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Hello, belles! Happy to see you on a Sunday! :) Those of you who picked up a copy of Southern Weddings V6 surely saw our two marriage advice features, “To Love and To Cherish” and “All the Days of My Life.” From your feedback, we know they’ve been some of the most popular! Over the next several weeks, we’re going to be highlighting and expanding on the nuggets of wisdom we shared in print from some of the smartest and most insightful married gals (and guys!) we know. From folks married less than a year to couples married 40+ years, they all have wonderful thoughts to share. We’re kicking off this series with advice from our very own Kristin Winchester — we hope you enjoy!

From Kristin Winchester, Southern Weddings’ Blue Ribbon Vendor Director, married to Kyle Winchester one year at time of V6’s publication (see their wedding here!):

Inherently a good marriage starts LONG before you say I do. It starts with being patient, trusting God and actively seeking the right person to share in the adventures of marriage. Of course, this same patience, trust and effort must follow you for a successful marriage to become a reality. Marriage is magical, but it is foolish to think that good marriage just happens. It takes hard work and dedication; the great news is that the rewards are never-ending. You get to spend the rest of your days with your very best friend – learning, laughing and growing through life together.

Always keep dating, be it at the occasional fancy restaurant or pizza on the living room floor. Never stop learning. Ask each other questions and take advantage of long car trips to recount silly stories. Hold one another accountable to greatness – root each other on as you explore new careers, hobbies and passions. Be present in the moment, put down your cellphone and enjoy the adventure right in front of you.

And remember you are not perfect. The good news? Neither is your spouse. Don’t be afraid to say “I’m sorry,’ to forgive without ceasing, and to say “I love you” every chance you get.

Keep up with Kristin:
Blog: Southern Weddings
Instagram: @kn_winchester
Twitter: @kn_winchester
Pinterest: @knwinchester

All photos by Julia Wade, who is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

emily Written with love by Emily
3 Comments
  1. avatar Marilisa reply

    What a fun feature! I so enjoyed the “To Love and To Cherish” and “All the Days of My Life” features in V6. This is one of the many reasons why I respect your team so much – encouraging women, brides, fiancés, girlfriends, etc to see that marriage takes work, but that you’re not alone in it! I will love checking in on Sundays for these :)

  2. avatar Emily reply

    Love these sweet photos of you guys! Good job, Julia!!

  3. avatar Melissa reply

    Excited to hear that! Loved that section of V6, one of my favorite parts!

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Happy New Year, belles! We are big believers in goals and resolutions in the Southern Weddings office: we always set company goals for the year together, as well as individual professional goals, and Lara is pretty much the Queen of Thoughtful Goal Setting (parts 1, 2, and 3 of this year’s series are live on her blog!). While we like the traditional resolutions as much as anyone else (healthy eating, regular exercise, and less screen time are all good things), we wanted to spend a little time today talking about resolutions for our relationships.

Just like most areas of our life, our relationships can use a little tune-up every so often. Whether we’ve been together two months or two years, are married, engaged, or dating, less-than-desirable behaviors have a way of creeping in over time. Instead of just accepting these things as an inevitable part of long-term relationships, we believe in working together to make each year better than the one that came before it. Can I get an amen?

We thought we’d share our own relationship resolutions for the new year to help get your wheels turning! Take a few minutes to sit down with your honey in the next few days to see if you can’t come up with your own — it’s actually pretty fun!

Lisa: One of mine and Dave’s biggest resolutions for 2014 is to plan a meaningful, Christ-centered wedding that is a true reflection of our relationship, our story, and our families. We are so excited to gather our loved ones in a place that is so special to us as we commit our lives to each other, and we want them all to leave our wedding being able to say, “That was so Lisa and Dave!” On that note, even though we’re thrilled and excited about the wedding, our other resolution is to make sure that building our relationship doesn’t take a back burner to planning. We still want to go on dates, travel together, explore new places, and have great experiences that help us to get to know each other even better.

Nicole: Taylor and I decided to make resolutions that we could both work on (rather than me making a resolution that benefits him and vice versa). This year, we’re resolving to making dinner plans in advance — including a menu for the night and a grocery shopping plan. Last year, we got into the habit of getting together for dinnertime and then spending an hour debating what to make, if we wanted to spend time making it, or if we should just go out. And if we wanted to go out, where should we go? We’d both end up hungry and frustrated by 8:00 with a pizza on the way. While we’d still like to keep our pizza picnic tradition, we also greatly enjoy our time in the kitchen together and sitting down to a healthy meal. We’d like to gain time back making real conversation and to break some unhealthy dining habits.

Marissa: With a sweet little baby arriving soon after the New Year, one relationship resolution BDK and I have set is planned rest together. With all the holiday busyness and preparing for our daughter (I’m a bit type A), time has become scarce. So, we’re committing to nights in with Netflix and Chinese food on the couch! Creating purposeful time to rest and enjoy each other’s company helps refuel our marriage. I’ve also committed to not making our bed sometimes. Now, this resolution may sound funny, but I tend to make it even before BDK can get out of it! By not making the bed, it’s my physical way of showing BDK my commitment to not taking things quite so seriously :)

Lara: My 2014 relationship resolution is to plan more “just Ari” time. With a toddler and both of us having busy lives professionally, time for just the two of us is rare. So, in 2014 I resolve to plan date nights well in advance so we know we will always have time for just us. When we are strong together, we are strong for Grace and for everyone in our lives!

