On Putting Marriage First

– In visiting the long neglected blog, I realized that I had this post here that I had failed to publish. I may have written it two months ago, but It was a good reminder of something we need to constantly work at. –

Growing up my mom always prepped me that “marriage is not easy, it is a lot of work.” Of course, I never thought too much of it when I could see my parents happily married and I wasn’t in that chapter of life yet. Then I got married, and I heard plenty of newly wed advice like, “have a date night once a week” and “make time to date your spouse” and “never go to bed angry.” Sure! I was now living with my best friend and we hung out all the time. Life was fun!

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(^^ throwback to our engagement photos ^^)

Then real life settled in more. If you’re married, you might be smiling to yourself because you know what I’m talking about. Sure, there may be quirks you hadn’t noticed before or petty arguments about picking up after each other or who is hogging the bed. – Or perhaps your husband gifts you a really nice box of chocolates for Valentine’s Day and then eats it himself because you didn’t “eat it quick enough!” There can be nothing more devastating than going for that favorite piece you have been saving to find an empty box of crinkled paper. – I have since learned to hide my chocolate. But jokes aside, there can be really tough things to deal with. Adapting to a new second family and their way of doing things isn’t always easy, not to mention balancing time spent with each family. Finances can definitely put a strain on the newly wed bliss. And all of your decisions now affect not just yourself, but another person and your life together. It’s true, marriage is not easy.

What I have been dwelling on frequently is where James and I are at right now. We have two kids and are coming up on five years of marriage. It has been such an adventure so far! We have had some really low lows and also some incredibly great memories. But we are definitely at a stage in our marriage that is requiring the most work so far. When we decided to have children, we decided to not just share our hearts with each other, but with these beautiful little people. Hands down that has been an easy thing to do! However, it has also been easy to let those little people come first before our marriage.

Being a parent is absolutely a priority. They say that having children is like having your heart walking around outside of your body. I understand that completely! As a mother, I decided to quit my photo business because I wanted to give my baby and almost three year old more of me. Taking care of them and being there for them is my life. It can be too easy though to make my kids become more important than my marriage by letting them get more of me than James does.

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(^^ our attempts at a family picture this year on Easter haha ^^)

James is in school full time right now and working full time. He is SO busy. I’m at home with our two babes, trying to keep up with their needs, our home and our yard. We also both have responsibilities at church and often commitments with other people and events. At the end of the day, we are both pooped. I will readily admit that our marriage has suffered. We get stuck on auto pilot. I deal with the kids, he has work and school. Our lives could easily stay very separate because there is lack of communication with each other – it’s so easy to feel frustrated and worn out. We don’t take time for each other to bond, connect, work things out and take care of one another’s needs when life is hectic – but that is when we need it the most. It causes distance and maybe even bitter feelings toward one another.

I know that James and I aren’t the only ones that face this struggle.

I think about this a lot lately because it is the biggest thing James and I are working to improve: that each other – our marriage – should come first before our kids, our jobs, our other family members, or hobbies. It can be a really hard thing to do! And it is a lot of work. A lot of communication. We have become so much more open with each other and know that we don’t want to be the empty-nesters facing retirement that are uncomfortable and scared about having to live life alone again with a spouse we have allowed ourself to become disconnected from because of years spent focused on work and children instead of each other. (longest sentence ever!)

I really don’t know what the purpose of this post was, just that this afternoon James and I had to revisit how and where we can fit time in for each other. A time each day where we know we push pause on everything else to reconnect and talk or just spend time together somehow uninterrupted. Every marriage needs and deserves that. It reminds me of a quote I love…

“If you want something to last forever, you treat it differently. You shield it and protect it. You never abuse it. You don’t expose it to the elements. You don’t make it common or ordinary. If it ever becomes tarnished, you lovingly polish it until it gleams like new. It becomes special because you have made it so, and it grows more beautiful and precious as time goes by.”

― F. Burton Howard

xoxo

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Temple Square

James and I had the opportunity of visiting Utah this Spring – as in a few months ago now – and I’m finally taking the time to post some pictures from our trip. I’m so on-the-ball!

It worked out great that James had a business conference to attend in Salt Lake City (Domopalooza) and little Jude and I were able to tag along.

Jude did great in our flights. The flight attendants LOVED him! Who wouldn’t? : ) We stayed the first part of our trip in The Grand America which was super fancy & a fun experience. After the conference was over, we headed down to Provo and stayed there a couple nights to be closer to friends. Seeing some of our favorite faces and catching up was well overdue and much needed.

