New & Improved

S4 Ep1 of The #staymarried Podcast with Tony and Michelle PetersonA lot can happen in a year. Some years of our marriage have felt like imprints of the years before, but not this year. This year had more twists and turns, highs and lows, wins and losses, than any of our previous 11 years together. Whew! We are still trying to catch our breath from this whirlwind and we know we are far from settled just yet. But, that’s not stopping us…

We are thrilled to be back with Season 4 of The #staymarried Podcast. We’ve missed you, your questions and emails. We’ve often wished we could hear your voices, so… NOW WE CAN!

Call Us! 262.622.6638

One of the fun features that makes us NEW & IMPROVED is a good old fashioned telephone. If you’d rather chat than type, you can now call us and leave us a short and sweet message. With your permission, we may even incorporate it into an episode on the show. Tony keeps saying he wants to be more “interactive” so, I sure hope you call because he recorded an outgoing message and everything. He thinks you’re gonna call…

#staymarried is now on Patreon

One of the challenges we faced over the break between Seasons 3 and 4 was cutting back on some outgoing expenses from our family budget. For the first time ever, we had to consider NOT funding #staymarried ourselves (hosting and other blogging and podcasting related expenses add up). That meant we were either done for the time being, or we bring in advertisers and Tony dies a little inside, OR we toss it out to you fine people and see if any of you would like to help us make #staymarried fully listener-supported.

To thank our Patrons we’ve decided to host ANOTHER PODCAST! I know, that’s ridiculous. But, Tony talked me into it and so far he’s doing the majority of the work so right now it still feels like a good idea. This new podcast, #staymarried After Hours, takes all the thoughts and trimmings from interviews and our own private conversations and picks them up off the cutting room floor, carefully stitches them together, and delivers them to you. As a Patron, you will get to help shape the format and content of this unlisted podcast, so we can’t wait to see what you come up with. You can learn more about how to support #staymarried through Patreon for as little as $1 per month here.

 

 

We want to hear from you! Did you answer the question from the episode? What would you like us to cover this season? Leave a comment or question below for us or you can submit a question privately here: Ask #staymarried. We may even answer your question in an upcoming episode. Oh! Don’t forget we have a new phone number, too 262.622.6638

And, of course, keep in touch with us on the socials: TwitterFacebook, and Instagram. I’d love to connect on any of your favorite platforms. We can’t wait to hear from you!

Want to get your hands on this sweet new #staymarried Snapback? Find it here.


#staymarried was created to offer hope, stories, and resources for couples who want to stay married.

If you’re NEW HERE, check out our About Page and read a little more about my own background on our first post.

Thank you for reading, sharing, and being a part of this #staymarried community!

~ Michelle

 

 

S4 Ep1 of The #staymarried Podcast with Tony and Michelle Peterson

How to Lose Your Job and Keep Your Marriage

How To Lose Your Job and Keep Your Marriage #staymarried

Petersons take risks.

This precedent was set up early in our marriage. When, after being married for just a year, a friend asked us to quit our jobs and move with him from Seattle to southeast Wisconsin to help him start a church, we said yes. Now, it wasn’t as easy to do as that sentence was for me to type. There was a lot to consider and plenty of logistics and timing to work out. But, in the end, we basically said, “What do we have to lose? Even if it flops, we still have each other. Let’s do it!” So, we did. And, it didn’t flop. By all accounts most people would say we succeeded. In fact, that church still exists today, ten years after we said yes.

Then, after three years of hard work, a depleted savings account, and an 18-month-old, we moved back home again to Seattle to start new jobs at a different church.

I’ll spare you the sordid details, but suffice it to say, it wasn’t a good fit. Now we had two babies and we took another risk; we quit! I would have stayed, but my dear Tony put it very simply to me when he said, “I cannot take a paycheck from a church when I am not on board with the vision of the leader. Can’t do it,” and that was that. He began hustling some freelance graphic design work, I carted my newborn and toddler with me to do some book-keeping for a friend’s construction company (these friends were very generous to employ me because I was not at all good at that job) and we kept believing in each other and putting one foot in front of the other.

We take risks. We believe in each other.

So, last year, after six years of living in our favorite place in the Pacific Northwest and finding ourselves in a church community we really loved and felt we could be ourselves in, and Tony working at Microsoft on projects that energized him, and me finding my voice as a writer with #staymarried and fulfilling a dream of publishing my first book, we took a risk again. That old friend from Wisconsin asked us if we would come back to work at the church we helped start all those years ago. This time the stakes were much higher. The first time we moved to the midwest we were newly married with no kids. This time we were celebrating our tenth anniversary, raising three incredible daughters, Tony was in a career he loved, and I was loving being a stay-at-home-mom-writer-dreamer. This time it was not so easy to say yes.

Still, after nearly a year of negotiating and putting all the puzzle pieces together, we said yes again. For a couple of people who never feel like we fit in at church, we sure say yes to the local church a lot. Tony would be the Executive Pastor of Music and Creative and I would be the Executive Pastor of Communication and Leadership Development. We were energized and full of vision and we moved and believed we could help and do good work here. We believed it was worth the risk. 

How to Lose Your Job and Keep Your Marriage #staymarried

But, sometimes, the risk doesn’t reap a reward.

Just a year later, because of “reprioritizing a tightening budget” I’ve been laid off. I’ve been assured it has nothing to do with my job performance, it’s not personal, but SHEESH! This is a tough one.

Tony and I found out I would lose my job the day before our eleventh anniversary in June. Because ministry life is effing complicated, we couldn’t share the news with anyone but each other. I hadn’t received a formal notice, and wouldn’t for more than a month after I was told. It was just a conversation, it hardly seemed real. Did I really just lose my job? How exactly, was this decision made?

That night, we sat on our blue couch, the couch we’ve interviewed countless couples from for The #staymarried Podcast about their own struggles and triumphs, and we played out the worst case scenarios we could think of.

