"The person is ALWAYS more important. No matter the issue: Whether you disagree, are running late, get sick in their new car, etc. The person is always more important."
Before Nazari and I got married - we were given the task of interviewing a number of married couples, pre-equipped with a list of questions, to learn more about "real" marriage. Zack and Melissa were one of the first couples we got a chance to meet with.
They had been married several years at the time, and had just had their first child.
The above advice they shared with us is something we have never forgotten.
It has come into play many times over the years. It's been amazing how natural it is for our pride or our point to become the priority when in conflict, instead of our spouse. It even becomes all too easy to say really mean things to each other and put each other down in defense of our self. Yet what we remember days later is not what we were fighting about, but the daggers thrown. Like many areas of life - sometimes we have to learn the hard way. So although we haven't always taken their wise counsel and put it into practice - we know that this advice is of the upmost importance and it echoes in our minds and hearts often.
And because the wisdom they shared with us was SO GOOD - it only seems right to share a few other gold nuggets that they so kindly bestowed upon us:
Be gentle to yourself and try to see yourself as the other person sees you.
Your spouse is your best friend. Honor them. Treat them with kindness and respect. If you're treating strangers better than your spouse, that's a huge red flag.
Be careful about being around people who trash talk their spouse. Instead, surround yourself with stable couples.
Be mindful of each other's love tanks. Ask each other where their needs are. Where they need help. Where they are struggling to find love. But realize we are not born to be each other's source of strength. Don't use each other that way. Always talk to God first.
Don't try to resolve things when you're tired or stressed out. Commit to talking about it the next day and follow through with the conversation. Always hear the other person out and don't make them out to be the bad guy.
Don't prioritize being right (it's okay to do something the other person's way) Give stuff time, as you won't always agree right away.
That's some good stuff. And awesome to see how they really live it out in their day to day lives. The craziest part is that at the time of this conversation (over SIX years ago) - they chuckled when asked advice on parenting and informed us that they would "let us know in a few years". Now - they are just weeks away from welcoming their fourth baby into the world. We have no doubt we will return to this extraordinary pair for parenting advice in the future.
We are amazed by you, Zack and Melissa. This fortunate little guy is so blessed to join your beautiful family and get you two as parents! Congratulations!