Beth and her husband Michael have been married for 8 years and reside in northeast Ohio with their daughter, Gwen. Michael and Beth both serve on their church’s pastoral staff where Beth oversees Marriage & Family Ministries. She is passionate about building strong marriages and was gracious enough to share some of their story with us.
Beth, how did you and Michael first meet?
We met as undergrads at our university at a leadership retreat.
What was your first date and what encouraged you to keep dating?
Our first date was dinner at an Italian restaurant and miniature golf. I actually told Michael that I would never date him. However, he became my best friend and I came to realize that the other guys I was “dating” I didn’t like as much as Michael, so we started dating officially.
What was your most memorable date and what made it so memorable?
For our 1st anniversary of dating, Michael planned out an entire day full of events, including everything from painting pottery to a private ballroom dancing lesson, dinner and coffee. It was such a fun adventure and we did so many new and fun things that it was hard to forget. Also, I’m a planner and Michael tends to be more spontaneous, so the fact that he put so much time and energy into planning something like that made me feel really special.
How do people describe you as a couple?
Fun, relaxed, loving, and the kind of couple they want to emulate (so they tell us 😉 ).
What’s one of the biggest challenges you have faced as a couple and how has that challenge affected your marriage? How would you encourage other couples that may be facing this challenge?
Losing people we care about has been the most difficult thing we have gone through as individuals, in addition to as a couple. In many ways it brought us closer together because we leaned on one another. I would encourage other couples to embrace the journey….sadness and all….and not try to move on prematurely, but learn how you and your partner grieves and make room for both of you to grieve.
What are some of the best marriage resources that have helped you build a better marriage?
The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman. Also, understanding personality types (like the DISC personality profile and Myers/Briggs) and how they interact with one another, understanding introversion & extroversion and each other’s needs related to that. I wish I knew a good all-in-one book for this, but I don’t.
Tell us about an “Aha!” moment that you have had in your marriage and how that has helped you become a better spouse.
In our first year of marriage, we were fighting over something seemingly insignificant, but all of a sudden we realized that it felt as though we were on opposing teams, each trying to score against the other person. It was then that we decided we would always be on the “same team.” Whenever one of us begins to feel this way, we stop and re-establish this “same team” principle before moving forward. This way, we tackle every problem as a team rather than letting the problem drive a wedge between us.
So you and Michael made a sort of pact to always be on the same team. It sounds like a stake was driven in the ground at that point. Can you tell us a little more about how that happened, how you arrive at that decision? Was it a single conversation or did that decision develop over time?
We definitely drove a stake into the ground during that conversation about being on the same team. We were arguing about the correct way to load the dishwasher or something petty like that. When one of us realized that it felt as though we were on opposing sports teams trying to score against the other person, it was a major “aha” moment. We decided in that moment that no issue…no argument…nothing would ever be more important than our relationship and connection with one another. Certainly not something as petty as loading the dishwasher, but not even major issues either. As part of this, we established that, in the future, whenever one of us felt as though we were not on the same team, we would stop and ask the other person, “same team?” and that we would link our pinky fingers as a reminder of this promise (in a pinky swear). Although it sounds silly, it set a precedent for communication and conflict resolution in our relationship and gave us a clear opportunity to express ourselves in a way that felt “safe” or neutral. I plan to write a book on this some day.
What will you call your book?
Not sure yet, but it will probably involve the pinky swear 😉
When you think about your future together, what are you most excited about?
Continuing to grow our family and accomplish our dreams together with God.
What is your idea of the ideal date?
Exploration, Great coffee, great food, conversation about dreams & travel, experiencing something new together.
Would you consider being one of our “Featured Couples”? If so, simply click the button below.