Will we have to move again? We haven’t saved enough. We weren’t prepared for this. Will we stay in Wisconsin? What choice do we have? What will we tell our nanny? WHEN will we tell our nanny? Man, I wanted to get bikes for the kids this summer. That’s out. I was thinking of a trip home for my birthday. That’s out. We already cut Tony’s salary because church work simply doesn’t pay as much as Microsoft graphic design work, but adding my salary with his brought us almost back up to his salary alone from his last job. We are about to lose nearly half our income. We didn’t see this coming. This is not cool…

And I cried, and Tony had tears in his eyes, and he hugged me and we agreed; we have each other. Even if we have nothing else, we have each other and we will be okay…

Have you ever been there? Have you ever faced the hard thing, turned toward each other, and been able to believe wholeheartedly that even without any external guarantees, having each other would be enough?

It’s in the vows, right? “For richer, for poorer…” we say, as we gaze into each other’s eyes before we’ve ever actually sat across from a kitchen table and paid bills together. 

A few years ago Tony and I watched our friends Jim and Annie put their own spin on those classic words when they their exchanged vows.

“In poverty, I promise to make our love rich. In wealth, I promise not to let our love grow poor.”

This picture of intentionality has always stuck with me. And here we are, facing the reality of losing half our income for an unknown amount of time. Can we still make our love rich? We determined we would.

How To Lose Your Job and Keep Your Marriage #staymarried Modern Wedding Vows

We determined that we wouldn’t let ourselves fall into panic or despair. We grieved, we still grieve, and we did our best to ask questions and make sense of how this could happen, but then we’d pivot and try to spend more energy on what could possibly be next instead of what was no longer.

We decided to focus on 3 questions:

  1. What is good?
  2. What is true?
  3. What can I do?

It was easy to come up with answers to the first question, and once we began naming good things to each other, we were reminded of even more goodness in our lives. We have great kids, we love the school they go to, we are thankful for our home, we have good good friends. We can name what is good.

How to Lose Your Job and Keep Your Marriage #staymarried Peterson Family 2018

What was true was that I did my best in my job. Nothing about it was easy, but I worked hard and with transparency and integrity. It was also true that I didn’t cause the loss of my own job, so spending my time tracing back every possible turn I might have accidentally taken in the wrong direction over this last year was a futile exercise in finding the lie. What is good? What is true? Now, what can I do?

For a couple of clumsy months I began sending out my newly refreshed resume to local companies and non-profit organizations. I wasn’t totally clear on what I wanted to do, just aware that I needed to get back to work. I also began dreaming again about #staymarried and all of the new ideas I want to explore to help support couples.

Another thing I could actively do was choose to navigate my own grief and confusion. I’m great at stuffing things down and marching on, but that wasn’t going to work this time.

Most nights Tony and I head outside for a minimum of 15 minutes, we call it our “Nightly Debrief.” So, nightly, we processed how we were feeling, what I was working on to try to find work, what I was thinking of for #staymarried, and absolutely everything else. We focused our conversations always around those three questions…

  1. What is good?
  2. What is true?
  3. What can I do?

Our Nightly Debriefs helped me focus on what was ahead. I knew I didn’t need to be too worried because, well, at least Tony still had his job. And, despite watching me lose my role on staff, he was still determined to do his best to course correct and build up the creative and music team at church into something really wonderful. I’m here to cheer him on. I don’t know anybody who works harder than my husband.

Then, on a Monday morning just eight weeks after finding out I would lose my job, Tony sent me a text from a meeting telling me, “I just lost my job. [Our friend] believes I’m taking the music team in a direction he doesn’t want it to go and he said my time here is done.” Just like that we went from Sleepless in Seattle to Jobless in Wisconsin. Now what?

How to Lose Your Job and Keep Your Marriage #staymarried

In her article Job Loss Tests Marriages: 5 Tips to Detour a Marital Meltdown, Laurie Puhn writes, “Even happy couples admit that the sudden economic downturn is testing their ‘I do’ commitment.” Even happy couples, guys. This stuff is seriously stressful. So, before we turn on each other and panic, Tony and I are back to asking those same three questions…

  1. What is good?
  2. What is true?
  3. What can we do?

Petersons take risks. We believe in each other. We are in this thing together. We take risks and sometimes those risks don’t reap a reward, and that’s okay. We’re excited to see how this path will unfold and since our calendar is suddenly pretty clear, we’re choosing to head full throttle into the work we love to do together and that’s right here on #staymarried!

The #staymarried Podcast is back!

We’re excited to announce that on Wednesday, September 19th, we will launch Season 4 of The #staymarried Podcast. A LOT has happened this past year and we can’t wait to share what we’ve been up to, what we’ve learned, how working together in tense environments challenged our marriage, and we’d love to bring you along on our journey as we try to figure out what’s next.

We realize that unemployment can certainly test the strength of a marriage. We are living in that struggle and stress even as you read these words. But, we are determined to draw closer to each other, to build into our relationship, to work through this as a team, and to #staymarried.

The #staymarried blog was created to offer hope, stories, and resources for couples who want to stay married.

Tony and Michelle Peterson 2017

Wait! What’s the plan?

It’s true, we don’t really know what we’re going to do next, but we have a 3-pronged strategy…

1. Resumes
Submit our fancy new resumes to all of the interesting jobs.

2. Freelance
Tony is now accepting new projects. Check out his portfolio here. I am also accepting projects on his behalf, because teamwork.

3. Patreon
We are now looking for supporters for The #staymarried Podcast. Interested in how you can help? Find out more here.

Learn more about these custom #staymarried Snapback hats on Patreon.

If you found this post helpful, we would be honored if you would share it. Our big dream is to see more and more people living in happy and healthy marriages!

Interested in more posts like this? You might like…
Does Marriage Really Have to be Hard Work? – #staymarried blog
♥ Your Baggage Doesn’t Have to Wreck Your Marriage – #staymarried Podcast

If you’re NEW HERE, check out our About Page and read a little more about my own background on our first post. You can also find us on the socials: PinterestTwitterFacebook, and Instagram. I’d love to connect on any of your favorite platforms.

Thank you ever so much for reading, sharing, and being a part of this #staymarried community!

~ Michelle

S3 E23 | Marriage is Not a Product. It’s an Investment.

Marriage is an InvestmentWe live in a consumer culture, and it’s easy to fall into the mentality that your marriage is a product that either works for you or it fails you.

But, the truth is, marriage is not a prodcut. It’s an investment. It requires a little work all the time in order to thrive.

In this episode of The #staymarried Podcast, we address one listener’s email about how #staymarried has failed his marriage…

 

Enjoy!

