Why are we doing a “marriage stories” blog series?
We are passionate about photographing couples and weddings, of course. But we care even more about thriving marriages. We are here for our brides and grooms beyond the wedding day and we are cheering for your marriage! That’s why we have decided to start a blog series this year called Marriage Stories. We will post every other week on Marriage Monday with an interview from couples that we look up to as well as our recent wedding clients. We will still be writing and sharing every other week about our own marriage too.
We hope that you enjoy and are encouraged and inspired in your own marriage!
How long have you been married?
Phil and I have been married for almost 36 years.
Do you have children or grandkids?
We have two sons, two daughter-in-loves, two grandchildren and three grandpuppies.
Tell us your love story!
Phil and I were in high school when first saw each other at church. Actually, I saw both Phil and his brother at church on the same Sunday. My sister, Karen, was at work. On that Sunday afternoon, I told Karen all about the "new visitors". I picked out Wade and Karen picked out Phil. That was a mistake. Karen and Wade started dating and later married.
I decided that I didn't like Phil very much at all. I wanted to go on one date with him so that I could use the old line, "don't call me, I'll call you". Well, that isn't quite how things unfolded. Some folks say that people fall "head over heals" in love, this girl, face planted in the middle of a love sand storm. Phil's side of the story is that he first saw me, really my legs. I was holding my niece, Heather, so Phil couldn't see my face, he assumed I was married and Heather was my daughter. So after a date or so, Phil fell for me as well. For 35 years, he's said he "pulled me up from the miry clay". Nope, he face planted in the same sand storm of love that I did. We married in high school and quickly had our first son, Rob. I knew in my heart that I loved Phil desperately.
What is your favorite wedding day memory?
Our wedding was not elegant or regal, but it was quaint, beautiful and very sentimental. My sisters gifted us our wedding bands, we were married in my oldest sister, Sandy's living room and my father-in-law , Earl, married us.
My favorite memory was the pause before my father-in-law began to speak. He was so overcome with emotion, he was bawling his eyes out and couldn't speak. When the silence became awkward, Phil's grandfather, Willis, adamantly asked, "Earl, we gonna have a wedding or what?"
Phil's favorite memory is hilarious. Many people, including myself, told Phil what time the ceremony would begin. At some point, there was miscommunication, because Phil thought we were telling him when to arrive to Sandy’s house, when we were really telling him what time the wedding began. As Phil walked into Sandy's house, he was bombarded by family asking, "Were have you been?" "Why are you late?". All the while, I was crying on my brother-in-law's shoulder, I thought he'd be a no-show. He's been very timely since that day.
Have you had challenges in your marriage? How have you overcome them?
I also knew the odds were stacked against us as teen newlyweds, not to mention, teen parents. I don't think either of us fully grasped the struggles of marriage, let alone our marriage. Phil and I will both say that communication skills did not exist in our DNA. Just as Phil and I had to truly learn each other, we also had to learn to communicate. Bryant H. McGill said, "One of the most sincere forms of respect is actually listening to what another has to say. " Now one of our favorite things to do, is sit and chat with each other.
What have been some great joys of your marriage?
Keeping in mind that Phil and my unexplanable joy comes from our relationship with Jesus, here are a few of our great joys of marriage. No matter how ugly our day looked, life comes together when we reunite at the end of the day. Knowing that my best friend loves me so very much is a joy beats as loudly as my heart.
What is one thing that you’ve learned from marriage?
Really, just one thing?? Phil and I went through a list of things we've learned, but this one is Phil's. It made me think really hard, then it made me cry. Phil and I look at the world differently, we see people differently. Phil said that I've taught him to accept different people.
I'll explain what I mean by different people, I call them EGRs , Extra Grace Required. (I read that phrase in a book one time.) Phil has learned, through our marriage, to engage in conversation with people even though you are not comfortable around them. When I meet folks, the good, the bad and the incredibly agitating, I remember the scripture, "Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.", Hebrews 13:2. God loves us all!
What’s your best piece of advice for newlyweds?
Show your spouse unconditional love! Your spouse is NOT your opponent in life, but your partner. You two are the team. Absolutely no judgment of who is right or who is wrong, just thankfulness for the two of you understanding and agreeing on the better route in life.
Anything else you would like to add?
Mr. and Mrs. Phillip MIchael Brazell consists of three entities; God, Phil and Beth. Early on, I said that all of the odds were against us. There is one thing that was going for us, and He's the only thing that matters. Phil and I both have personal relationships with Jesus Christ, so making Him the purpose for our life and our marriage has been the biggest foundation of our marriage. Also, Phil and I have gleened so much insight from our family. Phil and I both have prayer partners. Years ago as a new wife and mother and before Sirus Radio, I used to listen to Focus on the Family on my 45 minute commute from work everyday. So, surround yourself with advocates of your unity. Guard your marriage - it is sacred.