Dreams do come true! Janessa and Matt got married this July after dating each other for 1 1/2 years and being friends for over 9 years! They met in high school and kept in touch when they went to college, despite being in different states, dating other people, and seeing each other only 1 or 2 times a year. I roomed with Janessa in college (She just happens to be my bestie, and I got to be in her wedding! See photos at the end of the post). 🙂 Every now and then, she and Matt would Facetime. After they were done talking, she’d tell me that if she could marry one of her friends, she’d marry Matt. He was her dream guy.
After many years and a lot of growing up, Matt asked Janessa out. As things happen when you’ve been friends for almost a decade, they became boyfriend and girlfriend before they went on their first date together and dated long distance for a couple of months before Matt decided to make the move from Iowa to Washington to be closer to Janessa. And the rest is history. Now, with 2 months of marriage under their belt, let’s hear what Matt and Janessa have to say about marriage!
Here are 13 questions we asked Matt & Janessa about their first 2 months of marriage:
- What’s been the most challenging part of married life?
- What changed the most after you got married?
- Have you fought yet? What about?
- Is marriage what you thought it would be?
- Are you doing anything to invest in your marriage?
- When did you know he/she was the one?
- Do you wish you had started dating sooner?
- What have you learned about your spouse that you didn’t know before you got married?
- Is there anything you wish you knew before you got married?
- What wedding planning advice would you give to couples?
- Do you have role models for how you want your relationship to look?
- What’s the best piece of marriage advice you’ve received?
- What advice do you have for either single people, dating, engaged, or just married couples?
- Your questions answered! Comment below or post on Instagram to ask Matt and Janessa a question.
1. What’s been the most challenging part of married life?
Matt: I would say the meshing together of two previously separate lives. We had begun to do this through engagement, but now I think we notice it even more, especially with dealing with things such as the deep inner workings of each others families, all the way to the simple things of how we budget, what we like to eat, or even which drawer things should go in in the kitchen.
2. What changed the most after you got married?
Matt: Basically it all revolves around living together and not being an hour apart anymore – such as not talking on the phone to each other for multiple nights a week, seeing each other every day now, and not having to hoard our time together on the weekends as much (and because of that starting to focus on settling down, filling our time, and making friends).
3. Have you fought yet? What about?
Matt: Yes. Nothing too crazy or heated, but there are often things that can cause tension, especially when living so closely with someone for the first time. This has been everything from fighting over a card game to fighting over misunderstandings of what someone said versus what they meant as well as occasionally one or the other of us feeling left out or un-loved for various reasons.
4. Is marriage what you thought it would be?
Matt: Not yet. I think that working night shift has made it so that it hardly seems like we are married. But my schedule should be back to normal soon and I expect marriage to be not only what I thought it would be but much, much better!
5. Are you doing anything to invest in your marriage?
Janessa: So far, we’ve been spending every moment we can together. Whether it’s cleaning the garage or going to Sounders’ games, we try to hang out together. Also, both of our main love languages are acts of service, so that is definitely helpful if we’re cleaning the house together or something of the like! Additionally, we did premarital counseling and went through 101 Questions to Ask Before Getting Engaged, which I think was incredibly helpful for us to talk through so much before we even got married.
Matt: I would say every day is an investment in your marriage. A marriage doesn’t grow if it is just left alone, but it must be continually worked at, challenged, grown, and examined. I have learned a lot in the past month and a half, but there is plenty of room to grow, and that takes daily investment into our marriage.
6. When did you know he/she was the one?
Matt: I always kinda thought we might end up together someday. But ultimately, I think it took me a lot longer to realize that Janessa was the one than it did for her. I also think it was more of a gradual rather than sudden change of thought for me. I was fairly sure by the time I moved back to Washington for her, and then became more sure as we dated more in person, and then more sure as we talked about getting married, and even more after learning about our individual values, and then finally I was positive a couple months before I proposed to her.
7. Do you wish you had started dating sooner?
Matt: No. I valued our friendship in high school and the years since then, but I think we would both agree that it probably wouldn’t have worked out if the timing had been different. We both needed time to mature, find ourselves, experience the freedom of being single, and grow in many ways that would have been suffocated had we started dating sooner. God had His timing, and I am very thankful for that.
8. What have you learned about your spouse that you didn’t know before you got married?
Matt: I’ve learned that Janessa is able to handle a lot more a lot better than I expected. Neither of us expected me to be on night shift after getting married and to not see much of each other. But Janessa has done better than I could have imagined at supporting me through it and surviving this very difficult and unfortunate time herself without falling apart on me.