 

Listen to “S3 E23: Marriage is Not a Product. It’s an Investment.” on Spreaker.

 

 

Feel free to leave a comment or question below for us or you can submit a question privately here: Ask #staymarried. We may even answer your question in an upcoming episode.

And, of course, keep in touch with us on the socials: TwitterFacebook, and Instagram. I’d love to connect on any of your favorite platforms. We can’t wait to hear from you!


Tony and Michelle Peterson 2017The #staymarried blog was created to offer hope, stories, and resources for couples who want to stay married.

If you’re NEW HERE, check out our About Page and read a little more about my own background on our first post.

Thank you for reading, sharing, and being a part of this #staymarried community!

~ Michelle

 

S3 E21 | A Peek Inside a Therapist’s Marriage with Zach and Rebecca Brittle

S3 Ep21 - Watching for Sparks, with Zach and Rebecca Brittle“People seldom improve when they have no other model but themselves to copy.”

That idea, attributed to Oliver Goldsmith, reminds me that having friends with healthy marriages is a great way to keep my own marriage strong and healthy.

That’s one of the reasons we interview couples like Zach and Rebecca Brittle. You may remember Zach Brittle from Season 2, Episode 4 when he shared his perspective as a Marriage and Family Therapist about how we can find romance in our everyday interactions with each other.

In Season 3, we’ve been more focused on sharing stories of real married couples and I really wanted to hear from his wife! Tony and I had spent some time with Zach and Rebecca a few months ago, and they were so full of hope and practicality, that we decided to invite them over again and this time we put microphones in front of their faces.
S3 Ep21 - Watching for Sparks, with Zach and Rebecca Brittle

Zach often jokes that he and Rebecca have been happily married for 19 out of 20 years. Well, in this interview, Tony didn’t let him get away with this joke. I’m so glad Tony asked some bold questions and so thankful that Zach and Rebecca were willing to share about the hardest seasons in their 20 year marriage along with some hope and insights for those of us who have yet to cross that incredible milestone.

Enjoy!

 

Listen to “S3 Ep21: A Peek Inside a Therapist’s Marriage with Zach and Rebecca Brittle” on Spreaker.

 

Not only is Zach Brittle a pro, he is also super generous.
Zach’s offering our #staymarried community this fantastic resource for FREE.
Click here to get 20 Questions for Deeper Connection.

Every person who downloads this free gift will also be entered to win lifetime access to Zach’s online marriage course: Marriage in Motion.
Normally this course costs at least $397, but one of you is getting access for FREE! Can you tell I’m a little excited for you?

20 Questions for Deeper Connection by Zach Brittle

Download 20 Questions

 

S3 Ep21 - Watching for Sparks, with Zach and Rebecca Brittle

Feel free to leave a comment or question below for us or you can submit a question privately here: Ask #staymarried. We may even answer your question in an upcoming episode.

And, of course, keep in touch with us on the socials: TwitterFacebook, and Instagram. I’d love to connect on any of your favorite platforms. We can’t wait to hear from you!


Tony and Michelle Peterson 2017The #staymarried blog was created to offer hope, stories, and resources for couples who want to stay married.

If you’re NEW HERE, check out our About Page and read a little more about my own background on our first post.

Thank you for reading, sharing, and being a part of this #staymarried community!

~ Michelle

 

S3 E20 | The Positive Perspective

A Positive Perspective Could Make All The Difference #staymarriedIt’s natural to feel the impact of negative interactions more intensely than the positive ones. But, if we want to enjoy our marriages for decades to come, we need to learn the practice and benefits of developing a positive perspective.

In this episode we break down what we’ve learned from Dr. John Gottman and others about this essential marriage ingredient.

 

Enjoy!

 

Listen to “S3 E20: The Positive Perspective” on Spreaker.

 

For more about the Positive Perspective, check out this article on The Gottman Blog by Zach Brittle:

The Positive Perspective

Feel free to leave a comment or question below for us or you can submit a question privately here: Ask #staymarried. We may even answer your question in an upcoming episode.

And, of course, keep in touch with us on the socials: TwitterFacebook, and Instagram. I’d love to connect on any of your favorite platforms. We can’t wait to hear from you!


Tony and Michelle Peterson 2017The #staymarried blog was created to offer hope, stories, and resources for couples who want to stay married.

If you’re NEW HERE, check out our About Page and read a little more about my own background on our first post.

Thank you for reading, sharing, and being a part of this #staymarried community!

~ Michelle

 

S3 E17 | The Problem with Your Soulmate

The Problem with Your Soulmate - #staymarriedMany of us imagine that marriage should come naturally… if we’re with the right person. So, if it’s difficult, we figure it might be because we are with the wrong person. We see this theme a lot when we look through the questions you’ve submitted at Ask #staymarried.

Today we are reaching back to the archives from Season 2 of The #staymarried Podcast when Tony and I answered Nikki’s question, “How do I know if we’re meant to be together or if it’s for the best if we go our separate ways?”

Enjoy!

 

Listen to “S3 E17: The Problem with Your Soulmate” on Spreaker.

The problem with the soul mate mentality is that none of us really are the right person for anyone else. We each come into our marriages with our own set of weird habits, temper triggers, and childhood traumas. Even great marriages, where two people are as compatible as any two people ever could be, still require work. Marriage becomes a journey, not only to discover more about the person we’ve committed our lives to, but also to discover ourselves.The Problem with Your Soulmate - #staymarried

We would love to know what you think of soul mates! How do you approach this idea in your own marriage? Have you been in Nikky’s shoes, wondering whether or not you married the right one? Comment below and let us know if you have any insight or words of wisdom for us or for Nikky. One thing we know for sure is that we’re all just trying to figure this marriage thing out and find out if it’s possible to #staymarried.

The Problem with Your Soulmate - #staymarried

Want to read more about this topic? Check these out…

Does Marriage Really Have to Be Hard Work?
♥ Six Conversations Every Couple Must Have

 The #staymarried blog was created to offer hope, stories, and resources for couples who want to stay married.
Feel free to leave a comment or question below for us or you can submit a question privately here: Ask #staymarried. We may even answer your question in an upcoming episode.

And, of course, keep in touch with us on the socials: TwitterFacebook, and Instagram. I’d love to connect on any of your favorite platforms. We can’t wait to hear from you!


