Share the Love:  Chelsea and Joe

Celeste here.

I’ve never been much of a collector.  I had a decent collection of old Yoplait lids I had meant to send in (to benefit breast cancer?) at one point, but those didn’t really pan out….  But I’m starting a new collection!  I’ve decided to be a collector of love stories.  What better thing to collect, right?!

With that, allow me to introduce a new series:  Share the Love


I even made a sign! So fancy!
In Share the Love posts, couples will be answering 3 questions: 
1.  What is your love story?
2.  What is your favorite thing about your spouse?
3.  What is the best marriage advice you have to offer?

If you’ve got an anniversary or spouse’s birthday coming up or would just like to publicly display your love story- let me know!  I’ll happily post it!

For the first post in this series, I’ve asked my cousin Chelsea and her husband Joe to share their love with us.  I knew this was a good idea when I read their post and got all goosebump-y reading why they love each other- so sweet!!  I have a big, HUGE love for my cousin Chelsea- she’s super funny, sarcastic and she always takes your side in stories- no matter how ridiculous your side of the story is.  So, I was so happy she met and married Joe, who just augments all of her good sides.  Love these two 🙂
  Here’s Chelsea:

I was flattered and a little intimidated when my amazing, hilarious, and beautiful cousin Celeste asked me to write a “Share the Love” post on their new blog.  I hope sharing our love story and a little bit of marital advice will inspire others to “believe in a thing called love” too (kind of corny, sorry).

1.  What is your love story?

Joe and I met and fell in love in the summer of 2006 in Buena Vista, VA.  I had just finished my sophomore year at Southern Virginia University, and Joe had just returned from his mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  We were both working as counselors at a youth camp called Especially For Youth (EFY) that summer.  I wasn’t really looking to date anyone at that time because I was preparing to go on a mission that December.  I knew that working as an EFY counselor would be a perfect way to help me prepare to teach the gospel in a spiritual and fun atmosphere.

We first met on the Saturday night before the first week of work, and hit it off right away.  We really connected (and exchanged a great deal of flirting) during a vigorous game of nighttime ultimate frisbee (with a glow in the dark frisbee…yeah, super cool).  Our first week of work included more flirting each time we saw each other.  I seriously could not help but have fun and laugh when I was around him.  He asked me out for a date that next weekend, and of course I said yes (even though I was going on a mission in December, I could still have a little fun…).

We had decided to watch the critically acclaimed “Sons of Provo” together for our date, if we could find someone that owned it.  Joe had plans to go to the Washington, DC LDS Temple with a group of counselors during the day and be back in time for our date (I stayed in Buena Vista for the day).  It turns out that they got back a lot later than he thought they would.  He felt so bad, and wondered if I would still want to go out with him that night.  I didn’t have any other plans (and I was really excited to get to know him better), so I said yeah, I’d love to.

He finally picked me up at 10:00pm, wearing black socks with flip-flops (which I thought was weirdly kind of cute).  There wasn’t much to do in our small town after 10:00pm, so we went to Wal-mart together, belting out 80’s music on the way.  We couldn’t find anyone with “Sons of Provo”, so we looked through the $5 movie bin, and he picked out “Joe Dirt” (another critically acclaimed classic…).  We went back to my apartment on campus, and watched it together (3 times actually…twice with commentaries).  This was actually the most fun I had ever had on a date up to that point in my life.  Proving the point that dates don’t always have to be fancy and expensive to be successful (something we’ve remembered through the years).  Apparently, you just have to be with the right person for it to be a good date.  

I was talking to one of my close friends a few hours before our date, and I was telling her how awesome this Joe guy was and how I was really excited about our date.  I said the only problem was that he was shorter than me (quite a bit…I’m 6’1” and he’s 5’9”).  I quickly got over this small detail, because he was so amazing in every other way (not that I have anything against short people…).  He was never bothered by the height difference, which helped me get over it pretty quickly.  He claims that my height will give our kids an advantage athletically, which is a perfectly legitimate reason to marry someone.

Another thing I loved about Joe when we were getting to know each other was that I never had to give him a “courtesy laugh”, when he was joking around.  This was something that was pretty important to me, because I had realized from previous relationships that courtesy laughs get pretty exhausting after a while.

We began dating each other exclusively after that first date, and fell in love within a couple weeks.  We started talking about marriage pretty soon after that.  Looking back on it now, it seems kind of crazy, but it didn’t seem crazy at the time.  It was basically a “when you know, you know” situation.  He quickly became my best friend, and I wanted to be with him all the time.  

