So the story goes something like this. In college, I was dating the guy who had this friend that was a semi-roommate, meaning he would come in town off and on and stay at my boyfriend’s house for a few days at random. Overtime, that friend realized that Johnson City was the place to be so he moved to town to become an official, full-time roommate. Needing money, I started working for this friend at his insurance company. Overtime and beyond the boyfriend that introduced us, this guy became one of my closet friends, like a brother to me.
All the while, in another part of my life, there was this girl. She was my little sister in my sorority and quickly became one of my favorite people. Her raw personality and down-to-earth attitude made us a perfect pair. She was the girl that would come over for dinner and act like my chicken off the George Foreman was amazingly delicious. If she was tired after class she might even stop by for a quick nap in my bed, which she claimed was the most comfortable bed ever. We had a “no fuss friendship” that I loved!
It wasn’t long into my friendship with these two that I could see they needed to meet. They both loved the outdoors, had a thing for horses, and laughed more than any people I knew. Tyler immediately noticed Jessica’s beauty, but Jessica quickly realized my schemes to get het to meet Tyler and avoided him like the plague. I would always have to “stop by work” when she was in the car or go check on Tyler’s dog for him. Sadly, she evaded my mischievous plan and ended up moving to North Carolina (ironically where Tyler had moved from) before I could get them to date.
Then it happened. I came to work one day and Tyler, not the best secret keeper, finally told me that he and Jess had been talking. Victory! Little did I know the journey that God would lead them on. I’ll let Jess tell you the rest herself 🙂
Please remember that when we share like this we are leaving ourselves vulnerable. This is our chance to love on Jess. Please make sure to leave a comment thanking her for sharing or letting her know how her story has encouraged or comforted you. A simple “THANK YOU” goes a long way!
Jessica Mackie married her husband, Tyler, on September 5, 2009.
1) Tell us your courtship story. How did you meet and end up married?
Tyler and I met when I was attending ETSU in the fall of 2006. My sorority sister tried to introduce us, but I wasn’t feeling it. See, Tyler is 7 years older than me. When Shana told me about Tyler, my response was “no, he is old…and bald.” We didn’t have much communication until after I transferred schools the next year and moved to Asheville, NC. I remember getting a Facebook message from Tyler telling me he used to live in Asheville, and asked if I wanted him to come show me around? We started dating shortly after that.
We dated a year, but honestly I would have married him three weeks in. I knew he was the one. He made me laugh like no one else could. He has this smile that can light up a whole room. Everyone loves Tyler, and if you don’t, well something is just wrong with you 😉 He loves people and he loves to make people feel welcomed and loved. He is generous, and kind, but out spoken at the same time, so he knows how to stand up to people and direct his family in the way he sees fit. Tyler proposed right before our year anniversary of ‘dating” and my answer was “well its about time.” We were married that same year.
2) On your wedding day, if someone asked you why you were getting married, what would you have said?
Tyler is not only my best friend, but also the love of my life. I always wanted a Steve Martin kind of man. The man who could make me laugh, but still be serious – a man everyone admired. He is without a doubt the funniest person I know. He loves me so deep that it’s hard to explain. I cannot imagine my life without him. He pursues me everyday when I don’t deserve it and loves me more Christ like than anybody could. I am always “me” with Tyler, and he loves me the same.
3) If someone asked you today why you have stayed married, what would you say?
We stayed married because I made a promise before God. I made a promise to Tyler. It hasn’t always been easy, but I would rather fight with Tyler then try to love someone else. God calls us to love one another and to be selfless. Marriage is exactly that, and it’s a learning process.
4) Do you have children? If so, how has having children affected your marriage?
We have two children. Maverick who is about to turn 3, and Marley who just turned a year old. WOW! Children have rocked our world, for the better and the worse. My pregnancies aren’t easy. I throw up the entire 9 months. I lost 27 pounds the first trimester with Maverick. It is a miserable and such a humbling experience all at the same time. When you are sitting in your own throw up, crying, you really get to know your husband. Most guys would probably throw you a towel and walk out the door ,but Tyler would hold my hair back, grab my hand, and whisper how much he loved me and thank me for growing his babies. Poor Tyler has seen me at my worse. Not only do I throw up, but also I have really bad preeclampsia at the end of my pregnancies, which can be dangerous all in itself.
