Today’s Featured Couple is Paul and Laura!
Every couple has valuable treasure hidden in their relationship. The Spouse Dates Featured Couple Interview is designed to “mine” some of that treasure in order to share it with you.
As you read Laura and Paul’s story I hope you find a gem, jewel or golden nugget that will be encourage and inspire you in our own marriage!
Laura & Paul will have been married for one year this coming April. They live in Cleveland, OH and are very excited to have their first child on the way, due on Star Wars Day: May the fourth [be with you]! Laura and Paul love nerdy and/or adventurous activities, such as Geocaching, hiking, playing Settlers of Catan, and traveling together! Paul is currently a full-time student and Laura is a graphic designer. Together they founded their own graphic & web design company, named Flymake LLC (instagram: @FlyMakeFly, website: www.Flymake.com ) where Laura works as graphic designer and Paul does finances and marketing. In addition to all this, they are both studying at BSSM Cleveland together, where Paul is a second-year student, and Laura is a third-year student, interning with the director of the school and helping with first-year students.
How did you first meet?
We met as students in ministry school in Cleveland. It was a time of worship during class, where we were completely immersed in the Presence of God, worshiping with all our hearts. The pastor told the class to put our arms on one another’s shoulders and join in prayer. This was the first contact we ever had with each other. We felt a connection in that moment with an experience that is hard to describe and unlike any other. We then continued to worship together the rest of the night, without speaking a word to each other. Laura felt like God showed her Paul’s heart, and Paul went home that night and told his mother that he met his wife. It took us a few more weeks, and a lot of prayer before our first “actual” conversation.
What was your first date?
Our first date was perfect. We met up at a Sushi restaurant that neither of us had been to. They had classical music playing in the background and we ordered such dishes as the “dream” and “love season.” Then, we went to a rap concert and danced to Lecrae’s music together. After that we turned off our GPS and drove ‘random directions’ to where we felt God was leading us. We ended up at a small gated community where we found a small bike trail park and walked out under the stars together in the light of the full-moon. It was such a romantic and fun adventure!
As a couple, what is something you have struggled with or a difficulty you have overcome? How would you encourage other couples that may be facing the same challenge?
Learning to transition from single to married life has been a bigger task than we expected. Especially learning one another’s communication styles. This includes how to successfully handle conflict resolution. Paul is an external processor and a detail-oriented planner, who wants to solve problems as soon as they arise. Laura instead is an internal processor, who likes to take her time in prayer and reflection, before even beginning to discuss the issue aloud. Conflict would then precede further conflict, as we both wanted to approach challenges in an entirely different manner.
We would encourage other couples to learn to recognize how they process information, and tackle difficult issues individually. Then come up with a mutually agreeable plan on how to approach situations as a team. Communication is key! We have come up with specific “safe words” or expressions to remind one another of our needs. Also, if there is a tough situation that seems difficult to resolve, do not be afraid to include a third-party whom you both trust. It is better to overcome and grow, than to put off and hide, even if it seems painful in the moment.
What was your best date ever and what made it so outstanding?
On our honeymoon, we hiked to the top of a mountain together in the Smoky Mountain National Park. This was our favorite date, because we were exploring new territory together, and saw amazing beautiful sights for the first time. It was a beautiful clear day, and we walked through the forest, past waterfalls, and along cliffs. In some places, the trail itself was the rocky riverbed. We had a very intimate picnic lunch together at the summit, on a flat rock outcropping with almost 360° panoramic views. On the way back down, we even heard a bear grunting as if it was waking up, and could feel it stirring as we ran past!
What are some marriage resources that have helped you build a better marriage?
When we first started dating, we worked through the “Defining the Relationship” workbook by Danny Silk to make sure we were on a similar path in life. We had our pastor as a counselor and accountability source (and still do!) We also had a mentor couple take us through the book “Preparing for Marriage” by Dennis Rainey after we got engaged. Throughout our time dating, we watched Jake Hamilton’s “One Flesh” videos series, where Jake and his wife interview married couples. The “Keep Your Love On” books and various BSSM teachings have also been instrumental in helping us keep our focus on God while learning to love each other well.
Tell us about an “Aha!” moment that has helped you become a better spouse.
Paul: Recognizing the power of taking a moment to either step back and pray individually, or pray aloud together. This leads to a shift in our attitudes almost immediately. It helps to re-focus onto what love should look like.
Laura: Realizing the difference between autonomy and healthy interdependence. Recognizing that my actions influence him more than I originally realized, and learning to shift my mindset to incorporate his needs into my desires.
If you could go back in time and give your newlywed selves one piece of marriage advice, what would that be?
Don’t hold so tightly to your expectations. Do not go into marriage with a pre-conceived notion of how things are “going to” or “should” be. Instead, be ready to start a completely new adventure together. Be ready to learn the other person, as if for the first time.
When you think about your future together, what are you most excited about?
Serving and growing together, and building our own family legacy! We hope to create something beautiful that will stand the test of time.
What is your favorite thing about being married?
Paul: Having someone that compliments you as well as contrasts you, who will be there with you through thick and thin. Knowing that no matter what you do, or where you go, you have the most amazing person you’ve ever known by your side to share the journey with you and work towards a common goal.
Laura: Ministering and praying for people together. As a couple, I love being able to bounce back-and-forth off each other’s ideas, and “tag-teaming” encouragement where we can build on one-another’s wisdom and giftings to more fully display the love of Christ.
If you found an idea that encouraged or inspired you, be sure to pass it on!
Share it with your spouse, a friend or even in the comments below.