Temple Square

One afternoon, we made it to Temple Square in Salt Lake. Utah in spring is GORGEOUS, and Temple Square in the spring definitely tops the charts. I was obsessing over all of the tulips and mass amounts of flowers EVERYWHERE. It’s amazing really.

Temple Square

Temple Square

The hanging flower boxes along the walls were my favorite part. With bright happy poppies coming out the top!

Temple Square

Temple Square

Seeing as it was Jude’s first time to Utah and Temple Square, I had to document it well for him. It’s such a special place to us. Sure, he won’t remember it…but that’s what pictures are for!

Temple Sqaure

Temple Square

Temple Square

Temple Square

^ This photo is one of my favorites. ^

Temple Square

We made it into the old Tabernacle where we found a sister missionary who served in our ward in Georgia a few months prior! She is from the Philippines and was headed home the very next week. Such a sweet little coincidence to run into her there. She and her companion did the sound presentation in the Tabernacle so we could hear the pin drop. Incredible acoustics!

Temple Square

Temple Square

Temple Square

Even though it was spring, the wind and weather were still bitter cold. We had to stay bundled.

Temple Square

Temple Square

Temple Square

Seriously though…look at how many flowers!

Temple Square

Temple Square

Temple Square

When we were done being “tourists”, we stopped and ate at The Lion House for brunch. Warm homemade goodness!

Temple Square

Temple Square

^Fancy little way to keep things watered ^

Summer is now here – clearly, It’s the end of July – and we’ve been staying super busy. James just finished his summer term of school and finals this week. He’ll start up with an even heavier load in a week or so for Fall. Ugh! I’m just as ready for him to be done as he is. Still over a year to go though. Jude is walking and all over the place. His personality cracks us up & he continues to be a sweet and personable little guy. We enjoyed having my family in town this month as well – my mom, two sisters, and their kids all stayed at our house for about a week. Summer is winding down quickly – we have two more Gossling babies joining the family any day now (June and Shellie are very much about to pop!) and Jude is about to be ONE! Where has the year gone? August 6th.

xoxo

Whitney Gossling | That Girl Whit

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Atlanta Portrait Photographer | Julian’s Getting Baptized

 

Baptism Photography

Baptism Photos

Atlanta Photographer

Atlanta Portrait Photographer

Atlanta Portrait Photographer

Atlanta Photographer

Baptism Photos

 

 

Julian is turning eight years old in July and making the wonderful step of baptism later this summer! I love his excitement and our fun session at the Atlanta LDS Temple last night. He was beaming while wearing his dad’s old missionary tag and insisted we use his well worn scriptures for the pictures. Adorable! I couldn’t resist already sharing a few on here as I was culling through and editing this afternoon.

xoxo

 

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Andres + Karissa …the Utah Wedding chapter

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Meet Andres and Karissa Lazarte!

These two have a very special place in mine and James’ heart. James met Andres on his mission in Argentina. They lived together for 4.5 months and have been as close as brothers ever since. I heard stories about Andres before I ever met him & it didn’t take long for me to love him too. In fact, the first night I met him, (apart from learning that he cannot parallel park a vehicle) I was already thinking of which of my single lady friends I could set him up with. Andres is the nicest guy, genuine, funny, fun, a little hipster – but good looking! (LOL 😉 ) And once you meet his family – you understand why he’s such a good egg! In no time, the Lazarte’s had adopted James and I as their own. Needless to say – we love these people. Andres would third wheel with James and I often…. more like I would third wheel with them. He came with us when we adopted Kitty. He house sat for us a couple times. He flew to Georgia to be in our wedding. He even wore suspenders for it! He is a solid friend.

SO – – -long story short. Even though nothing ever worked out with my friends – I was very excited when I heard him tell us about Karissa. Karissa was a missionary he also met in Argentina. Right as Andres was on his way home – Karissa was new in the mission. Their meeting was brief, but they became regular pen pals after. I don’t want to tell THE WHOLE STORY because you should totally watch their adorable engagement video — made by the one and only BP Film:

Andres + Karissa :: Couple’s Story from BP. Film on Vimeo.

Letter writing quickly turned into dating once she got back home to Utah. Andres could not stop talking about how great she was and that he really liked her! James and I were pumped – – – not only because they had their first date in our apartment (Andres house sat for us watching Kitty while we were out of town) – – – but there were some true sparks it seemed!