9. Is there anything you wish you knew before you got married?
Matt: I wish I knew that we wouldn’t have as much time together as we expected. I think we could have better mentally prepared for me being gone more than expected. It really wouldn’t have changed the timing of our marriage or anything in the grand scheme of things, but it would have helped to better set our expectations for the first 2 months of marriage (of it not being at all what we expected).
10. What wedding planning advice would you give couples?
Janessa: Three things:
1. Make a budget and stick as closely as you can to it.
2. Price shop! You can save a lot of money if you spend a little bit of time looking at all the options.
3. Include your future spouse, trusted friends, and relatives in planning/preparing. It’s more fun and SO helpful to get input from people who have different talents than your own. For example, Matt is an engineer, so he happily worked on the how to make everyone fit into our almost too small reception venue. Without his help, it would have taken me way more time to figure it out and been so much more stressful. And, seriously, planning a wedding by yourself isn’t a great idea when you’re the one person who shouldn’t be doing anything the one day everything is going to happen!
Matt: Plans change. I’m a planner, but even the best laid out plans can (and did) change in the last minute. But surround yourself with people who you trust, are good at what they do, and who love you, and it will be a great day that goes by all too fast! And even though plans change, it still is good to plan for as much as you can. Remember, you are ultimately planning for a marriage, not a wedding. So think about your expectations for the honeymoon and life after you return to the real world in addition to the special day.
11. Do you have role models for how you want your relationship to look?
Janessa: Of course! I really admire my parent’s marriage (28 years, 7 children, 4 kids-in-law, and 5 grandkids with 1 on the way!). I also love my older sister’s marriage because they work hard in all the ways and are so loving to each other and those around them.
Matt: I think there are things that every couple does well at and that every couple could use improvement with. So I would say that every couple that I am close to is a role model for me in some way (whether good or bad). Obviously, I strive to take the good from everyone and implement those into my own marriage. So my role models will change and continue to evolve as the relationships around me change and as my own relationship develops.
12. What’s the best piece of marriage advice you’ve received?
Matt: I was told by one of my coworkers shortly before our wedding to never stop serving your spouse. I have found this to be very true (especially in a relationship where acts of service are an important love language). But also, even when my mind doesn’t want to love, by serving Janessa and putting her above myself through action, my mind eventually follows my actions and I can’t help but loving her with my whole self again.
13. What encouragement or advice do you have for either single people, dating, engaged, or just married couples?
Janessa: To single women, be happy with where you’re at. Wherever you’re at! If you’re single – enjoy it; you’re only single once!
If you’re dating – don’t try to get to the next step too quickly or force it; don’t stay dating for forever, but guys are often just slow.
If you’re engaged – I promise, the wedding will be here before you know it and wedding planning will be over!
If you’re just married – don’t just assume everything that was a struggle before marriage will magically be fixed. It’s still hard work sometimes, but just love each other well and be gracious. Also, 10/10 would recommend not sharing a bed before you get married because it’s so fun to let things change after the commitment is made. 🙂
Matt: Trust in God’s timing and plan for your life, don’t force anything, and above all else keep God at the front and center of it all. And yes, I know that is difficult and you may not understand why you aren’t dating/engaged/married yet and want to do anything in your power to change that…but looking back now, I can see what I couldn’t understand and see before: that God’s hand was at work in it all and he had a reason for every day in each stage of relationship.
Thanks for sharing, Matt and Janessa! Let me know in the comments below what questions you’d like to ask other couples. And if you have any additional questions for Janessa and Matt, comment below and I’ll make sure they get to them! Have a great week, friends, and know that whatever stage in life you are in, you are loved!
14.1. Your Questions Answered: What’s one thing you’re really glad you had or did at your wedding, and what’s one thing you could have done without or unnecessarily stressed over?
Janessa: I’d say we’re really glad that we spent a lot of time planning and detailing the order of events for the reception. It made everything flow so much better and there wasn’t any awkward time where our guests weren’t sure what to do. It also made it easier on our emcee to run the event and took the pressure off of us giving direction during it!
Matt says that he wishes he had not worried as much about the decorations and had trusted that it would work out and get taken care of by my parents. I wish that I hadn’t worried as much about the guest count. We originally planned for about 50 guests less than ended up coming to the wedding and it was a huge stress to me leading up to it. But it shouldn’t have been because we had so many people helping us and it ended up being no big deal. We LOVED having each of our guests there and wouldn’t have changed it for anything.
Matt and Janessa’s Wedding Vendors
Venue: Sunnyside Christian Reformed Church
Catering: Fiesta Foods
Florist: Melissa Thomas
Hair: Crystal Bogart
Wedding Dress: Fashion Corner
Bridesmaid Dresses: Amazon.com
Groomsmen Attire: Men’s Wearhouse & Macy’s
Furniture Decor: Marchant Home Furnishings
Photography: Jordan Edens Photography