Kristin: 2013 was very kind to the Winchesters. After dating long-distance for 6+ years, our first full calendar year of married life included numerous fun little adventures along with getting more settled into our home in VA. We have gotten quite spoiled by regular suppers at the table and quiet nights curled up on the sofa. For 2014, we have two relationships resolutions related to our current location. First, we want to be intentional about spending quality time together AND with other couples. We typically do a pretty good job at together time, but we feel that double-dating and group dating is a way we can spend quality time with people we love and in the process learn a thing or two about relationships from new perspectives. Second, we want to do a better job at exploring our current surroundings. We want to take advantage of the attractions and adventures that the Commonwealth of Virginia offers. I am not typically very ‘outdoorsy’, but I am ready to take a hike or two in 2014!

Emily: John is the dinner chef in our family, so my two relationship resolutions for the new year are related to that. First, I want to sit on one of our comfy bar stools while he cooks. I’m usually working on (personal) blog posts or projects during this time, but my new perch will bring us physically closer (instead of me being on the couch across the room) and make conversation easier. Second, I want to wash the dishes every night before going to bed instead of leaving them until the morning — it makes our home a happier place to be.

Ready to make your own? Go for it! Yours could be something concrete, like doing the dishes, or something more general, like cultivating gratitude daily for your husband/fiance. Leave a note in the comments so we can cheer you on! Whatever you choose, know we are proud of you for taking the small step!! Love never fails.

P.S. These ridiculously cute engagement photos are by Cassidy Brooke. See them all in our Facebook Friday album!

emily Written with love by Emily
2 Comments
  1. avatar Heath reply

    I love the photos in this – I’m guessing they’ve been shot on film. Just beautiful.

  2. avatar in a week | SOMETHING SOUTHERN reply

    […] was inspired by the Southern Weddings ladies to create relationship resolutions in addition to my personal […]

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Pack your bags! We’re going on vacation!!

Well, not actually — at least not together — but admit it. The idea of dashing off to a dreamy destination makes your heart beat a little bit faster, doesn’t it?

This hint is pretty easy to put into action. Hop on a plane, gas up the car or close the blinds and declare your very own staycation. Regardless of your method of transportation or ultimate destination, Hint #7 dives into why it is so important to “Get Away.”

Getting away is not easy, but lawd have mercy, it’s important. There are few things that are better for my soul than a few days away with Kyle. I like to call this hint the “secret sauce to my sassy marriage.” :)

Keep in mind that planning is important for this hint, but not required. We try to proactively build in time to Get Away when we’re setting our calendars and budget for the year, but definitely count on an occasional impromptu weekend away, too.

Kyle and I try to plan a weekend away at least four times a year, but we are by no means world travelers. For us, getting away sometimes means a weekend to visit family. Other times, it’s a long weekend away at the beach. And yes, we do save our pennies to take adventures that require planes, because we strongly believe in being purposeful and making memories. How else would I be able to touch the Eiffel Tower after years of practicing my French accent and dreaming of crepes? I’ve read studies that have shown that the greatest joy from taking a trip actually comes when you’re planning for it — which is great, because it means the effects of travel and new experiences expand far beyond just the few days you have off work!

While planning isn’t required, I do think that there is one important ground rule: you must be intentional about the away part. If you spend the weekend at home on a staycation, you must pretend like you are on vacation –– be adventurous, sleep in, watch movies all day – do whatever “vacation” means for you. If you visit family, make sure you fill your time with things that rejuvenate you. Put some of those past hints in action: laugh out loud, put down your cellphone, go on a date. The WHOLE point of this hint is to recharge your batteries and to take time AWAY from the daily grind.

The good news? When you’re refreshed, you’re energized and prepared to tackle the everyday battles. Getting away also lets you spend some quality time with the one that makes your heart beat a little faster. It is a purposeful and heartfelt investment into your marriage. It’s hard to not catch yourself smiling when you think about the last getaway you took with your beau, right? See, this really is the secret sauce to a strong marriage.

Where are your favorite places to get away? How are you deliberate about getting away? Share your travel secrets below. Let’s make 2014 the year we all “Get Away!”

This lovely engagement session is by Jen Dillender! See the whole thing on Facebook!

kristin Written with love by Kristin
2 Comments
  1. avatar Emily reply

    Living in North Carolina, John and I like to get away to both the mountains and the beach. We’ve had a tradition for the last four years of spending a weekend in Asheville in the fall, and we try to go to the coast, even if just for the day, at least once a summer. Charleston is always a favorite long weekend destination, but it’s a bit farther away and requires a bit more planning. I could not agree with you more about the importance of mini adventures and overnights — definitely something I consider very important for keeping our marriage strong and happy!!

  2. avatar Lara reply

    Oh I love this! At this new point in our lives with a toddler, we have found that even just getting in the car with her and talking a drive to see te fall leaves while she naps in the back makes us feel like we got away. Time for just the two of us by ourselves rarely happens, so getting away in small ways is a priority and always makes us feel more refreshed. Love this post!

Southern Weddings reserves the right to delete comments which contain profanity or personal attacks or seek to promote a business unrelated to the post.  And remember: a good attitude is like kudzu – it spreads.  We love hearing your kind thoughts!

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