What "Fixer Upper" Taught Me About Marriage
In less than two months, I'll be going from Miss to Mrs. as the single phase of my life ends and the married one begins. This morning, I thought that over as I got ready for the day while watching an episode of "Fixer Upper." I realized that this random little home improvement show has taught me so much about what a marriage can be, and these are just a few of the things I've learned from watching Chip and Joanna Gaines.
Hard work is a good thing
It never ceases to amaze me that Chip and Joanna Gaines have many thriving businesses, a TV show, a family and a farm. Managing one of those alone seems like a full-time job, but they somehow keep everything afloat while writing books and posting regularly to social media. I can barely balance the needs of my cat, my clients and myself on a given day! But I've always heard that one thing, and one thing only, separates the talented from the successful: persistence.
That ability to work hard and keep on working in the face of any obstacle is what takes us from dreamers to doers, and the Gaines' story is a perfect example of that. Marriage is hard work. Life is hard work. And the minute that stops scaring us away is the minute we begin to succeed.
Laugh at the annoying stuff
Remember that episode where Chip ripped Joanna's jacket because he tried to wear it? Remember that episode where Chip ate a dead cockroach? Remember that episode when Chip [insert goofy thing here]? And do you remember how Joanna just laughed through all of it? I'm sure she gets irritated with him sometimes, and I'm sure he gets irritated with her, but their default response is to laugh and love each other, and that makes all the difference.
Life is full of annoyances big and small, but it's how we respond to them that dictates so much about our relationships and our stress levels. If we can train ourselves to laugh instead of lash out in anger, everything changes. I want to have a marriage, and a life, filled with laughter, even in the midst of the annoying stuff.
Life doesn't end after kids
So you know all those things I mentioned that these two balance, like multiple thriving businesses and a farm? What blows my mind is that they do everything they do while raising four children! Reading the Gaines' book, "The Magnolia Story," offered so much insight into this aspect of their lives, including how Joanna worked behind the counter of her own design business with her first baby in her arms.
I get so tired of hearing that you need to achieve your career goals before you have children. That if you want to accomplish big things, you need to hold off on kids. Not only did Chip and Joanna ignore that advice, but they only began to achieve their big dreams after all four of their kids were born! What I love is that these two allow every aspect of their lives to bleed into each other. It isn't about the kids being over here and work being over there. They invite their children into their work, making it a family pursuit. Yes, life changes after children. I get that. But it doesn't end.
Share a dream
I wonder if the reason so many marriages fail is that what began as "a couple" devolves into "two people sharing the same space leading separate lives." I'm not saying everyone should go into business with their spouse. In fact, I could see that ending in disaster for most. But you can tell by watching "Fixer Upper" that the Gaineses share a dream of making their hometown a beautiful, thriving place to live and visit and to bring joy to other people.
Sharing a dream doesn't have to be about work. It could be traveling to new places, learning the same new things or taking up the same new hobby. It could be about building, cooking, serving or creating. The dream is as unique as the couple itself, but it just matters that it exists, and that as a family, you are moving toward a goal together.
So for all my "Fixer Upper" fans out there, and I know you are many, what lessons have you learned from our favorite design couple? What other modern couples inspire you in your day-to-day life? Let me know in the comments below.