Feb 4 Liz and Ryan Bower

Lisa and Joel – Clive, IA

Joel – “I remember, I pulled up to her apartment and I was sitting there in my car, and I just remember thinking “please be cute.” I keep saying that over and over in my head as I walked up to the door “Please be cute. Please be cute.” And I opened the door and she was.”

Lisa and Joel – Clive, IA

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Wedding Date: October 22, 2004

Love Story: We met on a blind date, set up by mutual friends, while we were both graduate students at Iowa State University. Our first date was Spring of 2003. After our third date, Joel was sure we would get married. I was less certain, but the fact that Joel could bake a mean cheesecake keep me hanging around for more.

We were talking marriage by summer and in the Fall of 2003, Joel proposed under the Campanile on Iowa State University. I, more sure then, said yes! We married on October 22, 2004 – a lovely Friday Fall evening in central Iowa.

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What has been your favorite thing about being married? 

For me (Joel) its just, for any given moment, on any given day, I know there is one person in the entire world who is thinking about me, who’s looking out for me, who’s praying for me, and that has my best interest in mind.

There are a lot of people who you can say maybe one of those things about but we all kind of walk around with our own agendas. You know, even if we don’t realize it. And I know that her agenda is us. And that, that can mean nothing but good for me.

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What have been some of the challenges you’ve faced together in life and marriage? The first time, we got pregnant, very early on in our marriage and then we lost the baby to miscarriage. That really kind of put a lot of fear into me (Lisa) like “What’s wrong with me, will I have more miscarriages? Is my fertility broken?”

All these fears flooded my mind and I didn’t want to go through that again. I had that experience, I didn’t want to lose another baby, I didn’t want to go through the heart act, and didn’t want to deal with it.

We wanted it, but I was just fearful.

And then, gosh…We ended up getting pregnant again, and then Lucy came but she was a twin but we lost her sibling, very early on, so again, just that kind of plagues me a bit.

What advice can you share with other couples and women in particular that are battling infertility or have had a miscarriage?

A lot of women report having this depression around the day the baby was supposed to be born or around the day they lost their baby. Or whatever. Work through those moments and celebrate them in addition to the mourning of it as well.

The whole idea of seeking reconciliation with it, whatever that looks like for you, keep searching for it, because it’s out there. And it may take 30 years, but once they experience that, it’s just a profound moment that will really help them move forward with with their from that point.

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What is your best marriage advice?

Be patient, understand that, sometimes there are just things that require the ministry of presence, just being there, being available. I (Joel) think as men we struggle with how can I get in and fix this. What can I do? Sometimes the thing that you have to do is just be there and be patient and you now, not offer advice, ask a question every now and then, and just be available, because that’s what is needed. You just have to be patient. Those are things that you can’t just pick up a wrench and fix somehow.

The best pieces of advice we ever got was, it’s not love that is going to sustain your marriage, its commitment. Those loving feelings will come and go. You have to be in it for the long haul. You have to understand that no matter what is going on, the marriage is never on the line, there is nothing that you can’t overcome if you committed to what’s best, not for you but for the other person. So you’ll sit there and wait for them as long as you have to. When nothing is in it for you, everything is in it for you. Being committed to this marriage, no matter what it’s ever cost me in any given moment has brought me back more then I could ever have possibly imagined.

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What is your favorite thing to do together? We’ve embraced “holy leisure.” Wasting time with one another. However the spirit moves you in that moment… if its going to fly a kite or watching Cheers on Netflix, embrace the holy leisure.

What does an amazing marriage mean to you? Even when you don’t feel amazing, or amazingly in love, there is no other person I’d like to spend life with. He is my life’s companion and that in itself is amazing. That I have somebody who I want to share every single part of my existence with.


 The Amazing Marriage Adventure Book

We travelled over 40,000 miles to all 50 states in 2015 to meet and document the stories of Amazing Marriages throughout the country. We are currently writing a book that will feature everything we’ve learned from all the amazing couple we’ve met during the adventure. Want to read more of this couple’s love story and find out what we’ve learned during the Amazing Marriage Adventure? Join our mailing list below to be among the first notified of more details and to learn how you can get one of the first copies of the book. Plus you’ll be able to take part in our upcoming e-mail only 15 day Amazing Life Together challenge!

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