Tony and Michelle Peterson 2017The #staymarried blog was created to offer hope, stories, and resources for couples who want to stay married.

If you’re NEW HERE, check out our About Page and read a little more about my own background on our first post.

Thank you for reading, sharing, and being a part of this #staymarried community!

~ Michelle

 

S3 E16 | The Joys and Challenges in a Muslim Marriage

The Joys and Challenges in a Muslim Marriage - #staymarriedOnce upon a time I noticed that #staymarried had a growing Muslim audience. Knowing basically nothing about the Muslim faith or culture, and wanting not to squander an opportunity to learn to help more peole have happy and healthy marriages, I set out on a quest to learn.

That quest led me to today’s guest, Menahal Begawala. “Mena” is a Gottman Certified Therapist practicing in New York. She is also the co-athor of the Islamic Reference Guide for the Gottman Method.

We learned so much from her, not just about marriage withing the Muslim community, but about the basic tennents of what makes any marriage strong enough to go the distance.

Enjoy!

Listen to “S3 Ep16: The Joys and Challenges in a Muslim Marriage” on Spreaker.

 

You can find out more about Menahal and her counseling practice at menahal.com

The Joys and Challenges in a Muslim Marriage - #staymarried

Feel free to leave a comment or question below for us or you can submit a question privately here: Ask #staymarried. We may even answer your question in an upcoming episode.

And, of course, keep in touch with us on the socials: TwitterFacebook, and Instagram. I’d love to connect on any of your favorite platforms. We can’t wait to hear from you!


Tony and Michelle Peterson 2017The #staymarried blog was created to offer hope, stories, and resources for couples who want to stay married.

If you’re NEW HERE, check out our About Page and read a little more about my own background on our first post.

Thank you for reading, sharing, and being a part of this #staymarried community!

~ Michelle

 

S3 E15 | Estranged: Healthy Ways to Navigate Tough Family Members

Estranged - Healthy Ways to Navigate Tough Family Members #staymarriedFamily relationships can be complicated. In this episode of The #staymarried Podcast we answer a question from Ask #staymarried:

“Hey there Tony and Michelle,
My name is Tony also and my wife and I have been married for 8 years. Our marriage is strong and I have to say that listening to your podcasts is refreshing because of your candor and transparency. Here’s something I haven’t heard you two talk about and was wondering if you would consider addressing… estranged relationships with your parents.

My wife’s family is far away and we don’t see them much, but my family is fairly close yet are not very involved in our lives. We have a little boy and an even littler girl, and I sometimes wonder if my parents even care. I think I’d like for our kids to have doting grandparents like our friends around us seem to have, but I’m not sure if this is realistic. Do you think this absence is going to hurt our family in the future? You guys seem happy… do you have grandparents you want to loan us?”

Mr. Tony, we wish we had grandparents to loan you. Instead, we’ll share how we navigate our own tough family members. We hope it helps…

Listen to “S3 Ep15: Estranged” on Spreaker.

Also, Tony asked me if there was a book I’ve read multiple times. I shared two, and he shared one of his own. Here are the links.

Michelle’s Rec’s

Them – by Joyce Carol Oates

Them - Joyce Carol Oates

The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work – by Dr. John Gottman

 

Tony’s Rec

The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis

Feel free to leave a comment or question below for us or you can submit a question privately here: Ask #staymarried. We may even answer your question in an upcoming episode.

And, of course, keep in touch with us on the socials: TwitterFacebook, and Instagram. I’d love to connect on any of your favorite platforms. We can’t wait to hear from you!


Tony and Michelle Peterson 2017The #staymarried blog was created to offer hope, stories, and resources for couples who want to stay married.

If you’re NEW HERE, check out our About Page and read a little more about my own background on our first post.

Thank you for reading, sharing, and being a part of this #staymarried community!

~ Michelle

 

 

S3 E14 | Modern Kinship with David & Constantino

Modern Kinship - Figuring out Marriage as a Gay Christian Couple - #staymarriedIf you’ve been following along on this third season of The #staymarried Podcast, you know we have not only been sharing insights from relationship experts, but we have also sprinkled in stories of real married couples.

While there is much to learn from the research about what makes a marriage work, nothing truly takes the place of hearing from other couples as they navigate life and love on their own terms.

We are thrilled to share with you the love story and marriage insights from our friends David and Constantino Khalaf, a Gay Christian Couple living in Portland, Oregon. We hope you enjoy them as much as we have.

 

Listen to “S3 Ep14: Modern Kinship, Figuring out Marriage as a Gay Christian Couple” on Spreaker.

 

Here’s the Lookout Tower – Off the Grid and Forty Feet Up! – from Airbnb where Constantino proposed to David.

Lookout Tower on AirBnb - Modern Kinship on #staymarried

One of my favorite parts of this conversation happened at the end, when David shared that learning to love Constantino in the way he best received love, not necessarily the way that comes most naturally to David, was the real work of love. They may be newlyweds, but they’ve certainly figured out a few things.

Modern Kinship - Figuring out Marriage as a Gay Christian Couple - #staymarried

As we mentioned in the show, Constantino is the Director of Operations at the Gay Christian Network, an organization that works to build bridges between the LGBTQ Community and the church. You can find out more about this organization and ways you can get involved here.

You can find out more about David and Constantino’s life and love at their blog Modern Kinship and follow them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Feel free to leave a comment for them, or for us, below.

Modern Kinship - Figuring out Marriage as a Gay Christian Couple with David and Constantino Khalaf - #staymarried

Modern Kinship - Figuring out Marriage as a Gay Christian Couple - #staymarried

Wedding Photos by Lehua Noelle

Dave and Tino also had some kind things to say about The #staymarried Book.

Modern Kinship - Figuring out Marriage as a Gay Christian Couple - #staymarried

Buy the book

Feel free to leave a comment or question below for us or you can submit a question privately here: Ask #staymarried. We may even answer your question in an upcoming episode.

And, of course, keep in touch with us on the socials: TwitterFacebook, and Instagram. I’d love to connect on any of your favorite platforms. We can’t wait to hear from you!


Tony and Michelle Peterson 2017The #staymarried blog was created to offer hope, stories, and resources for couples who want to stay married.

