I am so excited to write this post! I love sharing our story, and honestly I am an open book when it comes to our relationship. I'm not gonna sit here pretending we never fight, or that he is always super romantic and shows me love the way I want to receive it, or that I always am respectful towards him. We are a work in progress, but we are both willing to work at it each day which is all that matters. I can't wait to answer your questions and share what has worked for us. Relationships are hard work, no matter how "perfect" you are for each other. Life throws curve balls, people grow and change and things you once found endearing can end up driving you crazy. This is why you have to be intentional and put in the work to keep your relationships strong. If you sit back and expect everything to work itself out, you'll grow apart or not get the most you could be out of your relationships.
HOW DID YOU MEET EACH OTHER, WHAT DID YOUR FAMILIES THINK AND KNOWING HE WAS THE ONE?
His older sister is one of my best friends! We went to University together and became fast friends. I met Jason when he was 16 and I was 21 at a Halloween party. I remember thinking he was really tall, but that's about it. He said he liked me from that first time he met me, but I was a mime with a full face of paint and we talked for like 5 minutes, so I'm not sure what he was going off of lol. Obviously the five year age gap had me not even think about dating him, but it didn't stop him. We hung out for the next year and a bit because of his sister and became good friends. I remember thinking at one point, "I wish this guy was older so we could date". Well God softened my heart and I got over the age gap and Jason made it clear he was into me for quite awhile. We started hanging out just the two of us when his sister went away to London for 4 months, and my family started to suspect I also liked him. I remember sitting down with my sister and asking her what age gap she thought was too much. She looked at me and said you like Jason don't you? She told me to go for it and that age was just a number. I then ran it by the rest of my family kind of nonchalantly like that and they all said the same thing (although my dad was a bit more hesitant about this young kid, and questioned if he could take care of his little girl). We started officially dating at my brothers wedding, just after his 18th birthday (he had to be legal after all). Things got serious pretty quick. Two months after he asked me out, I moved to Amsterdam for 5 months for school and he moved to Iowa for hockey. We didn't see each other once in those 5 months, but we skyped a lot and got really close. He brought up marriage 3 months after we started dating, and I told him he didn't have to rush into anything because I was older. He said he wasn't rushing, but that he really wanted to get married. Nine months later we got engaged! I knew he was the one for so many reasons, but the number one thing was his faith. I knew I wanted to marry a man that believed in Jesus and would make God the center of our relationship. He also pursued me relentlessly. I knew that he was choosing me, and that it wasn't a fleeting feeling. He works hard for what he wants and I was no exception. He also makes me laugh, helps me see the positive in everything, is more go-with-the flow than me, is a hard worker and a dreamer and is a perfect balance to my type-A personality.
HOW DO YOU RESOLVE ISSUES/DISAGREEMENTS? WHEN BOTH FEEL STRONG ABOUT SOMETHING?
We are still working on this, and probably always will. Jason is better at this than me. He can forgive and forget so quickly and easily. I on the other hand am stubborn. Usually in the moment it's best if I take a minute and go think about things, and then come back and discuss it later. We'll also pray about things and try and understand where the other person is coming from. The biggest thing is we try not to go to bed angry, or else it can build into something bigger than it is.
HOW LONG HAVE YOU GUYS BEEN TOGETHER?
It will be our 6 year wedding anniversary in September. We dated for a year and were engaged for a year before that, so 8 years total!
WHAT IS SOMETHING YOU BOTH WISH YOU HAD DONE DIFFERENTLY WITH YOUR WEDDING?
Honestly, nothing. We didn't spend a crazy amount on our wedding because we knew it was just one day, and I'm so glad we didn't. We had the best photographer, best wedding parties and had so much fun with our guests. My one piece of advice would be don't go overboard! The day is gone in the blink of an eye and putting yourself into debt or using all of your savings to make it perfect aren't necessary. You're marrying your best friend, so no matter what the flowers look like or the venue looks like, it's going to be the best day of your life.
Have a list of MUST HAVES that you want in a man/woman. I'm not talking about hair color and height, I'm talking about non-negotiables. For example, mine were he had to be a Christian, want to have kids, treat me well and love traveling and adventure (my list would have been three times as long if you asked me when I was 15). If you start dating someone who doesn't have your must-haves, you're setting yourself up for failure. Eventually you'll realize you want those in the man you want to marry, but you'll have already let yourself fall in love with them and compromise. Don't be worried and settle. Pray and focus on bettering yourself and the right guy will come along!
HOW DO YOU FINANCIALLY SEEM TO DO IT ALL? SUPPORT 3 KIDS, HAVE A BEAUTIFULLY RENOVATED HOME AND YOU BE A STAY AT HOME MOM?
