Love is in the air today and I for one, love a good love story. I am a sucker for all things love.
Meet The Medina’s, they share their experience on the blog today on having a God-centered marriage, Valentine’s Day and so much more!
Can you tell us a little about yourselves?
Us: Hello LavenderBliss, we are the Medinas (Gabe & Michelle)! We’ve been married for over six years and we are all about our Faith, family, taking it easy and food!
Michelle: So I’m definitely the introvert in this marriage. Luckily, my husband is extroverted so I can hide behind him at social gatherings (or when my social meter runs out). COVID has put so many things into perspective for me, and I’m working on learning to cherish and prioritize close family and friends. I enjoy reading, buying new stationery items, going out to eat and having picnics. But… I have a hard time committing to hobbies! I’ve tried knitting, crocheting, roller skating (like once) and even baking. Trying new hobbies is so much fun, but being consistent is a different story (pray for me y’all).
Gabe: As Wifey mentioned, I’m the hype man of the marriage – meaning that I am very outgoing, I don’t like for others to feel left out, I try to engage others in conversations any way I can. Word on the street is that I’m known as the guy that can hook anyone up – sneakers, gaming systems, Lamacorn toys – just kidding (maybe).
In all seriousness, I love the Lord and my calling is to fulfill His will on earth by serving and loving others. But most importantly not just others, but my Rib – aka my Wife.
How did you guys meet? How long have you been married?
Our “how we met story” is pretty tame, we met at a church where we were both members (a little cliché’) and had spent some time as friends prior to dating. Once we started dating, there was no going back because Gabe fell in love (LOL). Our time as boyfriend and girlfriend was smooth – actually, a little fact about us is that our first date was at an iHop (we love some pancakes! And we still got mad love for a short stack – till this day!) A lot of our relationship memories involve our then church community, most notably our engagement story! The proposal moment itself involves so many people, details and nerves (lots of nerves). We think it’s noteworthy to mention just a few details that always stick out to us individually from that time.
Gabe: Thinking back, I knew that I wanted the proposal to be a surprise. I remember thinking, Lord, how am I going to get her ring size? One day in my car, as I kept thinking how to get her ring size, to my surprise, I looked in a space between the passenger seat and center console – and guess what I saw, Michelle’s ugly ring! [Back story on the ring: I remember Michelle having this cheap ring accessory – which I hated, it looked like something out of the 60s or 70s – it was straight up UGLY!] When I saw that ring, I thought she purposely left it in the car to give me a hint to propose soon! (Later on I found out that she had a clue that she lost it.) I immediately took that ring to the jeweler and picked out the ring that I wanted for my future wife.
Michelle: My ring wasn’t ugly! It was a Forever 21 ring (yes, it was cheap but Forever 21 accessories used to be the thing!) I thought that Gabe finally got his chance to throw away the ring. I remember I was a little suspect about that week in general. In the days leading up to the proposal, my family and Gabe kept trying to get me to do things like my hair, nails and to get a new outfit. And I was like okay, I love doing all those things but I can do that anytime like next week (in hindsight, I was missing so many clues!)
Us: There are so many details surrounding our engagement – that if we try to write it all out (which we did) it would just be too long. But the most notable details from our engagement were that it took place in our church at the time, and we were surrounded by family, friends and our church community – all of which were important to us because they had seen our relationship grow. That exciting day ended with dinner at home, which was much needed for the introvert (Michelle).
Do you celebrate Valentine’s Day? If so, what is your most memorable Valentine’s Day?
We celebrate Valentine’s Day, however, we don’t idolize this day. We believe that every day is an opportunity to show love and kindness to each other and to family, or to someone who needs it. Our love to each other and others doesn’t consist of one day. We take time continuously throughout the year to cherish each other by going out on dates, or watching movies, going out on walks together, having lunch during the week together and so many other things. We have two (2) favorite Valentine’s Day.
Gabe: So I know my Wife loves food, especially plain pizza – it’s her favorite. I thought, what better gift to get her than a heart shaped pizza. Being that we worked at different locations, it gave me the opportunity to surprise her with something that would speak to her heart (food). Also, adding to this, I had managed to put together a book of cartoon illustrations of our lives, and the reasons why I love her and enjoy her company. I remember waiting for her in our apartment and unfortunately I had to reheat the pizza because she was taking so long to come home and the pizza got cold. Boy, I handled that pizza with so much care when I was reheating it (I didn’t want the shape of pizza to get ruined). When she finally got home, I showed her our little love book and the heart shaped pizza – which she loved. This showed me that it doesn’t matter if you don’t have a lot of money, or many valuable things to give your Wife on Valentine’s Day. But it’s the little things that matter. And when we pay close attention to our Spouse, it’s the little things that speak the loudest.
Wifey: Another Valentine’s Day, we decided to treat our Moms to dinner. We are blessed to have Moms that love us and love spending time together. (The wait time to eat out on Valentines was not pretty though!). That evening was special for us because on a day that is traditionally advertised for couples, we chose to honor the two ladies in our lives who have always loved us.
