I interviewed John and Cindy about their marriage and the challenges they’ve faced together as a married couple. I am encouraged by their relationship and have decided to use their relationship as a model for my second interview. John and Cindy have been married for almost 5 years. In addition to this union, there is McKenna, Cindy’s son. They are a blended family, of course, and are part of the more modern structure of families in our society. When reflecting upon their ideas about marriage, prior to actually being married, I noticed that Cindy’s outlook was positive.
She knew she would be married one day and looked forward to it. Even though she was in a long-term romantic relationship prior to meeting John, that relationship wasn’t what she considered a foundation for a good marriage. Her former boyfriend was good friends with the family and spent a great amount of time with them. Cindy also spent a great deal of time with his family as well.
This allowed them to witness each other’s family of origin. However, the time that John spends with her family, she says, is different. It’s full of quality and genuine caring for her people.
John also added that Cindy’s first meeting with his mother and sister exceeded his expectations. They took to her right away and have had a good relationship ever since. As a matter of fact, several of his family members have traveled from their home states to stay with them for weeks at a time.
I decided to ask about the differences between men and women, and if either of them has heard of the book Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus by author John Gray, the feedback was instant. They both chimed in with the same answer. John has always believed that men will never understand what goes on in a woman’s mind.
Cindy believes that men are a different species, and not necessarily human. They way men and women problem solve, in her opinion, are polar opposites. However, when she comes to John with a problem or a task she tries to remember that she asked him for help. He doesn’t need to have the solution dictated to him; she must trust him to help in his own way. She also believes that there is more than one way to solve a problem, and it doesn’t matter whose way is used, as long as the problem is solved. I take this piece of advice to heart, as I’ve been told that I am impatient and a bit of a control freak.
John states that he tries his best to work out his own dilemmas because he knows that Cindy has a stressful full-time job, and she’s also a full-time mom to McKenna. Between her schedule and McKenna’s extra-curricular activities, John doesn’t like to add anything extra on her plate if he doesn’t need to. That, he says, is the reason he takes such a large role in McKenna’s activities. It brings a sense of peace to the home when he knows his wife and son’s needs are met. Our next subject was the topic of “deadly habits” that ruin a relationship.
Another excellent example of their understanding is Cindy’s approach to getting help with household chores. Instead of nagging John to take out the garbage, which is initially what she used to do, she tried a different approach. Now she asks him once or twice, and if he doesn’t get to it, she kindly lets him know how uncomfortable she is with trash sitting and the extra work it makes for her in the long run with cleaning the mess or airing out the lingering odor. She admits that she doesn’t go overboard because she is a “junky” person and doesn’t want to look like a hypocrite.
John, however, has fallen into her pattern of “junkiness,” stating that he used to be quite neat and before he knew it, he had clothes on the floor right next to Cindy’s. And he appreciates her new approach when asking him to complete tasks because he feels respected and needed instead of criticized or scolded like a child. I brought up the topic of the four stages of love and asked both John and Cindy if they were aware that four stages existed. They both replied no, and I proceeded to explain each stage and ask which one they were in. John feels as if they are still in the infatuation stage, based on his love for Cindy.
He doesn’t feel as if the honeymoon has ended because he loves her more each day. Cindy feels the same, but recognizes realistically that they are in the connection stage. She said they have gone through the discovery stage and now focus on staying together and constantly working to better their relationship. While it does still feel new to her, she takes into consideration the challenges they’ve overcome and the challenges that await them in the future. One of the many challenges couples face is dealing with financial issues. Cindy makes a great living and had done so prior to meeting John.
And the same goes for him. But Cindy realized, upon marriage, that John was better at managing finances than she was. After being independent for many years it was an adjustment for her to have someone else make suggestions to her on saving money or cutting back on her spending. However, trusting her husband and seeing the way he managed his own money, she took his advice and is glad she did. They consult on big purchases and realize that not every dollar spent has to be accounted for to the other person. They, especially Cindy, realize that being on one accord in money matters benefits the family.
It’s not about one person’s money anymore. It’s their money regardless of who makes more or who spends it. Being that John and Cindy are both in their early 40’s, I asked both of them if they felt there was an ideal age to get married. Cindy believes there isn’t an ideal age to get married. If she had met John fifteen years ago and still feels as she does now, she would have married him then. However, she is thankful that she was able to do all the things she loved doing as a single woman such as traveling, going out with girlfriends as she pleased and shopping.
She’s also thankful from a parental standpoint because her habits changed after having McKenna. She was able to satisfy her single self, and can now be happy and content being a wife and mother without feeling as if she missed out on anything. John says he was content not being married or even being on the path to marriage. He feels there is no ideal age to get married. When you’re ready, you’ll know it, no matter how old or young you are. He shares Cindy’s sentiments on satisfying his single self prior to meeting and marrying her. He is content with what he accomplished on his own and now loves that they accomplish things together.
From the many topics we discussed, on and off the record, I am so inspired by John and Cindy’s approach to love and life. I enjoy being in their presence because they radiate a positive vibe. I don’t enjoy being around couples that argue or have tension between them. It’s uncomfortable for me and can change the mood of the environment. I have listened to both of them intently and have related their challenges to challenges I’ve had. The approach they take toward each other is remarkable. They have a mutual respect that goes beyond loving each other. They respect each other as individuals with their own respective levels of intelligence.
I appreciate the example they provide to me and to other people they encounter. I know Cindy very well and it has really pleased me to watch her grow in love with someone who compliments her so well. I have seen the subtle changes she’s made such as cooking. I’ve also seen the more apparent changes, such as the reduction in her stress level. Talking to them and watching their words in action has redefined my beliefs in marriage. I don’t have many examples of a happily married couple. But knowing that Cindy and John are in my life makes it easier for me to have a blueprint of what marriage can be.