By Anne Marie Amacher
The Catholic Messenger
After the “honeymoon” phase, typically the first year of marriage, couples settle into a more realistic picture of marriage. As with any marriage, no matter the number of years, there are joys and challenges.
Darin and Erica Voss, who have been married 3 ½ years, said in the beginning there wasn’t enough compromising. “We were both a little bit older when we got married and were pretty much set in our ways. We were stubborn,” Erica said. “We also knew we were going to have to compromise throughout the rest of our marriage.”
To help their marriage be more successful, the couple learned they needed to admit when they were wrong, listen to what the other person was saying and come up with a solution between the two of them. “We learned to pick our battles,” Darin said.
The couple, married at St. Joseph Church in DeWitt, said the biggest joy in their marriage was the birth of their son Emmit. “He has brought so much goodness to our lives,” Erica said. Knowing that at the end of the day they get to come home to each other is another joy for the couple.
There are challenges, as well.
Finances and communication are two issues the couple has had to tangle with the most.
Erica and Darin say they come from two “different worlds.” One wants to save every penny earned, invest it and put it towards retirement. The other wants to spend money on a few things — within reason — and live more in the moment.
Once they realized they were having the same financial discussions repeatedly, they took a Dave Ramsey Financial Peace course through a local church. “This helped us to set goals for our future,” Erica said. “It gave us a good visual of what we wanted to do with our money.”
Regarding communication, “it is still a work in progress,” Darin noted. The couple agrees that they are working on kindness and patience instead of frustration or anger. “We listen when the other one talks. We don’t interrupt. We really try to see their view,” Erica said. For tougher topics, they take a breather before resuming conversations.
What keeps the couple going is their faith. “It is a huge comfort knowing we can turn to God in good times and bad. We pray daily, both together and alone. In the tough times we pray harder,” Erica said.
For Elliott and Kristine Pennock, compromise is to the key to adjusting to married life. The couple married 2 ½ years ago at St. Joseph’s in DeWitt.
Elliott said the couple lived in the same duplex the last two years of college and spent a lot of time together, “so we were both pretty familiar with each other’s way of life.” Settling down together as a new family did bring adjustments. There were meal preparations for more than one, doing laundry, grocery shopping, yard work and more. “Compromise is the key to many of those tasks,” he added.
Joyful events far outweigh the struggles and challenges, Kristine said. Both lost their grandfathers in recent years, which was difficult. “Love and support from one another helped us through those tough times,” Elliott said. “One of the joys of marriage that we have experienced is the anticipation of our baby, due in early December,” Kristine said.
No matter the challenge, the couple said being able to confide in each other and their families is a big bonus. “We prayed together and trusted in God to help us through the hard times,” Elliott said. “Some days it was nice to get outside, go for a walk together and clear our minds.”
Especially in tough times, the couple says their faith has played a large part in getting over those hurdles. “Our strong faith gave us emotional and spiritual stability when others may have questioned their faith and their beliefs,” Elliott said.