Hey Wedlock Gisters!
We are excited to introduce one of our first Wedlock Gist couples, John and Joy Erzen who have enthusiastically shared their journey and love with us. They are such a fun and loving couple who have learned not to take themselves too seriously and enjoy the simple things in life which is why their relationship works so well. We love their candor and humor in both Joy and John’s own individual versions of their journey!
Below is Joy’s version of their marriage journey, please stay tuned for Part 2 (John’s version) tomorrow (June 17th, 2014)
Joy and John – Maryland, USA
How did you meet and how long have you been married?
We met online in 2007. My sister placed an online ad in the summer of 2007 without first asking for my permission. At first, it annoyed me because I had tried online dating in the past and had only met “interesting people”. But then I figured I had nothing to lose. Plus she told me she would only forward me ads or responses that seemed like a good match. John was one of 3 Johns that she sent to me :-).
What makes your relationship special?
For one thing, we are an interracial couple. We had to learn rather quickly that our individual relationship has to be strong in order to be able to deal with life as a couple. John understands my non-existent humor and I understand his endless corny jokes. We can laugh at ourselves. We can look at each other and know what the other person is thinking without having to say it in words.
What has pleasantly surprised you about marriage (your relationship)?
How much I depend on John being there. I have ALWAYS been a very independent person and to some extent, I still am. But with each day, I have come to rely on John’s presence in my life. We talk about even the most minute things. I tell him things that might sound crazy to others but he listens patiently (unless it is during a Football game. In which case, he listens about 25% of the time :-). I am also surprised as the fact that I LOVE being married! was always one of those “I can take it or leave it” kinda gals. But after being married, I know for a fact that marriage is definitely ordained by God and is for me. I love sharing my life with John and I couldn’t have asked for a more dependent partner to go through life with.
What caught you off guard about marriage (your relationship)?
How much work it can be! Hollywood really has the wool pulled over a lot of people’s eyes! I mean, I knew it would take work to make things work but I was caught off guard by just how much conscious work it takes. We have to CONSCIOUSLY make an effort to be in the marriage. We check in with each other often to make sure we are on the same page. We talk about EVERYTHING. I am not a talker when it comes to my emotions but John is definitely a talker. Being in a marriage means always communicating. We don’t always agree on everything BUT I have made a promise to John to always be willing to talk about it.
If you knew what you know now about marriage (your relationship), what piece of advice would have given yourself before you took the plunge?
Pick someone you trust 100%. I can’t over-emphasis the importance of trust in a marriage or any relationship for that matter. John and I have had our share of disagreements BUT in spite of it all, I trust him and our relationship. I don’t feel like if we argue, he’ll go out and do something foolish. The fact that we have built that trust makes me comfortable when it comes to sharing my insecurities, concerns and fears.
Any differences that you both had to adjust to in your relationship (e.g. cultural, religious, background etc.)?
YES!!! My husband is a TALKER!!! I am more a thinker. He works in Public Relations so he talks for a living. You’d think that he’d be all talked out when he gets home? Nope! He LOVES to talk!!! I do find it funny though that our daughter who just recently started talking is also quite a talker too :-). All jokes aside, I am happy he is a talker because I never have to worry about what is on his mind. He lets me know and we can tackle it instead of letting it fester.
We also had some cultural differences. I am Nigerian-American and John is American (born and bred). For one thing, respect is very important in my culture and great emphasis is put on it. John is respectful but he has also had to learn that in our culture, it isn’t OK to argue with your elders and also to say thank you after every gesture. He’s also come to LOVE most of the Nigerian dishes I make for him :-). Food is definitely one of the ways to my husband’s heart!
What is it that keeps you and your spouse together?
Trust, mutual respect, God in our relationship and of course, LOVE!
What are you willing to share about your relationship that might help other couples in their journey?
Be patient with each other. Pray for each other. Seek what is positive in your partner and don’t focus on the negative (this is easier said than done but it should be practiced often). Pray together. Be honest with each other. Stay in touch throughout the day! Nowadays, folks have access to text messages, emails and Instant Messages. Make use of it to stay in touch. Check in during the day to see how your partner is doing. I love when I randomly get those IMs from John when I am having a tough day. It makes me feel like someone cares enough to stop their day to check on me.
Share interesting aspects of your union (e.g. story, pictures, video etc.) that will make us smile, laugh, think, cry or feel inspired and come up higher in our lives) etc.
Watching John interact with Jordan when we first brought her home was funny. He didn’t know how to change a diaper or feed a baby. He wasn’t around babies prior to our little one but now, he is a pro at changing a diaper, feeding her and playing with her. It melts my heart to see them interacting. More of their life moments @ Http://myjjdiaries.blogspot.com
Thanks Joy for sharing your beautiful family with us! Don’t forget to comment, like and follow us below!
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