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Long-time Southern Weddings readers may remember the sweet, smart, thoughtful, insightful Katie Brown of Marriage Confessions from a number of places–namely, through tips for wedding planning at the end of V4 and the Real Weddings introduction in V5. In V6, we were grateful to have Katie grace our pages once again with marriage advice she’s learned over her eight years of being married to her husband, Chris, and blogging about their life along the way.

Jenn Hopkins Photography

After eight years of marriage, I have learned that the key to a happy marriage is flexibility. Throughout our marriage, we have been through many ups and downs, peaks and valleys, and everything in between. Learning to ebb and flow together – hand in hand – is what has helped us grow and move forward as a couple, and now as a young family. We pray and we plan and we prepare, but ultimately, we let it all go and just enjoy the ride. I think we are able to do that because we trust each other and we trust our God. After that, everything else is just details.

Jenn Hopkins Photography

Keep up with Katie
Blog: Marriage Confessions
Facebook: Marriage Confessions
Twitter: @MarriageConfess
Instagram: @MarriageConfessions

lisa Written with love by Lisa
1 Comment
  1. avatar I Stuck My Imaginary Foot in My Imaginary Mouth reply

    […] sweet. Yesterday, Chris and I were honored to be one of the couples that they profiled. SW did a beautiful write-up, and I was so proud to share out the post on all my Marriage Confessions social media sites. So, […]

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Happy Valentine’s Day, dolls! I’m excited to let y’all know that Katie will be back guest blogging with us on a more regular schedule! Some of you long-time readers may remember our friend Katie, from the wonderful and hilarious blog Marriage Confessions, and some of you might just recognize Katie from MC, apart from SW! Katie drops by to share her funny, smart, and poignant perspective on life after the wedding, and we know you’ll love her as much as we do!

I know that Valentine’s Day gets a bad rap, as far as holidays go. I have friends who are violently against Cupid and his plethora of love arrows and conversation candy. “It’s a holiday invented by the card stores to make money!” they say. And I get that. But it’s a holiday that revolves around chocolate and jewelry. It just goes against my being to reject those kinds of themes. Diamonds and chocolates are the way to my heart. But diamonds hidden INSIDE chocolates are pretty much the way to my soul.

I’m shallow. I can’t help it.

As much as I love the candy, gifts, and general lovey-dovey-ness that comes with Valentine’s Day, I am actually a fan of the holiday for more than just those reasons. I think love gets a bad rap, especially in marriage these days, and so any holiday that stops and says, “Hey! Love is important, darn it!” is going to be fine by me.

I remember when Chris and I got married, we were told by so many people, “It takes more than love to make a marriage!” And, foolishly, we thought they were fools. We loved each other. We had each other. We could take on anything else. I’ve learned over the years that love don’t pay no power bill. And love don’t clean up no sick baby in the middle of the night. And love certainly don’t exempt a husband from a good butt whoopin’ when he forgets to call and say he’s going to be working late on your anniversary.

Turns out, there’s a lot of stuff that love won’t do in a marriage.

But there are a lot of things that love does do in a marriage. In my marriage, love is how we forgive. It’s the reason that this morning, after a blow up with my love muffin as I left for work, I couldn’t even get out of the neighborhood before I called him on my cell to tell him I was sorry. And love was the reason he said, “Me, too.”

In my marriage, love is how we learn patience. The first week that we brought our sweet, perfect son home from the hospital, we were giddy with excitement. But by 3:00am on the third day, I remember standing next to Chris at the crib, both of us just about in tears from exhaustion and frustration, and every fiber of my being wanted to turn and whack him in the knees with a hairbrush. HOW COULD HE HAVE JUST TURNED THE LIGHT ON IN THE HALLWAY?!?!? DIDN’T HE KNOW THAT WOULD WAKE THE BABY?!?!?! And yet, I let him live. Because when you love someone, you’re patient as they learn things. Like how to change diapers in the middle of the night without turning a light on.

In my marriage, love is how we make decisions. Love is that binding force that draws every decision we make back to our family. Should I take that job? Should we make that big move? Should I take a half day at work so that I can attend my two-year-old son’s Valentine’s Day party at his daycare? Love is at the center of all of those things. Because we love each other and we love the family that we have made together, everything else is done within the context of that love.