We met Karissa on a double date to the Nickelmania (super Utah, i know). And I loved her right away … it was a perfect fit! Karissa is beautiful, SO sweet, SO happy, and just a delightful person to be around. They were adorable together. She seemed to be just as excited about him as he was her. Needless to say… I was not surprised when talk of ring shopping was in the air months later.

James & I did not want to miss this union – – – Luckily, I passed well enough to be their photographer & James got to be a groomsman. And, basically, it was a perfectly happy weekend…

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The afternoon of August 24th 2013 coming out of the Salt Lake City Temple…  I may or may not have shed joyous tears multiple times throughout the day.

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So, Andres & Karissa… here’s to you! And a very very happy marriage together. For time and all eternity. : )

I love you dearly,

Whit

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It was nice to be in Utah again for a few days.

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what I’m learning being married

James & I will hit the 6 month mark of marriage this coming Easter weekend. 6 WHOLE BIG WHOPPING MONTHS. I know what you’re thinking…that’s NUTHIN’! But it seems that time is flying in a “6 months ALREADY? / ONLY 6 months!? Feels like we’ve known each other much longer.” kind of way. If that makes any sense at all.

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I was prepped my whole life to know that “marriage is not easy & not always all romantic like the movies make it out to be.” (granted, I feel that these days movies are portraying more and more dysfunctional family situations than they used to. or is it just me?) Anyway, I’m grateful for going into marriage with realistic expectations. It has made me cherish every bit of it & have fun in the journey. I think marriage is GREAT and SO FUN and SO WORTH IT! Personally, I’m having a blast. That doesn’t mean it’s always all cherry pie and picnics though.

And for some reason, I just feel like sharing some things I’m learning along the way…

1. Don’t dwell on the little things/pick your battles. I’ve accepted that even though I have the mentality of branching out and trying new things…James will ALWAYS order the one thing on the menu that has”BBQ” in the title. Mundane? I think so. The man likes to stick with what he knows. He’s simple. I’m not so much. And I’m not just referring to our food preferences. I could easily let things bother me. Though I’m seeing that our combo is quite the perfect match. We balance each other out nicely.

2. James is male. I am female. well, DUH! But…I’d say we’re both learning to be accepting of the fact that I will always have to repeat myself a few times if I want to get a response out of him while he is watching TV, fiddling with his phone, playing a video game or basically doing anything with technology. Likewise, he has come to terms with the fact that I’m overly sensitive and could, at any given moment, start crying about who knows what that might not even have to do with him. So, patience is key because I highly doubt either of those things is ever going to change entirely…or at all.

3. Communication! We can’t read each other’s minds, so no use harboring ill feelings about something. I think this is mostly for me – the overly emotional one. Poor James won’t always know if I’d like him to help more with something. or WHY I’m acting cranky or stressed. or if there is something bothering me. I’m learning to speak up about it more. He does the same. I know it has brought us even closer together.

4. I’m super blessed! If I ever do bring something up to James or have a melt down, he is very sweet, tender, and caring to make things right & try to understand. He’s very quick to apologize. And I’m learning to be.

5. I am not perfect. Neither is James. I tend to overspend on groceries. James tends to buy too many gadgets on Amazon. I hate that he goes to bed so late most nights. He hates that I get tired so early practically every night. He hates eating dinner early. I hate that he gets hungry at 11:30pm. He loves being right and proving people wrong. I, also, enjoy being right and do not enjoy being proven wrong. He doesn’t like every article of clothing I pick out for him. He also doesn’t love every pair of shoes or colored tights I like to wear. BUT I’m (we are) learning that we can’t control each other, to accept differences, to accept faults because we both have them, but to also work towards improvement.

6. I am not always in the mood to watch the movie James wants to. I don’t prefer all of his music choices. He’s a constant cuddler. I like a little more space when I sleep. He can sit inside all day. I get antsy and cranky and want to go out. He doesn’t really like going out on walks with me. BUT…we are learning compromise. Loving someone & wanting to see them happy means we do things we might not always like or want to do.

