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Our friend Katie, from the popular blog Marriage Confessions, drops by twice a month to share her take on Southern married life. We hope you enjoy, and be sure to visit her at her blog for regular doses of humor and adorable-ness!

I made a “to do” list a few weeks ago. I needed to go grocery shopping, finish grading a test my students took this week, send a thank you note to a kind friend, remember to take my son’s nap blanket to his daycare, clean the melted crayon out of my dryer, and register for a 5k I want to run next month before the fee goes up. Typical Wednesday night things to do.

But when my husband came home from work that night, my plans changed. He’d had a really rough day. He’d had to fire an old college friend who just wasn’t cutting it at work. He had known it was coming. He’d been preparing the paperwork and preparing for the “we have to let you go” meeting. But he hadn’t prepared for the long drive home after the meeting, when he would be along with his thoughts for the first time all day. It was a long drive home, he said.

He helped me feed the kids and we both gave them baths together, and I think that was good for his heart. I cleaned up the dinner mess while he read bedtime books and tucked the kids in bed, making sure bunnies and Mr. Bears were in the appropriate arms before kissing them and turning out the light. And I think that was good for his soul.

By the time he came downstairs, he looked a little better. He opened a beer for us to share while he sat at the kitchen table watching me cook our dinner – his favorite, steaks and potatoes, a last minute change from my carefully planned weekly menu, because he looked like he could use a favorite.

As I moved easily around the kitchen, he told me about his day. About the terrible meeting where he’d let her go, about how hard it is to be the boss, about how he worried what this would do to the morale of the rest of the staff, about how guilty he felt. I really didn’t have to say too much. I knew he just needed someone to talk to, someone who loved him no matter what decisions he had to make. I offered a few words of encouragement, reminded him how proud I was of him for being such a kind person who even has these moments of doubt, but mostly, I was just there with him.

After dinner, we moved to the back deck and sat on our steps, talking about the kids and the upcoming visit from the Easter Bunny. I told him about a book I was reading, and he told me about a new kind of pool pump he thought we should get. We sat outside for an hour before we headed up to bed. Before he fell asleep, he told me he felt better and knew that he would sleep soundly. Before I fell asleep, my mind went back to my to do list, sitting on the kitchen counter, untouched all night. There wasn’t anything on that list that couldn’t wait, I decided, and I, too, slept soundly.

In the eight years that I have been married, I have learned that best laid plans are often set aside for the sake of my marriage. And I’ve learned that when I put other things before the needs of my husband and our relationship, everything just kind of falls apart.

At the core of everything in my life, there is my faith and there is my husband. I have other obligations, other priorities, other responsibilities, of course. But my marriage always comes first. It is the foundation on which everything else is built. I don’t feel bad when I put everything aside to sit and hold my husband’s hand. I don’t feel bad when I we occasionally get a sitter for the kids and have a date night. I don’t feel bad when I cancel other plans because I haven’t had a night at home with Chris in over a week. I don’t feel bad because I know that when my marriage is happy, everything else in my life is better.

We make time for the things that are important in our lives. I encourage you to make time for your marriage. Making your marriage a priority not only builds a solid foundation for your relationship, but it says to your spouse, “You are more important to me than anything else.” Love is strengthened over bathtubs full of kids, shared beers, and back deck conversations, I promise you.

Make your marriage a priority. If you don’t, who will?

See more from this lovely engagement session by Paige Elizabeth in its Facebook Friday album!

emily Written with love by Emily
  1. avatar madelynne miller reply

    Great post – very insightful and helpful for a newlywed like myself :) I had to work late last night and I came home to a husband that had revamped dinner plans into something he could manage – and I was so grateful to have a husband that would take the reigns in the kitchen :)

  2. avatar molly reply

    this is such a great post – so important. you and your spouse are each other’s number ones. so so so so so important to make each other a priority always!

  3. avatar Lindsay (Young Married Mom) reply

    So true. My husband and I try to do the make-time-for-each-other-in-busy-weeks thing, too, and whether it’s intentional or spontaneous, the next day is always a little easier. Great post!

  4. avatar Weekly Wrap Up + Link Love | Heart Love Weddings reply

    […] absolutely loved this post from Marriage Confessions on the Southern Weddings blog this week. It’s all about making your marriage a priority. Because if you don’t, who […]

  5. avatar Consider This: E-sessions that tell a story | Adria Peaden Photographer reply

    […] via Southern Weddings on […]

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We know lots of you pretty ladies are recently engaged, and so decided it was high time to feature another engagement or two. Speaking of “high time,” meet Natalie + Jantzen, who had a high flying time with Nancy Ray at their recent photo shoot! The historic home pictured belonged to Jantzen’s grandfather, and now belongs to Jantzen’s whole family. It’s where his mother grew up with her — wait for it — 26 brothers and sisters!!

Jantzen and many of his family members have a passion for aviation — there’s even a runway in front of the house! No wonder, then, that Jantzen’s uncle decided to pop in to the session with his plane for a few more photo opportunities!

One more awesome fact about this couple? From Nancy’s blog: “Natalie told me that when Jantzen proposed, he gave her tickets to the Oprah Show! She has always wanted to be at an Oprah show live (it was on her “bucket list”), and since this was her last season, her sweet fiancé made it happen. Here’s the kicker: she attended Oprah’s show called “A Fairytale Wedding.” The audience was filled with hand-picked brides from all over the country, and each of them left with a free honeymoon and a Vera Wang dress!

How’s that for a fabulous start to an engagement? Congratulations to Natalie + Jantzen — thanks for allowing us to share your photos!

Wait, what’s that in the sky?

Thanks again to Miss Nancy Ray for sharing this session with us! See more on her blog here and here.

emily Written with love by Emily
  1. avatar Erin reply

    26 brothers and sisters? Yowza! However, the newly-engaged couple looks so happy and completely head-over-heels–it’s shining through their smiles! I love the picture of them and the puppy dog :) What a beautiful collection of photos!

  2. avatar Katherine {flower & honey} reply

    this couple seems super sweet :) love the photo of them inside the plane!

  3. avatar Molly reply

    How neat. Beautiful pictures and love the plane!

  4. avatar Tweets that mention Southern Engagement: Natalie + Jantzen « Southern Weddings Magazine — reply

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by nancyray and nancyray, Emily Ayer. Emily Ayer said: An amazing story involving airplanes, 26 siblings, + @Oprah in today's engagement session from @nancyray! […]

  5. avatar Sara Davis reply

    Nancy Ray Photography is amazing!!! I love this unique session! Perfect.

  6. avatar Ruth Eileen reply

    loved this session Nancy! as always beautiful work!! :)

  7. avatar Kristen reply

    Love you Nancy! Always great work!

  8. avatar Featured! Southern Weddings Blog : Natalie and Jantzen » nancy ray photography reply

    […] year I had the honor of photographing this amazing engagement session with one of my favorite couples : Natalie and Jantzen.  I love their story, and I adored this […]

  9. avatar Kennly at Best Wedding Planning Book reply

    Great photos! Natalie and Jantzen look so real and happy. Having the plane in the shoot is pretty great too! That’s definitely not something you see every day.

  10. avatar jane and paul phillips reply

    Fabulous photos of this so spppppeccciiiallll couple in love and with Memphis….got to have him some photos too. I love all the various settings and and the family history about the house, and aviation and Jantzen. They depict Natalie and Jantzen so well and the love they have found in each other.
    I love the color and the black and white…so good!!!!!!!!!!
    Our prayer and wish for them is that their love is just the beginning of a happiness that is even unimaginable……..grow old along with me , the best is yet to be…….love, Aunt Jane and Uncle Paul

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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