If you’re NEW HERE, check out our About Page and read a little more about my own background on our first post.

Thank you for reading, sharing, and being a part of this #staymarried community!

~ Michelle

 

 

Ten Lessons from Ten Years of Marriage

10 Lessons from 10 Years of Marriage - #staymarriedTen years ago, I stood in front of a man I’d fallen in love with and committed to spend the rest of my days learning to create a life together. I was all aflutter that day, couldn’t imagine being happier, luckier, or more hopeful about the future. I had no idea!

Since then, Tony and I have sold all our belongings and moved across the country TWICE, and we’re about to do it again. We’ve brought three of the best people I know into the world, our sweet daughters. We’ve experienced the crushing pain of major depression and the gloriousness of healing and finding joy again.

We’ve learned more than a handful of things over these ten years. As I reflect back on this wild and wonderful life, I thought I’d share some of those lessons with you.

10 Lessons from 10 Years of Marriage

1. A little kindness goes a long way.

Being a grown-up comes with so many have-to’s. But, being kind to your partner isn’t one of them. You could bring them an unexpected cup of coffee. You could text them a sweet “thinking of you” message. You could rub their shoulders. You could offer them 15 guilt-free minutes without the kids around. Today, you and I get to figure out a way to show and tell the most important person in our lives that we love them. It’s not a “have-to,” it’s a “get-to.”

2. Our relationship with each other is more important than our relationship with our kids.

We love our kids like crazy, but we know the best thing we can do for them is to take care of each other first! We’re in the thick of it with 3 little ones but someday it’ll be just the two of us again and we need to make sure we’ve loved each other well all along so that we don’t feel like strangers when we become empty nesters. Plus, building a strong relationship with each other adds to a sense of security and confidence for our kids. It’s a win-WIN!

4 Ways to Handle Parenting Disagreements - #staymarried

3. Conflict is inevitable. Combat is optional.

Isn’t it great when you can learn lessons from OTHER PEOPLE’S experiences. Some wise friends told us early on that not every battle is worth fighting and that we would spend more time enjoying each other if we chose wisely. Keeping kindness in mind, even when we disagree and both feel passionately, has kept our conflicts mostly out of the battle zone.

4. Defensiveness gets you nowhere.

Because we know each other so well, we also know how to push each other’s buttons. We’ve learned that getting defensive doesn’t help. When we’re feeling defensive, it’s a good indication that we need a break and we need to find another way to listen and be heard.

How Being Defensive is Hurting Your Marriage - #staymarried

5. Dreaming together is a necessity, not a luxury.

We each have our own dreams and ideas of what we want to do with our lives, but we make it a priority to share our dreams with each other before we share them with other people. This gives us the opportunity to cheer each other on every step of the way. We’ve looked for ways to sacrifice for each other in order to help make our dreams a reality. We’ve learned that nothing at all will ever come to fruition if we’re both being selfish instead of supportive.Four Types of Supportive Behavior and how to Identify the One You Need - #staymarried

6. Curiosity is a relationship booster.

I’m not the same person I was when we first met and neither is he. Staying curious about each other, making time to ask good questions (like we do at the beginning of each episode of The #staymarried Podcast) and then really listening and learning keeps us engaged in our relationship instead of drifting away assuming we already know all there is to know.

7. Expectations without clear communication leads to conflict.

We have to be able to communicate what we want. I resisted this for along time, thinking it would be better and I would feel more loved if my husband figured out what I wanted on his own and then did it because he wanted to, not because I asked him to. The truth is, if I don’t ask, I don’t get, and that goes for everything from presents to help around the house to sex. Being brave and asking has made our lives so much better.

"Daring greatly means the courage to be vulnerable... Brene Brown quote on #staymarried

8. Even great marriages go through really crappy times.

We’ve had our share of rough seasons. There were times when I thought we would never see eye-to-eye, never find a solution, never get back to those first feelings of love. We’ve gotten through those seasons, but I’m sure they’ll come again. That doesn’t mean we need to call it quits. What we have together is fundamentally good, but that doesn’t mean it’ll always be easy.

9. You’re never justified for being a jerk.

The question is not whether or not you should argue with your spouse. The question is how will you argue? Will you be respectful while you argue, avoiding low-blows, name-calling, and ultimatums? Will you approach believing your partner is guilty before they’ve had a chance to explain themselves OR with the intention of giving your partner the benefit of the doubt? It’s okay to be angry. It’s never okay to be cruel.

10. Apologize and forgive often.

Sometimes you will be a jerk. Sometimes you won’t realize it until after the damage to your relationship has already been inflicted. As much as Tony and I value kindness and respect, neither of us will ever be perfect. Keeping a good rhythm of forgivness has carried us through some of our most challenging times.

7 Ways to Be a Better Forgiver - a #staymarried blog for couples

11. Marriages succeed in community and fail in isolation.

A great marriage starts with a solid friendship. But, even if your partner really is your best friend, your partner was never meant to fullfill all of your relational needs. Make every effort to spend time with your friends with or without your partner.  Making sure you’ve built and kept a close community of people is one of the best things you can do to ensure your marriage lasts to ten years and beyond.

10 Lessons from 10 Years of Marriage - #staymarried

Yes, I know I promised you ten lessons, and here I gave you eleven. But, let that remind you that a little extra effort and generosity are never wasted.

This tenth year of marriage has been a beautiful reminder that we couldn’t have come this far, we wouldn’t have made it to ten whole years, without our incredible community loving and supporting us every step of the way.

We’ve shared all of this with you over the years here on The #staymarried Blog and The #staymarried Podcast and have been received with such grace. Ten years have come and gone, there is much to celebrate, and still, it feels like we are just at the beginning. We’re grateful.

The #staymarried blog was created to offer hope, stories, and resources for couples who want to stay married.

Tony and Michelle Peterson 2017If you found this post helpful, we would be honored if you would share it. Our big dream is to see more and more people living in happy and healthy marriages!

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Interested in more posts like this? You might like…
Does Marriage Really Have to be Hard Work? – #staymarried blog
♥ Your Baggage Doesn’t Have to Wreck Your Marriage – #staymarried Podcast

 

If you’re NEW HERE, check out our About Page and read a little more about my own background on our first post. You can also find us on the socials: PinterestTwitterFacebook, and Instagram. I’d love to connect on any of your favorite platforms.