7. Set goals and dream big together! James and I both like to dream big. He’s better than I am at making things happen, but that’s good. He helps me. We set goals together. We both are “in the know” with finances & other important matters. That unity is vital to making our “dreams” come true. It’s nice to be on the same page and work and grow together – To support each other in our endeavors. Especially when there are a lot of bumps on the road there.

thank you

 

I guess today I’m especially grateful for marriage. For my sweet husband. For the last 6 months. For how much we both have learned and grown. And mostly for the future we have ahead of us….I look forward to next weekend when we go to Seattle. I look forward to next month when we move home to Georgia. I look forward to a year from now and wherever that puts us. I look forward to when we decide to expand our little family. And I look forward to us being a gray-haired couple still crazy in love!

 

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here’s to marriage!

love, whit

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General Conference: Come Listen to a Prophet’s Voice

Come listen to living prophets

General Conference is coming!!!

October 6-7th  (saturday morning always ends up being my favorite session for some reason)

i love conference. i love knowing that God IS the same yesterday, today, and forever… that just as he called on prophets in days before to guide his people, he still does. nothing can bring more peace, comfort, answers, and guidance better than hearing God’s words through his living prophets today. don’t believe me? give it a listen…

The live broadcast will be available from the following sources:

 

“Righteous character is more valuable than any material object you own, any knowledge you have gained through study, or any goals you have attained no matter how well lauded by mankind. In the next life your righteous character will be evaluated to assess how well you used the privilege of mortality.”

-Richard G. Scott (quorum of the twelve apostles)

love, whit

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engagement photos

…just look at the handsome man i’m going to marry!

…and just look at how happy we are!

there are a TON. and i’m kind of obsessed with them.

our photographer, Lora Grady, is phenomenal.

Check out more of us on her blog:

Lora Grady Photography: Whitney and James Engagements

the wedding is inching closer. september is just around the corner.

right now i’m dealing with moving out and packing. finals. and wedding planning shenanigans.

also, helping out and getting ready for Miss Chelsea Vose’s wedding coming up next week.

Then couch hopping for a bit since I will be temporarily homeless.

And finally, flying home to GA for a bit before Fall classes start.

James flew home to GA today. Then he’s headed to Argentina for a little over a week. I miss him already.

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loved this!…

“With our human frailties, we can do what we can do. But you will never be disappointed by the Almighty. He will work with you.”

—Boyd K. Packer

love, whit

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my life in shminstagram

visual update of what i’ve been up to this summer…

okGO!

…italian sodas with elissa…

and play dates with elissa and nate in SLC…

…my sunflowers grew MIGHTY BIG this summer!!!

and i got some flowers from my lovah…

FIVE SPOT frozen yogurt. YESSSS!

…james and me sitting on a big bail of hay. no big d.

and he snags pics of me as i sleep in the car…

we upgraded in life!…

meal for $3!

dates with chels and bryce…

…ok now you are sick of us.

i fell in love with Mountain West Burrito…

…and love when Costco has SALES on pizza!…$6!…

4th of July FUN with the Beach Boys…

study time with james…

the ugly ashy clouds out my window for days when we had all the big forest fires…

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he likes anchovies on his salads apparently…

…fancy dinners at italian cafes…

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a lovely saturday with my ladies in Salt Lake City – Temple Square…

atop the conference center with chels and carolyn

ok…

i stay busy, see?

happy summer!

love, whit

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Road Trip pit stops – Colorado

slowly but surely i will catch up

(sigh…who am i kidding? i never even finished posting about all of my italy trip)

though our (mine and jame’s) roadtrip: GA –> UT was just in june, so i’m not too out of date yet.

the best thing about our trip was that we stopped whenever the heck we felt like it. in colorado – we attended church, swung by the LDS temple, took a stroll alongside the Colorado River, and went on the MOST BEAUTIFUL HIKE EVER (hanging lake – click for post)

a few of the pit stop foties:

at the Denver, CO LDS Temple

then later along the CO riv…

…ha… pose.

and of course, our hike later that  day…

“we was here”

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ok, so…

we’re on day numero cuatro of being engaged.

wedding date selected: SEPTEMBER 29th! in atlanta. (there were complications with october – and any later only means colder weather = booooo)

reception will be the night BEFORE – sept 28th. – less stress and we will enjoy it more this way having a party we won’t be counting down the minutes to leave (if you know what i mean)

we’ve been blessed to have ALREADY found an ideal place to live here in provo for fall. two bedrooms/washer and dryer/furnished/covered parking/close to everything. i’ll be living there solo from sept 1st until we be wedded… then i’ll make space for james, i suppose.

i think i may have settled on my “color scheme” and have some wedding dress shopping scheduled with miss chelsea vose in SLC on saturday.

and that’s the news for now.

love, whit

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