We SAVED. Jason and I were both really good with our money before we met (Jason bought his first truck in cash). Before we got married I landed a really good job in Toronto working as an Investment Banker, so I was able to put a lot of that away into savings. Jason also got a full ride scholarship in the States, so he didn't really have any expenses for four years. Jason also played professional hockey the past few years and again we were really good about putting the majority of it into savings. When it came to buying a house we had to put 20% down because we were both technically unemployed at the time so the bank didn't even want to give us a mortgage. We used our savings for this and then also have been using our savings for the renovation. Jason has done most of the work himself so that has saved us a lot of money, and we hope to get the house reappraised after the renovation and increase our mortgage to get the renovation money out and back into our investments.Now that we're in our house Jason has started working again and just does our house on the weekends and evenings, so we have income coming in again. I'm not going to lie though, things have been tight. We don't have dining room chairs, end tables, decorative pieces, grass in our yard or our basement finished. We are buying things as we have the money for them, because we don't want to take on any unnecessary debt! If you don't have a financial advisor I would get one. It's good to have someone that is taking care of your money and make sure you're on track for any big expenses you have coming up or being ready for retirement. If you need a guy send me a message and I can let you know the company we use!
Other things that help us save money:
We rarely eat out or go to Starbucks or anything like that
We don't drink alcohol
We never feel the pressure to "keep up with the Jones's"
We buy used cars, and keep them for a long time (we also find a car we can afford to buy in cash, we don't want monthly payments hanging over our head)
We always pay our credit cards off before they're due so we don't pay any interest
We never take on any debt (other than our mortgage), if we can't pay for it we don't get it
We collect points on our Visa to help with travel and hotels when we vacation
HOW DO YOU KEEP THE FLAME GOING?
Make time for date night, even if you don't have a lot of money you can get creative and just get out of the house. Often Jason and I will just go for a bike ride together, it doesn't have to be fancy!
Be interested in each other's interests. I find couples drift apart who don't spend a lot of time together, or don't care about what their spouse loves, even if they don't. Jason always wants to show me videos of cars, a comedian or something I am not interested in at all. Do I watch it anyways? Yes! It makes him happy when I engage in what he likes, and vice versa.
Don't spend too many nights apart. I'll have odd nights out with the girls and Jason with the boys, but it's very rare. We spend most of our nights together!
Travel together. Exploring new places is so much fun and it's even more fun when you do it with your spouse. You make memories you will always look back on and cherish.
Dream together! Looking to your future and dreaming up what you want to do, places you want to see and things you want to accomplish brings excitement and purpose into your relationship!
DO YOU STILL GET QUALITY TIME WITH YOUR HUBBY DESPITE HAVING 3 KIDS?
Yes! It's often just at home once the girls go to bed, but we love staying in and watching Netflix, eating snacks, talking about our future or getting work done together. We are pretty strict on the girls bedtime, around 7:30-8pm, so that we get our evenings together just the two of us. We love our kids but we want our marriage to stand on it's own apart from our kids, because one day they'll move out and I don't want to feel like I don't know my husband!
DO YOU GET ALONG WITH EACH OTHER'S PARENTS?
Yes! We are very lucky to both have good sets of parents.
DO YOU WANT TO TRY IVF TO HAVE A SON?
Never. I was honestly shocked at this question. We feel so blessed and grateful to have three healthy girls. I know people personally who have had to go through IVF to get pregnant, and it is so hard on you emotionally and physically. To go through something like that for such a silly reason like being able to pick the gender would be crazy. Once you become a parent you realize that the only important thing is having healthy kids.
WHO PICKED THE NAMES FOR YOUR 3 GIRLS?
I initially came up with them, but Jason always had to approve. I had so many other names I liked that he said no to right away, so it took us awhile to decide on each name.
HOW DO YOU OVERCOME STRUGGLES?
With God's help! I don't know what I would do without my faith. We always pray about our future, for our kids and whenever I feel stuck or in an impossible situation I pray relentlessly. It's all I have ever known to bring me a peace of mind and help me through anything that is thrown my way.
HOW IS THE AGE DIFFERENCE?
I told Jason when we first talked about dating that if I ever felt older than him or like I had to take care of him, I was out. That was never the case. Jason is very mature for his age and always knew what he wanted out of life, which helped the age gap. Honestly I always forget now that we're 5 years apart, unless we meet someone new and I tell them. An age gap is a bigger deal when you're younger, but once you're older it doesn't really matter.
FAVORITE PLACE YOU'VE TRAVELED TO TOGETHER?
This is hard, so I'll do top 3. Our best trip before kids was the Dominican Republic. We ate so much good food, went on a catamaran every day and just had so much fun together. Post-kids would be Nashville. We went last Christmas right after Rosie was born and stayed at the Gaylord Opryland Resort. It is one of our favorite Christmas's together since we met. Most recently was Vegas. Jason and I went right before Zara was born and we had such a good time. The weather is amazing, they have such good food, the hotel was one of the nicest we've stayed at and there was so much to do. Basically anywhere we travel together I love, but these were our favorite!
WHAT IS HAPPENING WITH JASON'S HOCKEY?
We still aren't sure what we are doing this fall, but I will share once we do!