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!


(^^ 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.


(^^ 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


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10 Months of Marriage & Closing On Our House

I know I’m not the only one who has heard someone say they don’t want to get married because “there are things I want to do with my life first.” Um, ok, what a horrible misconception and, in my opinion, pathetic excuse for not DOING something GREAT with your life! (That something being marriage)

I just noticed today on my to-do before I die list that I’ve had here on my blog for a few years — I’ve crossed more things off since I got married last September than I had in the years before that! Correlation? I think so.

My “to-do” list is different from others, I’m sure. Some things are small – some much larger. Though I know that all lists consist of goals to accomplish, places to travel to, things to do or people to become. In what way would marriage impede any of those?! It doesn’t! James is my best friend and my #1 motivator. If anything, he strives to help me achieve and become all that I can. I try to do the same for him. I love that how together – we make more happen! Marriage has given me a travel buddy, someone who pushes me, constant encouragement, a second opinion, advice, guidance, inspiration, motivation and a chance to grow on any given day. In life we often need a kick in the butt, a helping hand, a shoulder to cry on, a light at the end of the tunnel, a pull out of a rut, or an extra push.

So pretty much I’m saying that if you think marriage will hold you back – you are dumb. : )

Speaking of accomplishing goals, “Be A Home Owner” can soon be crossed off my list! The closing of our house is coming this weekend. The house has appraised and at exactly the price it was offered at. Good deal! There is still a lot to be done… as far as un-packing, having a garage sale, and de-cluttering. But we are happy to have our home-sweet-home. I keep saying I’ll put up pictures & I haven’t even taken any…my goal is to snap a couple this weekend if the rain stays away.

Looking back to the 4th of July… Here in GA there was no sunshine – just rain and clouds. We did enjoy burgers & BBQ with friends though at the Payne household. We did shoot off some fireworks. We did play games. We did wear red, white, blue, and stripes. And ended it at the movies seeing Lone Ranger. God Bless ‘Merica!

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Matt and Bethany are the cutest & spunkiest! They are our good friends from Utah who are actually currently living in our basement here in GA for the summer! FUN!!! Bethany is a very talented videographer who was hired by DoMyOwnPestControl to make professional videos for the website and such. We are so lucky to have them both!  Beth, of BP Film, actually made our wedding and engagement videos. Check out her work HERE! 

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This weekend we plan to enjoy some time at Gossling Farms for Big Mike’s and Little James’s birthday (not to be confused with my James). Family, food, & four wheeling = F U N! And glitter…. probably lots of glitter.

Next weekend we’re off to Virginia to celebrate our nephew, Max, coming of age. HA…  he’s turning eight and will be baptized! He’s requested that James speak at his baptism and I play the piano. How involved we are as aunty and uncle! He also has his big championship swim meet that weekend which we will also attend. Way to go, Maxwell! Can’t wait to see the fam-bam.

Other news: James & I are enjoying, for the first time ever in our lives, having DISH. Free HBO for three months is definitely being taken advantage of… especially now that we have DVR! Wahoo! spoiled, yes, we are. So we junk on episodes of Restaurant Impossible and The Next Food Network Star. : )

Also, we purchased a bottle of J-DAWG special sauce before leaving Utah & busted it out this last month along with our grill. We may or may not have made a Costco run to buy J-Dawg ingredients in bulk & have been overloading on dawgies which has pretty much canceled out any juicing done earlier in the summer. The numbers on the scale in our bathroom definitely show it. YIKES! But, I’d like to mention that we have often invited others to partake of the goodness with us. Here’s to summer & a few more pounds under our belts! Hahaha!

P.S. – What’s with this kid movie overload lately?! All the good ones came out at once! Monsters University and Turbo are adorable. And before we can even get to see Despicable Me 2, Planes will be coming out! haha… I guess we should have some kids so that going to see all these movies would make more sense. (We attempt to rope nieces and nephews in as often as we can)  ….Don’t get the wrong idea though. Before this last month, we rarely ever got to the theater. It’s so pricey these days!

I can’t believe July is practically over.



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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.


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!




here’s to marriage!

love, whit

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the married life

marrying james is the best decision i’ve ever made.

…right up there with serving an lds church mission and getting a Costco membership.

i love him! marriage is so much fun. honestly, we go together perfectly. i love that every morning and night, he is there. it is a beautiful thing having someone to share everything with.

there has been some adjustment. the hardest part about being married, is probably our time management. before, it was easy to get things done when james wasn’t around because he didn’t live with me. NOW we both work from home and live under the same roof. naturally, we love spending that time together – but we realized quickly that it was easily wasted because james would cuddle the whole day away while watching Netflix if I agreed to it.

but, we’ve gotten a better grip on how to be in the same small apartment and do our own separate things. we’re over having to always be in the same room as each other…which makes homework, chores, and work happen more often.

even though sometimes james catches me studying like this sometimes…



james is so sweet to me in so many ways. i love making our “house” a “home”, and he surprised me one morning with these lovely fall mums!:


we both like to entertain…so having friends over is always an option!

we’ve had a couple “Debate Parties” which were both a full-house success. (on such occasions, i love that i own a crockpot! i’m a little obsessed). or just nights of movies and games is always fun.


we also did our first BYU tailgating. kabob style. it was great! …though agreed that next time we’ll scale-up a bit….


we also had our first Cornbelly’s experience! we went with B and Kelli and had a fun fall night of pumpkins, deep fried junk food, and haunted mazes of sorts.

B and James fit in with the other little boyz…

that night was both mine and james’ first haunted anything experience. SUPER fun with B and Kel! i found out i’m a screamer, kelli ain’t eva scurred, and both B and James are runners…James especially when there is a chainsaw involved.


since fall and the leaf change came around, james and i like to drive up in the mountains.

we enjoyed the pretty views up there with these two!…lora & dan…

james was even so diligent as to carve our love into an aspen…


3.5 weeks of marriage down, and i’d say we own it!

more to come!…

love, whit

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