Thank you ever so much for reading, sharing, and being a part of this #staymarried community!

~ Michelle

S3 E13 | What does your Relationship Reveal? with Sandra Fischer

What does your Relationship Reveal? - with Sandra Fischer on The #staymarried PodcastBeing a writer and podcaster that focuses on marriage has a TON of perks! For instance, when people think their relationship resources might benefit our #staymarried community, guess who they reach out to give it a whirl? ME! That’s who! And then, when it’s a good one, not only does my marriage benefit, but you know I’m going to share those resources with you!

Sandra Fischer, creator of the new card game Relationship Reveal, is a professional writer and consultant with a diverse background specializing in communications, people development and optimizing organizational effectiveness. With 25 years working for companies including Microsoft, Amazon and AT&T, her experiences have been unique and broad and she’s poured every bit of that into this fantastic resource.

Listen as we chat with Sandra about this unique game, and then hear from our friends Josh & Katy of Episode 12 fame as they share their experience with it, too.

Listen to “S3 Ep13: What does your Relationship Reveal? with Sandra Fischer” on Spreaker.

Did you listen? Don’t you want to try Relationship Reveal yourself? You can find out more about it and order your box here: Relationship Reveal.

 

Feel free to leave a comment or question below for us or you can submit a question privately here: Ask #staymarried. We may even answer your question in an upcoming episode.

And, of course, keep in touch with us on the socials: TwitterFacebook, and Instagram. I’d love to connect on any of your favorite platforms. We can’t wait to hear from you!


Tony and Michelle Peterson 2017The #staymarried blog was created to offer hope, stories, and resources for couples who want to stay married.

If you’re NEW HERE, check out our About Page and read a little more about my own background on our first post.

Thank you for reading, sharing, and being a part of this #staymarried community!

~ Michelle

 

 

S3 E11 | Unfaithful: The Little Things that Lead to Big Betrayal

Unfaithful - The Little Things That Lead To Big Betrayal - #staymarriedWhen people talk about unfaithfulness, they aren’t typically talking about the lack of small acts of faithfulness that make up a life together. They mean – and will interchangeably use the word – infidelity.

Nothing rocks a marriage like infidelity. But, infidelity is not typically where the problems start. Instead, it’s often the culmination of little betrayals over time.

In this episode we discuss the interplay between faithfulness, trustworthiness, and simple habits. It really is the little things that make such a big difference in a marriage. Enjoy!

 

Listen to “S3 Ep11: Unfaithful – The Little Things that Lead to Big Betrayal” on Spreaker.

We discussed an article on the science of habits. You can read more on that here.

Also, The #staymarried Book is now available everywhere!

#staymarried: A Couple's Devotional by Michelle Peterson

Buy the book

 

Feel free to leave a comment or question below for us or you can submit a question privately here: Ask #staymarried. We may even answer your question in an upcoming episode.

And, of course, keep in touch with us on the socials: TwitterFacebook, and Instagram. I’d love to connect on any of your favorite platforms. We can’t wait to hear from you!


Tony and Michelle Peterson 2017The #staymarried blog was created to offer hope, stories, and resources for couples who want to stay married.

If you’re NEW HERE, check out our About Page and read a little more about my own background on our first post.

Thank you for reading, sharing, and being a part of this #staymarried community!

~ Michelle

 

 

S3 E10 | Couple Checkup: Knowing Your Relationship Strengths

Couple Checkup - Knowing Your Relationship Strengths #staymarried

If the name “PREPARE/ENRICH” sounds familiar, it may be because it was recommended to you as a part of pre-marital counseling at some point.

PREPARE/ENRICH has a long history of supporting couples. It was founded in 1980 after years of research by Family Science pioneer Dr. David Olson. The Prepare/Enrich program was developed out of research done by Dr. Olson at the University of Minnesota. They are rooted and founded on research and highly value their scientifically valid assessment.

This is why we are so excited that they’ve decided to partner with us for the launch of The #staymarried Book. Tony and I took the assessment ourselves and learned so much and really believe Couple Checkup is a perfect partner to our Couple’s Devotional.

In this episode we share what we learned about our own relationship after taking the assessment. Enjoy!

 

Listen to “S3 Ep10: Couple Checkup – Knowing Your Relationship Strengths” on Spreaker.

We also talked about all of the other Pre-order Gifts we’ve been working on. If you order #staymarried: A Couple’s Devotional before May 23rd, you’ll get…

1. #staymarried Toolkit
10 Rules for Fighting Fair
The 2 Step Method to Learn and Practice Empathy Immediately
10 Ways to Think Like a Team (instead of treating each other like opponents)

2. Couple Checkup by Prepare Enrich
Get access to this personalized online assessment powered by over three decades of research, regularly $35, for just $14.95 with our exclusive discount code!

3. Unbox Love Date Box
Every pre-order will receive an exclusive discount code for $10 off your first date in a box delivered to your door.
+ A GIVEAWAY! 10 pre-orders will be randomly selected to win a custom date box for FREE!

4. Building Trust, Unlocking Intimacy
Access to a private Facebook Group where you’ll get to participate in an exclusive 5 Week Facebook Live Course with Tony and Michelle Peterson.

 

Ready to get these awesome gifts? All you have to do is forward your pre-order receipt to the following email address and we’ll send you everything. Send your receipt before May 23rd to: staymarried book at gmail dot com

Buy the book

An Interview with Author Michelle Peterson on The #staymarried Podcast

Feel free to leave a comment or question below for us or you can submit a question privately here: Ask #staymarried. We may even answer your question in an upcoming episode.

And, of course, keep in touch with us on the socials: TwitterFacebook, and Instagram. I’d love to connect on any of your favorite platforms. We can’t wait to hear from you!


Tony and Michelle Peterson 2017The #staymarried blog was created to offer hope, stories, and resources for couples who want to stay married.

If you’re NEW HERE, check out our About Page and read a little more about my own background on our first post.

Thank you for reading, sharing, and being a part of this #staymarried community!

~ Michelle

 

 

S3 E8 | Fighting the Fray with John & Paige

Fighting the Fray with John & Paige on The #staymarried PodcastOver the years we have found so much value in simply listening to the stories of other married couples doing their best to make it work. John & Paige from Fighting the Fray lured un in with their relatable style and approachable ideas.