In my marriage, love is even how we fight. Isn’t that weird? It’s true, though. Love is what makes us so darn frustrated with each other sometimes. It would be so much easier to be married to Chris if I wasn’t in love with him. But that silly love thing means that I simply can’t live without him. And sometimes, that’s so inconvenient! I wish it didn’t make me mad when he worked late, or when we haven’t had a date night in a while, or when the weekend classes for my teaching certificate take up all my time. I wish we didn’t fight about those things, but we do. And when the dust settles, we find that at the very base of those little fights is the fact that we just love each other so much that we get irritated when other things get in the way.

No, love don’t pay no bills. And, yes, it takes more than love to make a marriage work. But at the root of everything that exists in a marriage, there is love. So, I celebrate Valentine’s Day. I buy the cards and eat the candy and make those slice-and-bake cookies with the little red hearts in the center. I’m a sucker for it all because I believe that there should be a day that makes us stop and say, “I love you.” Because as important as everything else is in marriage, love is how it all started and how we keep it going.

(A note to my husband: While love is important, so is that beautiful necklace I showed you last weekend at the jewelry store…)

Isn’t Katie awesome?! Check out her past columns for Southern Weddings:
Change is the Name of the (Newlywed) Game
My Wedding Registry Changed My Life
Working it Out With the In-Laws
Managing Your Money
Come on Baby, Light My Fire
On Moving

All photos by one of the most romantic photographers we know, Elizabeth Messina

P.S. Congratulations to Katie for being nominated for the 2012 Bloggies awards! This is a huge honor, so be sure to give her some love and vote for her here!

marissa Written with love by Marissa
  1. avatar Patty reply

    Beautifully written, Melissa! I think we would be great friends!!

  2. avatar Patty reply

    and i just called you melissa….i meant marissa!

    • avatar Marissa reply

      Hey Patty, it’s okay! I forgive you because my mom’s name is Patty! But, I didn’t write this – Kate at Marriage Confessions did! But I do think we’d be great friends! : )

    • avatar Patty reply

      Marissa: I probably should have read more closely! Well, great! More friends for me :) Happy Valentine’s day!!

  3. avatar Lindsey reply

    Hilarious post – LOVE KATIE!!

  4. avatar Sarah H. reply

    Coming over to support my blog friend Katie!! Wonderful post :) Ever since having a baby I think Valentine’s Day is even more important–some times you need that commercial nudge to carve out time for just you and your husband and say “I Love You” with glitter cards that sing.

  5. avatar Meggie reply

    Congratulations Katie! Love this post and totally agree with you! Love is at the root of it all… even the fights. I’m pro Valentine’s Day too! =)

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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Over the past few months, the Southern Weddings team has been going through a lot of changes. We launched a new magazine, Emily’s older sister got married, I got married, Lara set off an a cross-country tour and –oh, yeah – we launched a new, kick-butt site. (We hope you’re loving it, by the way!) With our an all-new site finally live + taking over the blogosphere, and a brand new year quickly approaching, it seemed time to bring back fan-favorite Katie Brown of Marriage Confessions.

You may remember Ms. Brown from SW 1.0: Katie was the feisty redhead who offered sage marriage advice and happily answered readers’ burning questions about life after the “I dos,” all with her trademark wit and good humor. Her topic this month? Yep, you guessed it: change.

Question:  What is the best piece of marriage advice you can give a newlywed couple?

I get emails a lot from readers asking me what my best piece of advice would be for a newly married couple.  This is one question I never have to think too hard about.  If I could only give one piece of advice, it would be to expect change.

If there’s anything that is certain about the newlywed period, it is that you’ll go through a lot of changes.  From major changes such as relocating in order to be together to minor ones like splitting holidays between families, change is the name of the newlywed game.  And (here’s the part I’m just now learning) it doesn’t just stop after the first couple of years.  Indeed, change isn’t just part of being a newlywed, it’s part of being a married couple.

My husband, Chris, and I have been married for six years.  In that time, we have both gone to graduate school, bought a house, sold a car, bought a car, had a baby, landed several killer jobs, and, just this past summer, moved across the country, started new jobs, and got pregnant for the second time.   Change has become second nature to me now, and if I’ve learned anything about dealing with change in your marriage, it is how important trust becomes in the middle of all that transition.

