I look at my ring, I'll think Him and what He wants me to do and how He wants me to act. Making the decision to love time and time again will open up your life for so much more. We were never meant to live small lives, but rather lives that were so big and expansive that they immediately put to rest not only our own fears, but the fears of others. 

And that's how they would live happily ever after... well, sort of

Our Newest Little Giaimo + Changing Seasons

HAPPY HALLOWEEN! 

Isn't this little guy the cutest? Jeff and I had been wanting to adopt a kitten for several months, and as soon as we walked in and saw him, that was it. I think it's pretty obvious to see why. He's tiny and fluffy and has the greatest attitude in history! One minute, he has the be the center of your world but wait... as soon as you start to enjoy his presence a little too much, he decides that it's time to withdraw from you until you deserve another visit. What can I say, he get's me! 

Going into this second month of marriage, all of the hustle from the wedding is finally settling down and, just like the changing seasons, you realize, "Oh crap, everything about my life is so different!" Your name is different, your closet space is different, your grocery list is different, your priorities are different, your money is different... I could go on. However, your grace is different. 

I find that whenever I try to make things happen, when I put everything I have into becoming this idea of what a good wife should be, I always fall short and usually end up very frustrated. This feeling culminated one night for me when I failed to cook a delicious popcorn chicken dinner that I found online. I got out the pan and then boom... sat it down and started to cry. I was exhausted from a full day of work and an alarming lack of sleep. I looked at Jeff and told him how sorry I was for failing as his wife. With shock in his eyes (and perhaps quite a bit of laughter) he told me he didn't want popcorn chicken and we could order Chinese instead. I felt better :) but I wasn't sure how that all escalated so quickly. Feeling like a failure does't really motivate you to do better. It usually just paralyzes you, keeping you from seeing any potential or reason to keep trying. 

But what I have to realize is that I'm not failing at being married... I AM MARRIED! Whether I feel like it or not, I am Jeff's wife and the moment I relax in knowing that, is the same moment my heart starts to feel content with where I'm at. Sure I'm still learning- sometimes the laundry is behind, I forgot paper towels at the store again, and I still DO NOT want to make that popcorn chicken recipe tonight!- But I'm not falling apart over it either. The moments that make up our life are right now and we can't spend them all wishing we were somewhere else or someone else. Life (and marriage) is about the journey and about enjoying the wedding, the new furniture, the new kitten, the new job, the new friends, the new chapter or season that your in. We all fail sometimes, but that doesn't make us failures. It just becomes another chapter in the magnificent tale of the life you choose to live. Don't write it perfect... just write it. 

Pennies and Fondue: How We Celebrated One Year

"Where the heck are you taking me?"

As our sonic blue Chevy drove us closer to the mountains and away from where I was so sure he was taking me, a sly smile crept across the corners of his mouth. He had successfully confused me. I had no idea where the night was headed. 

With our hands interlocked, we walked down the softly lit streets of Manitou, with me going on about something I wasn't at all paying attention to, noticing every restaurant we were passing by and mentally checking it off my list. It wasn't until we passed the charming and, dare I say romantic, fine-fondue eatery knows as The Mona Lisa that my heart sank just a bit. I would be lying if I said I hadn't always wanted to enter into that elegant doorway and spend the night in a world of fine cheese and chocolate. That is, until yet another mischievous look took over his face and, instantly whirling me around, we walked straight into that place like the adults we sometimes pretend we are. 

Dinner that night was filled with four of the most delicious courses I have ever had, sparkling wine, fondue stick fighting, lots of eye gazing, and the occasional eye rolling, sharing memories, laughing hysterically, older couples sneering at us when we're being too flirty, holding up our wine glasses, and in our best rich-snobby accents, replying, "hmm hmm hmm the economy..." (shout out to all my Parks and Rec fans!)

After a dinner of exquisite perfection, we took a stroll through the small mountain town, drenched in late summer twilight. Tourists from Kansas were packing the kids into the mini van as the night crawlers took their place in every pub and coffee lounge that lined the street. Manitou was waking with a slightly different crowd. 

It wasn't long before we found ourselves in one of our favorite places, surrounded by what is called the Penny Arcade. At first, we were just browsing, but before long, I was digging through my purse, rounding up all the pennies, nickels, and dimes that I could find. Pin ball, love doctors, grip tests... the possibilities go on in a world where a few cents can bring you endless fun. The stress from work, deadlines, and of course planning a wedding all seemed somewhere far, far away. All that seemed to matter that night was the he found her, she found him, and oh how perfectly her hand seemed to fit in his. 

The night was perfect and so was this last year, but not because everything went perfectly. Giving up on perfection, and the way you perceive how life should happen, is usually the first step towards pure happiness. As Joseph Campbell puts it, "You must give up the life you planned in order to live the life that is waiting for you." In a world filled with duties, demands, and deadlines, it's so important to stop and be present, live the life in front of you, write the story before you. One day you'll turn around and say, "wow, that was well written." 

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All You Need Is Love

They say that falling in love is risky; that it takes some amount of courage and bravery to open yourself up to the possibility of rejection. But I think that part of the risk involved is in the idea that it might actually work out. And when it does, you realize that you can't love someone on your own, but you have to open up to someone you can't see or touch. By faith, we receive the love God has for us, and from that, we trust Him to love the people in our lives through us. 

Whenever something is out of my control, it makes me uncomfortable. But one of the definitions of faith could be to believe in something you can't control. The power of love is bigger than all of us, and so it takes someone much bigger than us to guide us in how to love. 

One of the most important things I have learned throughout my relationship is that I am powerless to love someone the way they deserve to be loved, but the good news is I'm never alone. When I feel weak in my own ability, God's strength is made perfect in me. I don't know how He does it, but He always manages to save the day. I guess that's just part of being a Savior and all. 

"Some stories don't have a clear beginning, middle, and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what's going to happen next. Delicious ambiguity..."

-Gilda Radner

Life truly is about the journey and taking in every moment until it grows you into the person you only dreamed of becoming. To be honest, nothing in my life has turned out the way I originally thought it would and I'm so thankful. This life is more beautiful, loving, complicated, unexpected, adventurous, and fulfilling than I could ever have hoped for. God knows the story you were meant to live and He'll write it beautifully if you'll let Him. All you need is love, and He's got plenty of it. 

Also, it's officially 5 months till the wedding! I just had to throw that in there :) 

Our jam walking the trails... Happy Sunday!