I was able to interview a couple that I found inspiring; a couple I look up to, about transitioning into marriage. I loved putting this together and was able to learn a lot from them. I would love to interview many more couples with similar questions. Here is the first interview with amazing advise and a glimpse of equal partnership between men and women in families.
James and Karen
James (34 years old) and Karen (33 years old) are part of the Draper, Utah ward. They have been married 11 years and have six children. One of their children is disabled and confined to a wheel chair. James was recently diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. They own a home that functions as a multiple family home. They have two apartments upstairs. One apartment they have James’ parents stay in and the other they are renting to a newly married couple. James and Karen have been living in this home for 5 years. I was able to interview them and get their insight and knowledge on their transition to marriage and advise.
Some of the early issues in James and Karen’s marriage is Karen had unrealistic expectations that their marriage had to be perfect like her parents of 45 years married has. They also had troubles combining their schedules at first. Since they were able to date and spend so much time together before they were married it was easy for James to live with Karen after marriage.
James and Karen said it was easy for them to divide the responsibilities because they already knew each other’s strengths and weaknesses. James loves to cook, so if Karen started cooking, James would usually step in and finish it. Karen can function off of little sleep better than James, so when they started having children Karen volunteered to get up with the children during the night and James picked up the slack the next day when Karen was tired. James says, “I am a fire breathing dragon and not too pleasant to be around if I haven’t gotten’ a full eight hours of sleep.”
Karen along with James were both able to express how one should prepare for marriage and what they should do to have a good marriage. Karen says, “Having expectations that are realistic for each other can be huge!” Also, Karen goes on to say that if both people are willing to compromise and look to understand one another, they are able to solve problems faster. The main things that make their marriage successful is they focus on the eternal aspect of their covenant marriage, incredible sex, communication patterns, and date nights weekly.
Some pitfalls that Karen mentioned that people should avoid in transitioning to marriage, fall back on your own personal expectations and communicating those early on. James agreed and mentions that some red flags to watch out for before you marry a person is to make sure that person is communicating properly and about everything. James says, “they should always put you first!”
The only boundary issues James and Karen had to work through were with the in-laws. James suggested that you should never use your parents as a therapist to complain about your spouse. Advise from Karen about this subject is that you should always just respect your in-laws by following their rules at their home. Karen says that you should invite in-laws to important events to include them in your life. Karen also spoke of a time she was trying to understand James and went to his mother to talk to her about him. Karen said that it helped a lot because James’ mother was able to help her understand why James does things a certain way.
The main shocker for James after marrying Karen was maintaining that “me time”. He knew he still needed it and was able to communicate this to Karen. James also noticed that before marriage he had a lot more freedom. He chose to be married and knows that he has responsibilities now and loves them.
While looking at James, Karen expressed how she loves that she was able to marry her best friend and see him every day. James feels the same way. After knowing what they know now, James and Karen would do it all over again and get married.
When interviewing James and Karen I was able to get first hand feedback on their views and ideas about transition to marriage. One thing that I have learned with this interview is that communication is huge especially before marriage. Another thing I have learned is that one must maintain their individualism to avoid fusion. We must celebrate our differences and learn to compromise. Marriage is something that couples should always be working on. Communicating the expectations early on can help the transition into marriage.
James and Karen. Personal interview about transition to marriage and marriage. 2/18/2017