Chad & Alana (twitter: @alana44)
2) Years together/years married:
Five total years together, and a little over a year being married.
3) How you met:
I had just moved down to Phoenix and one of my best friends was celebrating her 23 birthday at Z Tejas in Tempe. Chad and a group of guys arrived just after us and it just happened that the only seat available at the table was next to me. I was instantly attracted to Chad. He was tall, had a great smile (dimples included) and what stood out the most was his booming voice and confidence—and if you know me, especially then, that was quite the opposite of me. There to also witness our first encounter were two of my friends, Shirley and Brenda. LONG story short, we instantly hit it off and have been together ever since.
4) What would you say are the top 5 important things in keeping a relationship/marriage strong?
Never stop courting each other: Once the honeymoon stage passes, it’s easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of life and not invest the effort needed towards a marriage. Chad and I make a point to make one night a week, “our night.” I love our nights together, even when it’s as simple as cooking dinner together.Focus on the extraordinary: This past July, Chad had an opportunity to finally meet my grandma and grandpa for the first time in New York. Unfortunately, my grandpa was very ill and we knew this visit would be the last time we would see him. As we said our final goodbyes, my grandpa shared insight on life and his 65 years of marriage to my grandma. With tears in his eyes, he told Chad and I something that would stick with us forever, “your grandma and I may have had a very simple wedding, but we had an extraordinary marriage. Never stop loving each other and cherish each day together.” Sixty more years to look forward to.
Pick your battles: Or as Chad would say, “always do what your wife tells you to do.” :) I am as guilty as anyone when it comes to nagging and NO man likes to be nagged—so I have found. There will always be things we disagree on, but the ability to come to a compromise is the true test of your character and relationship. Chad’s taught me that it’s okay to admit when I am wrong, which is still a work in progress. Life is way too short to let the small stuff get to you—save your energy for the things that truly matter.
“Team Us”: Chad and I have been blessed with many amazing friendships in our lives. One couple in particular, Zack and Emily Barna, have always been an inspiration on so many levels for the two of us. Early in our relationship, Zack gave a speech at mutual friends wedding and has ever since impacted our outlook on marriage, “My wife and I call ourselves, "Team Us.” "Team Us" is a democracy and as you build your life together, keep in mind that all decisions start with "Team Us" and there are no secrets within Team Us. Maintain that respect for one another and life’s little curve balls will not phase you.”
Have your own identity: It’s vital for couples to have their own identity in a relationship or marriage. You should each have your own friends, your own hobbies and likes and dislikes, in order to keep things interesting. Chad and I may share common values and similar views on life, but we also are very different when it comes to what makes us tick and have not once altered who we are. I think our differences and ability to be independent is what binds us together in the end. He lets me be “me” and loves me for who I am—and I do the same. Plus, independence is sexy.
5) What is your favorite part about being married/engaged?
The companionship and support.