These two are the co creators of Fighting the Fray, a movement that exists to inspire greater acts of love in relationships, marriages, and homes. They are invested in showing that marriage is and can be awesome and that it is always worth fighting for. They are the proud parents of 2 children and live in Houston, Texas

Listen especially for their perspective on navigating a rocky start at a young age, the benefits of Marriage Mentors, and how they practically work as a team. Enjoy!

Listen to “S3 E8: Fighting the Fray with John & Paige” on Spreaker.

You can find out more about Fighting The Fray by checking out their website www.fightingthefray.com, their Instagram page, or their youtube channel where they just released a new video entitled “8 things we’ve learned in 8 years of marriage.” You can contact with them by shooting them an email at hello@fightingthefray.com

Feel free to leave a comment or question below for us or you can submit a question privately here: Ask #staymarried. We may even answer your question in an upcoming episode.

And, of course, keep in touch with us on the socials: TwitterFacebook, and Instagram. I’d love to connect on any of your favorite platforms. We can’t wait to hear from you!

Tony and Michelle Peterson #staymarriedThe #staymarried blog was created to offer hope, stories, and resources for couples who want to stay married.

If you’re NEW HERE, check out our About Page and read a little more about my own background on our first post.

Thank you for reading, sharing, and being a part of this #staymarried community!

~ Michelle

 

 

S3 E7 | Teamwork: How Flexibility Benefits Your Marriage

Teamwork - How Flexibility Benefits Your Marriage on The #staymarried PodcastTeamwork.

We talk about teamwork and being on the same team all the time. But, in this episode, we answer a listener question about how we actually do it and why it works in our marriage. Enjoy!

Listen to “S3 E7: Teamwork – How Flexibility Benefits Your Marriage” on Spreaker.

I mention two main writerly resources in this episode.

Stephen King’s On Writing

Hope*Writers Online Community

Feel free to leave a comment or question below for us or you can submit a question privately here: Ask #staymarried. We may even answer your question in an upcoming episode.

And, of course, keep in touch with us on the socials: TwitterFacebook, and Instagram. I’d love to connect on any of your favorite platforms. We can’t wait to hear from you!

Tony and Michelle Peterson #staymarriedThe #staymarried blog was created to offer hope, stories, and resources for couples who want to stay married.

If you’re NEW HERE, check out our About Page and read a little more about my own background on our first post.

Thank you for reading, sharing, and being a part of this #staymarried community!

~ Michelle

 

 

S3 E6 | Sex, God, and The Conservative Church with Dr. Tina Schermer Sellers

Sex, God, and The Conservative Church with Dr. Tina Schermer Sellers on The #staymarried PodcastIntimacy is a vital part of a healthy marriage. The biggest enemy of intimacy is shame, and sexual shame specifically has had a profoundly devastating effect on many of us.

In her new book, Sex, God and the Conservative Church: Erasing Shame from Sexual Intimacy, sex therapist and internationally recognized expert in religious sexual shame, Tina Schermer Sellers, PhD, gives us the tools and cultural competence to begin to find healing for the sexual shame holding us back from living fully into both our spiritual and sexual vitality.

We hope you enjoy this interview…

Listen to “S3 E6: Sex, God, and The Conservative Church with Dr. Tina Schermer Sellers” on Spreaker.

 

 

Sex, God, and The Conservative Church with Dr. Tina Schermer Sellers on The #staymarried Podcast

 

Sex, God, and The Conservative Church with Dr. Tina Schermer Sellers on The #staymarried Podcast

Feel free to leave a comment or question below for us or you can submit a question privately here: Ask #staymarried. We may even answer your question in an upcoming episode.

And, of course, keep in touch with us on the socials: TwitterFacebook, and Instagram. I’d love to connect on any of your favorite platforms. We can’t wait to hear from you!

Tony and Michelle Peterson #staymarriedThe #staymarried blog was created to offer hope, stories, and resources for couples who want to stay married.

If you’re NEW HERE, check out our About Page and read a little more about my own background on our first post.

Thank you for reading, sharing, and being a part of this #staymarried community!

~ Michelle

 

 

S3 E5 | The Perils of our Late Night Fights

The Perils of our Late Night Fights - The #staymaried Podcast“Don’t let the sun go down on your anger.”

“Don’t go to bed angry.”

“Even if you’re mad, say I love you before you go to sleep.”

Haven’t we all heard some version of this marriage advice?

This Ask #staymarried qustion comes from Brooke. She says…

Hey Tony and Michelle, can you help me understand something?

My husband and I got into an argument the other night after the kids went to bed. I won’t even get into what it was about because it WAS SO DUMB. I was tired, I just wanted to go to bed, but we both kept saying awful things to each other. I finally told him I was done trying to figure it out, I needed to go to bed and sleep on it. But then he pulled out the big guns: he said what he always says in these situations…

“Nope. We are figuring this out. We can’t let the sun go down on our anger.”

So, then I felt guilty for wanting to go to sleep, but I also felt like everything I said didn’t make sense because I was so tired. Can you tell me why it’s so important to settle all your fights before you go to bed? I feel like I’m going crazy when things escalate so late at night and I just don’t get it.

Please help,
Brooke

 

Dearest Brooke,
Thanks for trusting us with this. For this episode of The #staymarried Podcast, Tony and I did our best to bring some clarity to this age old advice. Enjoy…

Listen to “S3 E5: The Perils of Our Late Night Fights” on Spreaker.

My Darling, if you truly love me, please let me sleep. - The #staymarried Podcast

We love hearing from you! What sort of marriage advice have you tried to follow only to feel frustrated in the end?

Feel free to leave a comment or question below for us or you can submit a question privately here: Ask #staymarried. We may even answer your question in an upcoming episode.

And, of course, keep in touch with us on the socials: TwitterFacebook, and Instagram. I’d love to connect on any of your favorite platforms. We can’t wait to hear from you!

Tony and Michelle Peterson #staymarriedThe #staymarried blog was created to offer hope, stories, and resources for couples who want to stay married.

If you’re NEW HERE, check out our About Page and read a little more about my own background on our first post.

Thank you for reading, sharing, and being a part of this #staymarried community!

