BMWK: What inspired you guys to make the video as a celebration of your anniversary? What was the story behind that?
Christopher: We were just brainstorming and wanted to do something different. We wanted to get away from the traditional dinner and a movie celebration. I think we might have been sitting here watching VH1 Soul one evening, and the idea kind of popped up in our heads.
Christina: I always sing to him in the car. So it really came together nicely.
BMWK: So what would you say has been your biggest challenge that you’ve have had to overcome in marriage?
Christopher: The biggest challenge for us was creating boundaries from family and friends. As you know, when you’re in a relationship (especially when you’re young), people are quick to give you their opinion. We started creating boundaries as far as allowing people to have insight and input on us, and you can’t stop people from giving their opinions, and that’s fine. But at the end of the day, we need to be the ones to make our own decisions. It’s not that we don’t love our family or friends, but they have to understand that this is us and we can handle us.
BMWK: I think that’s so important. What were some ways that you guys were able to establish those boundaries?
Christopher: Well, one thing that we had to do was really just sit down to have a heart-to-heart conversation with our family.
Christina: Chris is very professional in his answers, so don’t be fooled in thinking that it went over like ice cream because it definitely didn’t [laughs].
Christopher: As far as me, I didn’t have to go through all of that. But I did have to sit down and have a conversation with my family and let them know that this is the decision that I made, and I did not want to hear anything negative in regards to me or my wife about anything. This was the conversation that I had to have with my parents because I had gotten to a point where I had become frustrated and really just got tired of the negativity. At this point we were in our fourth year of marriage and I had been through a lot and had grown and matured at that point as well. Christina had to do the same thing with her family too, and I let her handle them.
Christina: Right. By it just being me growing up with my mom, she was my best friend, she was my mother, and she was my father. So for me to tell her “Ma, you might need to fall back a little bit”, she wasn’t feeling it. So I had to address it really differently when I sat my mom down. I was like “Mom, I know you love me, I know it’s been me and you for a long time, but now I have a husband and I have a child. I need you to understand that me and my husband need to make decisions about our child”. It wasn’t that I didn’t value her opinion as a grandma and a mother, but I needed to see how our marriage was going to work with just the three of us (at that time). And at first, she did not take it well.
She felt slighted. So it took a lot of nurturing with my mom and letting her know that we still loved her and she was still a part of the family.
And now the relationship is completely different. The in-laws on both sides definitely understand their boundaries. They won’t say anything unless we ask them for an opinion, they’ll kind of just back up a little bit, and Chris and my mom have a great son-in-law, mother-in-law relationship. He’ll go up and check on her and he’ll help her out with her groceries and pick her up from Church. This was initially hard for him because he had to figure out how he could include her because he knew that meant a lot to me. Right?
Christopher: Well, absolutely. I knew that she was on her own and I wanted to be there for her as a son-in-law. But also, it was hard for me to do a lot of things because there were times when I wanted it to just be me, my wife and our daughter, just the three of us as a family, and not four. There was a lot of negativity but a lot of things that I did for her mom was out of the pureness in my heart for my love of my wife. So that was a challenging thing to overcome.
BMWK: Did you guys have any last pieces of advice you’d like to share with other couples?
Christopher: I’d like to just encourage couples who are starting off: have patience with each other because when you first get married and you move in with each other, into each other’s spaces, you’re dealing with two different personalities and two different points of views. Don’t be so quick to jump the gun and judge because whether we all like to admit it or not, we all come into relationships with some kind of baggage that we might not be aware of. So be patient and stick together even when it gets hard.
Christina: I always go back to where we met. We met in the house of the Lord. I always have to go on the foundation of how we got started. We got started in His house, so we definitely make sure that we always keep the Lord as a foundation (even when we’ve gone through some real, real rocky parts). So no matter what argument we get into, now we have more maturity in our marriage when we know how to step back and say “Okay, let’s stop and see where we both got misunderstood”. I think that helps as you grow in marriage. If the love is there and it’s worth sticking out, whatever’s going on, stay and try to stick it out and it’ll get better over time.
Thank you so much to Christopher and Christina for sharing your beautiful story.
BMWK family, can you relate to this couple? Show them some love in the comments and don’t forget to check out their special anniversary video by clicking here.