Thank you for the great response from our last blog post! If you missed it, click here for the first half so that this half will make sense. As promised, here’s PART 2 on the boundaries that we keep to protect our marriage from our business to keep it balanced and healthy.
6. We schedule our dates.
Our calendar tells us what to do everyday, doesn’t it? If you said no to this, I don’t know how you function because without my calendar, I would literally be lost. The first thing I do as soon as I wake up is see what I have on that day. It tells me what my kids need for school, what pictures are due, it has special reminders like make ‘dental appt today’, what meetings I have, what time and where, etc… We then discuss these items as a family and off we go to get our jobs done for the day.
Well, one day, we were looking at the calendar and saw all these shoots to be ready for, meetings, various things for the kids, their functions, etc… And then wondered, “Why do we not put our dates on the calendar?” I mean, if we claim that our marriage is the most important thing, why is it that we revolve our times together around other events? Why are we giving our marriage the left overs?” We are passionate about what we do and we love it, but it’s never more important than us. We no longer wait until we ‘feel’ like it or when ‘we have time or money’… We have to commit to it as much as we do for things in our business.
7. We praise each other.
My number one love language is words of affirmation. I love giving it and I love receiving it. It’s a serious need I have. Any chance I get, I love giving credit where credit is due and praise the good things that my husband does. It’s easy for me to recognize the good that people do and let them know because it’s a gift that God has given me. Recognition and fair credit fuels me. It literally gives me energy and motivates me like nothing else… Words have power! So, let’s use it to encourage and empower our spouse, not hurt and destroy them. When my husband says kind, genuine things about me especially in front of others, it means the world to me. Kind words from anyone is of course awesome, but when it comes from your spouse, it’s special in a way I can’t describe. Has it been awhile since you’ve said something nice about your wife or husband? Try it and watch your spouse soak it up and return it back to you.
8. We put the phone down!
Ok, so in this modern day in age, I think it should be required for people to attend “Phone Etiquette 101” classes. How many of you agree? It’s getting a bit out of hand… especially between spouses. One pet peeve of mine is when people do not acknowledge me. Eye contact is very important… That is one thing my mama taught me very seriously and I’m taking that very seriously with my children as well. When you speak to someone, you look at them in the eyeballs…. Simple, yet people these days can’t seem to do it. There’s nothing more disrespectful than when you’re talking and the other person is scrolling up and down on Facebook or Instagram. Now, of course…. just like anything else, there are exceptions. If there’s an important text or phone call, of course it’s understandable, but when you’re on the phone because of bad habit, there needs to be change. Really, do a self evaluation and have an objective view to see if you are one of these folks or not. If you’re not sure, ask someone you trust. If you’re a parent, I guarantee you that your children will tell you the truth. The first time my child asked me to put the phone down was very humbling. As you can imagine, I felt awful, but I was thankful for the change it brought in my life. So, all that to say… when we are eating together, watching a movie together, having a conversation, the phones are put away. We as a society must learn the right time and place for phone usage.
9. We don’t hide anything from one another.
I mean, I guess if you REALLY want to hide something, you’re going to find a way to do that. But, for us, we have an “open door policy”. We share everything… Bank accounts, ownership of anything and everything, our devices, passwords to all and every account, etc… All of our devices sync. So, I can see his emails, his texts, social media messages, and vice versa. We do this for work purposes too, but it’s great accountability and it just keeps everything healthy. Everything is exposed and there are no secrets.
10. We keep our manners.
It’s easy to take each other for granted especially when you see each other as much as we do working from home. It’s easy to overlook what your spouse actually does around the house and just become very accustomed to their presence and not appreciate what they do on a daily basis.
For example, for work, Craig’s main job is obviously the photos themselves. It’s important for me to go to a shoot with him time to time to keep appreciating the hard work he does during shoot time. Even with editing, I tend to forget that it’s hard job and sometimes think, “Can he be done already??” But, the other day, I sorted a wedding for him and um… I couldn’t’ finish it. He was like, “Mmm… hm…” LOL! It gave me such a headache… That little experience taught me to have more grace and patience and just learn to appreciate Craig’s roles in our business.
Same way, Craig sometimes just needs to spend a day answering all the emails and messages that we get… and when we have meetings about administrative things, he always says, “I don’t know how you do it.”. And, I respond with, “Mmmm…. hm….”. With countless things to keep up with each client, all the different questions that need to be answered, schedules that need to be set, things that need to be communicated with second shooters, taxes, taxes, taxes and did I mention taxes? It’s no easy task. Nothing is easy and in our business or any other business, one role wouldn’t exist without the other. Over the years, we have really learned to understand what it means to become a team. That you can’t succeed in anything alone. We continue to learn everyday and better ourselves as a teammate and we are loving that journey.
I at times struggle with this because our business name is “Craig Obrist Photography”, and if you remember from above, I need recognition and credit for what I do because that’s my love language, so it’s difficult for me to swallow the fact that some do not even know I have any part in our business or a shoot and all the things that we do. Trust me, there were times when we argued and I said the words, “It should be called Unchong Obrist Photography.” haha All that to say, as much as we are husband and wives, we are business partners too. In the two different relationships we have, we can’t put our guard down and be too comfortable. So comfortable that we begin taking each other for granted. We need to say thank you, please, thx babe, you’re the best, I appreciate you, Can you please?, I love you, ALL THE TIME. Simple words and manners go a long way. Here’s the thing… when you work for yourself, you don’t get a raise. There’s no promotion. No matter how hard you work, you’re not going to get an “Employee of the Month” certificate. Your boss isn’t going to call you up in front of the staff to recognize you and there’s no staff to clap for you. Bonus? Ha! What bonus? So, for us, these manners need to be consistent, genuine, and intentional on a daily basis.
Marriage is not for the weak hearted. Marriage is not for the faint of heart. Marriage is not an easy ride… It’s hard and very difficult at times. You have to put a lot of work and effort into it. In marriage, you only have each other… no one else is going to help you. In all honesty, no one cares. You can’t ever slack off… it doesn’t matter where you are… ‘honeymoon’ stage, 10 years of marriage (that’s us), 20, 30… just like raising kids at different age, every stage has its own joyful and challenging aspects. Marriage is a covenant. We made a vow in the presence of God and our family and friends that we will unconditionally love one another. No matter if we work together or not. That we will cherish each other through the thick and thin til death do us part. In our world today, marriage in general is looked down upon. Divorce rate is rising and statistically, we all have a 50, 50% chance. Let’s go against the odds and do our best and give hope to the world that thinks and believes that marriage is a joke. It’s not a joke. It’s a gift that God has given us…. the best gift and we need to cherish it and take care of it. We are advocates for marriage, and I am thankful for a job where we can relate to personally and professionally at the same time. Out of all kinds of photography that we can do, God gave us wedding photography as our mission, and I am so grateful!