~ Michelle

 

 

 

 

 

The Perils of our Late Night Fights - The #staymaried Podcast

 

S3 E4 | The Newlywed Perspective with Nate and Angilyn Bagley

The Newlywed Perspective - The #staymaried Podcast

The Newlywed Perspective - The #staymaried PodcastI remember feeling like we were taking advantage of our marriage mentors when we first got married. We asked them to help us, but we didn’t pay them. We were taking up their time, and they were generously pouring into our lives. I apologized a lot back then. Until one day Barabara (the best marriage mentor ever) told me how she felt about our time together.

“There’s something invigorating, something so sweet really, about spending time with newlyweds. There’s this fresh sense of love that is refreshing for us. Don’t be sorry for taking up our time. This is great for our marriage, too.”

I never forgot that, and now, nearly ten years into our own marriage and beginning to spend more time with newlyweds, I thoroughly agree. For this episode of The #staymarried Podcast, Tony and I had a chance to sit down with a couple just five months into their marriage. Nate and Angilyn Bagley were such a delight and had so many fresh insights, I really hope you enjoy them as much as we did.

Listen to “S3 E4: The Newlywed Perspective with Angilyn and Nate Bagley” on Spreaker.

The Newlywed Perspective - The #staymaried Podcast

Check out Nate’s newest project First 7 Years. Did you know that 50% of divorces happen within the first seven years of marriage? As an avid student of long-lasting love, Nate is on a journey to make his first seven years the BEST seven years and I think he can help you make your first seven years of marriage fantastic, too!

First 7 Years - #staymarried

You can find out more about this project and how you can get his tips and tools for creating a solid foundation for your marriage at first7years.com.

We love hearing from you! Feel free to leave a comment or question below for us or you can submit a question privately here: Ask #staymarried. We may even answer your question in an upcoming episode.

And, of course, keep in touch with us on the socials: TwitterFacebook, and Instagram. I’d love to connect on any of your favorite platforms. We can’t wait to hear from you!

Tony and Michelle Peterson #staymarriedThe #staymarried blog was created to offer hope, stories, and resources for couples who want to stay married.

If you’re NEW HERE, check out our About Page and read a little more about my own background on our first post.

Thank you for reading, sharing, and being a part of this #staymarried community!

~ Michelle

 

S3 E3 | Keeping the Promise – How Your Wedding Vows Impact Your Marriage

Love is keeping the promise anyway. How your wedding vows impact your marriage on The #staymarried Podcast

“Some people don’t understand the promises they’re making when they make them,” I said.

“Right, of course. But you keep the promise anyway. That’s what love is. Love is keeping the promise anyway.”
― John Green, The Fault in Our Stars

I find it fascinating that at the beginning of this long journey of marriage, at the ceremony that transforms two lives into one, we exchange promises. We call them vows, and then we work for the rest of our lives trying to fulfill the promises we made.

In this episode of The #staymarried Podcast we talk about the significance of wedding vows, how they impact our marriages, and look through how different cultures view promises and ceremony. Tony also surprised me by asking if we could renew our own vows with all of you listening. Enjoy…

Listen to “S3 E3: Keeping the Promise – How Your Wedding Vows Impact Your Marriage” on Spreaker.

Love is keeping the promise anyway. How your wedding vows impact your marriage on The #staymarried Podcast

 

Love is keeping the promise anyway. How your wedding vows impact your marriage on The #staymarried Podcast

We love hearing from you! Feel free to leave a comment or question below for us or you can submit a question privately here: Ask #staymarried. We may even answer your question in an upcoming episode.

And, of course, keep in touch with us on the socials: TwitterFacebook, and Instagram. I’d love to connect on any of your favorite platforms. We can’t wait to hear from you!

Tony and Michelle Peterson #staymarriedThe #staymarried blog was created to offer hope, stories, and resources for couples who want to stay married.

If you’re NEW HERE, check out our About Page and read a little more about my own background on our first post.

Thank you for reading, sharing, and being a part of this #staymarried community!

~ Michelle

 

Love is keeping the promise anyway. How your wedding vows impact your marriage on The #staymarried Podcast

S3 E2 | Relationship Goals: How Millennial Couples Are Making It Last

Relationship Goals - How Millennial Couples Are Making It Work, Jay Cadet on The #staymarried PodcastRelationship Goals - How Millennial Couples Are Making It Work, Jay Cadet on The #staymarried Podcast
Millennial Couples are setting the bar higher than ever when it comes to what they expect in their relationships, and why shouldn’t they?

In this episode of The #staymarried Podcast we talk with Jay Cadet, a Relationship Coach who specializes in working with unmarried millennial couples. He shares his insights on how our media consumption influences our behavior in relationships as well as how couples can recover and thrive after something as devastating as infidelity.

Listen to “S3 E2: Relationship Goals – How Millenial Couples Are Making It Work with Jay Cadet” on Spreaker.

Jay Cadet is a Relationship Coach who helps unmarried, millennial couples build strong relationships they can feel confident committing to for the long haul. He lives in Harlem, NYC with his wife and son and typically can be found roaming around exploring the city, hanging out at museums, or hunting down the next burger joint to try out. He’s @JayCadet on Instagram and Twitter, and you can also come find him on Facebook.

Don’t forget to check out his incredible web course, A New Approach To Us where he has offered #staymarried listeners a 10% discount on the whole course by using the code: staymarried

A New Approach To Us Jay Cadet #staymarried

 

We love hearing from you! Feel free to leave a comment or question below for us or you can submit a question privately here: Ask #staymarried. We may even answer your question in an upcoming episode.

 

Relationship Goals - How Millenial Couples Are Making It Work, Jay Cadet on The #staymarried Podcast

 

And, of course, keep in touch with us on the socials: TwitterFacebook, and Instagram. I’d love to connect on any of your favorite platforms. We can’t wait to hear from you!

Tony and Michelle Peterson #staymarriedThe #staymarried blog was created to offer hope, stories, and resources for couples who want to stay married.

If you’re NEW HERE, check out our About Page and read a little more about my own background on our first post.

Thank you for reading, sharing, and being a part of this #staymarried community!

~ Michelle

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Relationship Goals - How Millennial Couples Are Making It Work, Jay Cadet on The #staymarried Podcast