RG4C: Hi Jill, to start off, can you share with us how you and your spouse met?
Jill: Justin and I met at our church. However, we later found out our parents were friends way before we met. His mom used to babysit me when I was little, so there’s a chance we met a little before then lol.
RG4C: That’s awesome! And how long have you been married?
Jill: 6 months.
RG4C: Tell us about your first date. When and where did it happen? Who made the first move?
Jill: Our first date was at a Starbucks coffee shop. We connected at a mutual friend’s house a week or so before. We had exchanged numbers and were just talking on the phone. We saw each other at church on a Wednesday night, and he asked me if I’d like to meet him for coffee at Starbucks. I said yes. We ended up talking for hours and closing down the Starbucks. It was a really good first date.
RG4C: How did you know this was the person you wanted to marry?
Jill: I pretty much knew he was “the one” when I first met him. But I had been hurt before and I know feelings can get in the way and cloud your judgment, so I was being cautious and checking in with God the whole time. After our first date, I was like “Is this right, God?” I didn’t want to waste time or get too far in and find out he wasn’t the person for me. But the entire time of us dating I had peace, and the Lord just kept reassuring me to move forward with him and not to be afraid of it not working out. I also talked to my mom and those close to me who have been in my life and whose opinions I value, and they helped reassure me that the relationship was right. Also, throughout our dating relationship, Justin was so intentional about pursuing me and so honest, which I really respected. His character, the way he treated me, his closeness with his family were all things I had prayed for. We were just a good fit.
RG4C: How did your single life prepare you for married life?
Jill: Being single was a great season in my life. I had more time to hang out with friends, more time to serve and work on my purpose. I grew so much in my relationship with God, and I was able to really find inner peace, learn to love myself and just be happy by myself. Even though I wanted to meet someone eventually, I wasn’t in a hurry to, and I didn’t feel pressed to because I was good on my own.
Finding that contentment as a single person has helped me in marriage because I’m not looking to my husband to make me happy or to fix me where I’m broken. I leave that to God. I allow Him to be the source of my joy. So if we have a disagreement or I’m just having a bad day, I’m not putting the weight of my happiness on my husband. That’s too much pressure to put on another person.
RG4C: Is there any advice you have for singles desiring a relationship or marriage?
Jill: If I could give advice to singles it would be to enjoy your life now. Don’t wait until you get into a relationship to live. Do all the things that’s in your heart to do. I remember I used to say things like, “When I get a man, I’m going to take him ice skating and we’re going to go to carnivals and do this and that.” Finally, I decided I wasn’t going to wait for him to show up before I started doing things I wanted to do. I went ice skating with friends several times, went to festivals, concerts and open mic nights before I started dating Justin. I was busy. I had a social life and friends, and I enjoyed myself. So have fun and use this season to build all of your other relationships with friends and family.
Also, understand that just as there are challenges in being single, there are challenges in marriage, as well. Don’t idolize that season of life thinking that it will make everything better. If anything, marriage is really about being selfless and serving the other person. So once you meet the right one, come into the relationship focused on what you can bring rather than what you can get.
RG4C: For soon to be married couples or newlyweds, what’s one piece of advice you would give them?
Jill: I don’t feel qualified to give advice to newlyweds since I am newly married myself and still learning and figuring things out lol. However, my advice to soon-to-be married couples is to do premarital counseling, put more focus on preparing for the actual marriage than the wedding day, and go into your marriage looking for ways to serve, love and meet the needs of your spouse.
RG4C: What’s one challenge you have faced in marriage or while you were dating that has ultimately helped you grow into a better person?
Jill: I think marriage in itself is a challenge, just learning to understand each other’s differences. So far, for me, marriage has helped me to self-reflect and grow in patience and communication. I think learning how to be a good spouse also helps you to be a better person, whether that means being more understanding, being thoughtful, being patient, slow to anger or whatever it may be. If you can be loving at home, you can be loving to others.
RG4C: What role has Christ played in your relationship?
Jill: Christ has been the glue in our relationship. He keeps us on the same page and helps us understand each other. I find that when we pray together there is always great power, and everything we have agreed in prayer on has happened. One thing that I am most grateful for in our marriage is the fact that we both love God and that we have decided to live our lives to glorify Him. Having a praying husband, who hears from God makes life good :)
RG4C: Some people think when you get married you “lose your individuality”. What’s your take on this? How can women balance personal interests and hobbies while sharing a life with someone else?
Jill: Well, I can say, for me, marriage has only enhanced my purpose and allowed me to be better at my personal interests. For example, before we got married, I was a recording artist, singer and guitar player. And since marriage, I have been even more productive in working on music because my husband encourages me and pushing me to be better at it. When we got married, his dreams became my dreams and my dreams became his dreams. We both want to see each other succeed and fulfill all God has put in our hearts to do. As far as hobbies go, we don’t like all the same things, but we try to take interest in each other’s hobbies so we can do them together. At the same time, we’re not spending every moment of every day together. We still allow each other time to enjoy personal interests. There’s a balance.