At this point, I knew I had a difficult decision to make.  Joe knew that I had planned on going on a mission, so I asked him if he would wait for me and not date anyone else for 18 months (which I knew was a long shot when I asked).  He said he didn’t think he could do that.  We knew that there were two choices for us going forward.  Either we keep dating and I put off my mission plans, or we stop dating and I continue my plan to go on a mission.  We both decided that we should pray about it, and go forward with any answer that we might get.  It ended up that the answer both of us got was that we should get married…well, there you go!  We got engaged a month later, and married four months after that (in December of 2006).

We have been married for almost eight years, and our relationship is stronger today than it has ever been (with some ups, downs, and growing pains in between).  We went through the poor college student years together, and are currently going through the chaotic and sleepless baby/toddler years.  Our love has grown and spread to our spunky three year old girl, our sweet 1 1/2 year old boy, and a steadily growing baby girl on the way (due in February).  Our humor, our friendship, and our shared faith have kept us going through our difficult times, and helped us find joy in the good times.

2.  What is your favorite thing about your spouse?

Chelsea:  Sorry, I’m sharing three things.  The thing that I admire most about Joe is that he can do anything that he sets his mind to.  He is such a quick learner, and has the patience to learn just about any skill that he wants to.  Learning and recalling what he has learned comes very easily to him.  This is not a gift I have been blessed with, so I greatly admire it.  My favorite part of our relationship is the sense of humor that we share.  There have been very few times in our marriage where we’ve gone through a day without laughing together.  It helps us keep things in perspective.  The last thing that I admire about Joe is that he has been willing to make changes and choices that have required great sacrifice, hard work, and humility.  He works hard to be a better husband and father every day.

Joe:  My favorite thing about Chelsea has always been her sense of humor.  In all honesty, I had never met a female who shared my own “brand” of humor.  During the first days and weeks we were getting to know each other, I remember thinking “Whoa! She’s actually funny” (forgive me if that sounds a bit too sexist, but it’s the truth).  During that time I also realized that I looked forward to seeing her.  I got excited to see what she had to say, another new experience (really showing off my machismo now).  Anyway…from that we developed an amazing friendship.  I still get excited to be with her.  I still look forward to what she has to say.  She makes me perfectly at ease and I find solace in her understanding of who I am.  And for me, that all started with her humor.  

3.  What is the best marriage advice you have to offer?

Chelsea:  The best piece of marriage advice I have to offer is to keep any problems you may have in your marriage between you and your spouse.  Unless there are some serious issues to resolve, then involving a religious leader or marriage counselor is, of course, ok.  Otherwise, talking about marital problems to friends or family members will not help the situation, it will just further complicate things.  A healthy marriage deserves open communication between each other, which will help it grow strong.  This includes speaking badly about your spouse with other people, even if it’s joking.  I received this advice when I was engaged, and have tried to follow it ever since.

Joe:  I think my best piece of marriage advice is actually my two best pieces of marriage advice.  One, forget yourself.  That’s really easy to say.  “Forget yourself.”  See?  But it has turned out to be a lifelong process for me.  I’m so selfish, naturally.  I have to force myself to think about what Chelsea needs and try to put it in front of what I need.  I’ve found that our relationship goes so much better when I’m trying my best to do that.  Though, it isn’t always one of those instant, magical blessings.  Sometimes you have to give and give and give before you see it come back to you.  Well, I haven’t experienced that personally, but I hear Chelsea tell herself that over and over all the time.  So, I guess it’s true.

Part two is honesty.  Other than what you’re getting her for her birthday or where the Christmas presents are hidden, there is absolutely no need to be dishonest about something.  And to go with that, there’s no reason to not talk about or discuss just about everything.  For example, any purchase over $5 or $10 Chelsea and I make that decision together.  That’s really works for us with regards to finances, but it applies to weekly events, parenting styles, and home decor.  So, don’t lie.  Even though I know Chelsea very well, I’ve been surprised sometimes at her reaction when I share my thoughts, issues and struggles open and honestly with her.  You might be surprised too.

We hope that you enjoyed our story and we didn’t bore too many of you.  We’ll leave you with one of our favorite scriptures that relates to marriage very well.  Moroni 7:45: “And charity suffereth long, and is kind, and envieth not, and is not puffed up, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil, and rejoiceth not in iniquity but rejoiceth in the truth, beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things”.

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