When I first got married, I thought trust meant whether I trusted my husband around beautiful, buxom blondes.  But as our marriage continues to grow, I am finding that trust involves so much more than just loyalty.  This past summer after six years of marriage, trust took on a whole new meaning for me in my marriage.  Trust in my marriage now means trusting that when Chris and I go through changes as a couple, we go into those new situations hand-in-hand, confident in each other’s judgment and decision-making abilities.

When Chris and I had our first baby, Michael, we lived thousands of miles away from family.  Though we loved our life where we were, I started to miss our family back home.  I wanted our son to grow up with grandparents at his birthday parties and family members cheering for him at his soccer games.  Michael started hitting fairly small milestones (rolling over, sitting up by himself, throwing golf balls at our dogs, etc.) and all I could think about was how much I wanted our family to experience these things with us.  After a few months of thinking through it myself, I finally got up the courage to ask Chris what he thought abut leaving the life we had made for ourselves as a couple and moving closer to family again.

I was shocked at how easily Chris came around to the idea.  He needed some time to think it over for himself, just like I had done, but in the end it was only a few days before he decided moving back was the right decision.   And now that we had a child, decision-making in our marriage meant making decisions that are best for our family, and not just the best for each other.

Moving back to Florida from Connecticut was one of the hardest decisions that Chris and I had ever made together as a couple.  Truth be told, it is one of the hardest things that we have ever faced together as a couple.  Adjusting to a new life together while mourning the loss of the life we had built was a delicate and sometimes unsteady balance.  But in those times when I really doubted if we had made the right decision, it was my husband who took my hand and reminded me that trusting each other meant trusting our ability to make really difficult decisions.  It meant trusting that when I was too nervous or anxious or scared about everything that was going on around me, that Chris would still be there holding my hand until we were on firm ground again.

This past summer when we moved and things were changing for our family faster than a Carrie Underwood costume change, I remember thinking that I just couldn’t handle anything else.  One more major life change and I would reach my breaking point.  And then the next morning I took a very unexpected, positive pregnancy test.

Chris just took my hand, smiled at me, and said, “Did you ever think this is where we would be in our lives? Was this part of your master plan?”

As I tried to hold back tears of panic, I whispered, “No, this was not part of my plan.”

Chris pulled me close, “Good,” he whispered. “Because I like this plan much better.”

Change happens in all marriages.  It’s good for you.  It’s healthy.  And if you trust the person standing by your side, then that change will bring you all kinds of surprises and unexpected treasures along your journey together.

Although, I would try to save the unexpected pregnancy surprise for a little later in the marriage.  It’s a doozey…

Katie + her hilarious (and quickly-growing) family will be back next month. Until then, keep up with the Browns at Marriage Confessions! Have a question Katie needs to answer? Leave a comment or shoot her an email.

Written with love by Katharine
  1. avatar Kelly Sauer reply

    omigoodness – I absolutely cried at Chris’s response to that positive test. We’ve had two surprises in five years of marriage, and my husband is totally that cool – it just brought everything back!

    Beautiful post, beautiful, beautiful. I wish I’d had this advice before I got married!

    • avatar Erin reply

      Kelly Sauer: I started crying too! Such an incredibly sweet, loving response <3

  2. avatar Erin reply

    I LOVE this article. What an honest, positive look at tackling some seemingly scary subjects. As a soon-to-be married lady, it’s nice to know that there’s a lot, lot, lot of things to look forward to post-wedding.

    Thanks for posting and I’m looking forward to another article next month!

  3. avatar Megan (Best of Fates) reply

    Expect change – pretty great overall life advice.

    Except when it comes to the deliciousness of cheese.

    That, I have faith, will never change.

  4. avatar Sonya reply

    Great advice! This is terrific for everyone to read.

  5. avatar Confessions of a Young Married Couple: On Moving « Southern Weddings Magazine reply

    […] check out her blog, Marriage Confessions, here, or check out her past columns for Southern Weddings here, here, here, here, and here. Have a question for Katie? Feel free to email her! xo Emily July […]

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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