You can normally tell newlyweds by the look of blissful joy on their faces and the fact that they still hold hands. Jordan and Kiersten Bruce, at a mere 5 months of marriage, fall into both of these categories, but they have something that most newlyweds are missing – wisdom. While doing this particular interview, they blew me away with some of the insights that they already have as a married couple.
I met this couple at my church. Actually, I met the bride while my daughter was in high school as Kiersten was just a year ahead of my daughter. I met Jordan at church, as he was in charge of the sound team (for a rather large church). They were already dating by the time I met Jordan, but were not yet engaged. Jordan was also a devout Christian, and I had not known him as any different, so I was a little shocked to hear him describe himself as a “bad boy” during high school. In fact, he said that was the main reason they did not date during high school, as Kiersten was already a faithful Christian. He liked her, he said, and wanted to ask her out, but they just could never jibe. Between the time he graduated from high school and she did, he found his way back to the church, specifically 12Stone and they met up there. They ran into each other one Sunday and were each a little shocked to find the other going there.
They spent about 3 months going out as friends, then 3 years were spent officially dating before he proposed to her. They were then engaged for 6 months before getting married on October 8, 2016.
I asked them what was the biggest thing they had to get used to about living together. She said the way Jordan sleeps. Apparently, he snores and tosses in his sleep. He jokingly said it was a good thing they didn’t live together before marriage. “I don’t know if she would have married me if she knew how I snored!” Jordan said it is taking into account “our time” vs “me time”. He said as a single guy he was used to just making decisions about where to go, when to go, and what to do. Now he has to think about Kiersten when making those decisions. Plus, he said he has to take into account how long it is going to take to get ready. Now he has to figure on how long it will take Kiersten to take as well as himself.
They both said that respect was the most important thing (behind God) to a marriage. Although, they each took a bit of a different course with it. Jordan said that Respect is important because it leads to love which leads to support. They are building blocks. For Kiersten respect and communication are equal basics. Without either one, you are missing an integral foundation.
Oddly enough, communication is both of their answer to fighting. I asked them if they had had any fights yet (expecting the newlywed answer of oh, no, everything is perfect). Instead, Jordan goes, “Oh, yes!” He actually feels it is important to argue before marriage, because if you feel the relationship can’t survive an argument while you are dating or are engaged, then you are going to have a problem with it when you are married.
They learned while they were arguing that part of their problem was that they give and receive love very differently, and so communicate it very differently as well. They went through Gary Chapman’s “The Five Love Languages” and learned about their individual languages. The couple have 2 gifts apiece. Kiersten said her two love languages are; giving and receiving gifts, and acts of service. Jordan’s two are: Physical Touch and Words of Affirmation.
It doesn’t sound like that big of a problem, but this is a fundamental issue. For example; Jordan said when he would get a promotion or something good, Kiersten would go out and buy him a gift to celebrate. If he had a bad day, she would do all of his chores as well as hers so he could relax. He said the thing was, he could go out and buy something, he’d much rather her tell him she loved him and was proud of him. As far as chores went, he’d rather they do them together so they get done faster and then she could hug and comfort him. That made him feel far more secure than sitting and playing video games by himself. Of course, Kiersten pointed out, since words of affirmation is one of his languages, she has to be careful with what she says sometimes. “If I say the wrong thing, it completely crushes him.” Likewise, Jordan would apply his languages to Kiersten. “If we got into a big argument, I would think she doesn’t really want me to touch her, when all Kiersten wanted was a hug. Plus, Jordan’s gifts are both mostly about personal expression, words and touch. Kiersten’s needs were more along the lines of show me, which Jordan was not used to. So, they both really had to learn to switch it up.
The last thing they had to say about fighting is the power of compromise. Jordan pointed out that when they first started fighting they over-compromised. They each would try to put the other first, which is wonderful and unselfish, and can lead to resentment and loss of self over an extended length of time Luckily, they came to realize this before it happened. Kiersten said you have to learn to compromise without compromising yourself, which is far harder to do, but it’s worth the effort.
Kiersten’s parting words are spot on. “You’re in this, so you can either have a happy marriage or a miserable one.”