How do you have a God-centered marriage?
We have a commandment from God which calls us to, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind”. The latter part of that verse also says, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matthew 22:37). Without the love of God there is no unconditional love for one another. By choosing to love God first, we are guided and enabled to love each other as He intended.
Another verse in the Bible says, “That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.” (Genesis 2:24). The moment we took our vows before the Lord and the witnesses in our wedding, our entire identities changed.
We don’t want anyone to think that we are this “Hallmark, flowers every week, big romantic gestures-all the time” couple.
We have times where we are complacent, we have moments where we don’t see eye to eye on things and we can forget what God has spoken into our lives, or how the Bible calls us to love one another. In those moments, when we get it wrong – we are reminded in prayer, through the Bible or through personal devotion that God is intending for us to love one another as Christ loves the church.
We have a God centered marriage, by being sensitive to God’s convictions in our lives to love one another better, by continuously remembering that we are one flesh – and by displaying the grace and forgiveness He gives us to each other. The biggest gift we can give each other is to recognize that we don’t know it all, and that we will continue to learn that that we are two imperfect people in need of the perfect God.
How does 1 Corinthians 13: 4-5 reflect in your marriage?
These verses have come to life at different times in our marriage. The words within these verses did not become magically activated the moment we took our vows. Rather, they have become alive, and will continue to, throughout the course of our marriage. Individually, we have had personal moments where God has had to remind us of how we are called to love each other.
Gabe: I remember a time, early in our marriage, when I had a disagreement with Michelle. I remember becoming upset and raising my voice – afterward I remember going into prayer about this and hearing the voice of God reprimand me and telling me to not misrepresent Him. At that moment, I realized how different God’s thoughts were compared to our own. How patient and loving He is. He wanted, and wants me, to demonstrate that love and patience to my wife. How beautiful it is, that God in His mercy and grace reminds us to align ourselves with what is in His word.
Michelle: One time, maybe two years ago, I remember I was at the laundromat with Gabe. We haven’t been blessed with an in-unit washer and dryer yet (one of the pro’s of living somewhere super affordable) – so we have to do our laundry in a laundromat and because of that, laundry is mutually our least favorite task. Well one Friday evening we find ourselves in the laundromat pulling clothes out of the dryers to start folding them. A little fact about me, is that I can be a little *picky* when it comes to the folding of clothes. I don’t exactly remember what happened, but I remember glancing over at Gabe folding something to his style of preference (not mine) and immediately ridiculing him and correcting him (in a not so soft tone). Have you ever ruined a good day? That’s exactly what I did. In my quickness to ridicule and correct my husband, I was insensitive to his feelings, offended him, and made him insecure about something just because it wasn’t done my way. I remember trying to fix the vibe and offer some pointers – trying to make it seem like it wasn’t that big of a deal, but the damage had already been done. That moment truly humbled me and it always makes me cringe whenever I remember it. Luckily, I was able to ask Gabe for forgiveness the next day, after he had the chance to express how my actions made him feel. I say luckily because tomorrow is never promised, and in that moment I took that for granted.
How do you make space for each other?
Simply put, we make space for each other in our marriage by understanding each other’s needs as individuals. We both know that prioritizing time with each other is a must. And we also know that allowing each other time apart to spend time one on one time with our mom’s, friends, or for retreats is just as important. That mutual understanding is the best gift and space we can provide to each other in our marriage.
What are some things that you do separately for soul care and self-care?
In our marriage how we re energize or relax looks a little different individually. Gabe is into tech, sneakers, fitness and retro video games. So when he’s alone, he’s most likely looking up videos about the latest tech or working out. Michelle is into reading, watching cooking videos or listening to music. Whenever she’s alone, she’ll probably be comparing recipe videos or looking up new worship music. Together we enjoy getting massages when possible or going for walks during warm weather, or having simple picnics outside – we also enjoy going to arcades.
What advice would you give to newly married couples?
Such a fun question! Our advice is to let everyone know your business! Literally, anyone who will listen just let them opinionate about your marriage. Not! Please don’t follow that advice, truly the worst. Here is what we really would like to share.
Gabe: Don’t set expectations so high for your marriage, that neither you nor your Spouse could meet them even if NASA gave you free tickets to the moon and back. You and your Spouse are bound to make mistakes or bound to forget things. Learn to read how your Spouse demonstrates their love to you and treasure that with all your heart. Cherish each other, cherish every moment, show grace, and show love because tomorrow is never promised.
Michelle: Don’t compare your relationship to anyone else’s! In a world that is currently inundated with filtered social media feeds and the term “relationship goals” being tossed around. Learn to love and appreciate your love story for what it is – yours. Everyone’s love story is unique and that is the beauty of relationships. If you compare your relationship to what you think others have, you will kill the authenticity of your own relationship. You will spend your time living your life on a display for people who don’t love you and you’ll forget about who matters most, the Spouse you lay down next to each night.