After the kids are born we are usually okay. Maverick was just an adjustment because we had no idea whatsoever what we were doing. We ended up having an emergency c-section, which made it difficult when Tyler had to go back to work less than a week later because he owns his own business. Marley was a better experience I had a v back, which is just a vaginal birth after a c-section. She was a great baby. Many people say kids make a marriage harder, but I think they make it so entertaining and exciting. It is never a dull moment, but we still date each other. If the budget is tight and we can’t get a sitter, we put the kids to bed and sit on the back porch. Sometimes when life gets a little crazy we talk at each other, but we need to learn to slow down and do this life together and talk with each other.
5) What has been one of your greatest trials in your marriage and how did you all overcome it?
I touched base on this in question #4, but it would have to be when I was pregnant with Maverick. Many people have said to me, “its only nine months,” and that is true. When you look at your baby’s entire life, the pregnancy is just a small glimpse of their life, but when you throw up 20 times a day, hugging a toilet with throw up in your hair, so weak you can’t stand, so depressed because your body literally feels like it is shutting down, nothing sounds good to eat because you can’t hold it down long enough to pass through your stomach, it’s a different life.
I laugh at the movie recently out called What to Expect When You’re Expecting. If you haven’t seen it, I recommend you do so. There is a girl who has amazing pregnancies in the movie. She wears heals the entire time she is pregnant. Her skin is perfect Her hair has volume. She sleeps good. She has a good sex drive. She eats whatever she wants and doesn’t gain a pound. She even goes into labor, sneezes and the baby pops out with no pain at all. Rigghhhtttt!! Then there is the girl who has a bad pregnancy. She poops and pees on herself. She hates her husband. She is moody, depressed, sick, and feels like she is failing in everything around her. She doesn’t have much glow. That was me. I wouldn’t change a thing though.
Pregnancy looks different for everyone. For me, I didn’t like my body and the changes that came with pregnancy. I got depressed. I didn’t talk to Tyler much about how I was feeling because I didn’t think he would understand. Losing 27 pounds in less than 12 short weeks was hard on my body and my mind. It wasn’t just throwing up in the morning. It was 24-7. I would be dead asleep, and I would wake up and have to run to the bathroom. My friends would laugh at me when they saw me. I looked like crap. I carried a bucket with me wherever I went just in case I couldn’t make it in time to the bathroom. I never allowed Tyler in. I never let him see me throw up or upset until I got pregnant with Marley. By then it was second nature. We had random buckets lying around the house, even one in the cars. We had the blow up mattress in the guest bathroom where I slept day in and day out. We had friends make us meals, and friends who would play with maverick while I would crawl in the shower. It was still hard, but we I learned I couldn’t do it without him. I needed him to take care of me. I needed to let him in. I couldn’t allow our marriage to go through another 9 months of suffering.
6) What has been the most challenging aspect of being a wife?
In the beginning of our marriage it was this feeling of entitlement. I wanted to do things my way. I never wanted to go do what he wanted to do. I really never wanted to be a wife who stayed at home, cleaned, had dinner waiting on the table as soon as the hubby came home, homeschooled the children, woke up early to cook everyone breakfast, and loved every minute of it. I loved my job, and when we found out we were pregnant with Maverick I fell to the floor. I didn’t want that “life.” But now that I am in this “life,” I can’t imagine going back to the way things were.
I delight in waking up early to cook my husband breakfast and having his lunch prepared before he walks out the door. I love trying new recipes and being in the kitchen. I love that I get to stay home with two kiddos to see them walk for the first time, or to have play dates with friends. I definitely do not do all the things and never will do some things such as homeschooling, having the house always cleaned, laundry put away, kids that are well-groomed, but it’s amazing how much God has changed me to want to serve Tyler. If you knew me at all before kids or even before marriage, no one ever told me what to do, I was always in charge, knew what I wanted in life, and I was going to get it, but God has turned these qualities of mine into such sweet gifts.
7) How has being a wife changed you?
I think I answered most of this on question #6, but I find myself changing almost every season. I have learned, and I am still learning how to be selfless; how to put others first, have a happy heart, and delight in the small things in life, even when it comes to changing a dirty diaper.
8) What does date night look like for you?
Tyler and I love to go out to eat and chat it up. We also love to go to Barnes n Noble, get a coffee and get books and dream about our future farm house. Otherwise, we end up playing corn hole and drinking wine after the kids go to bed. You have to date each other; I think it’s the most important thing in a marriage.
9) What are the top three things/people that pull you away from or compete with your marriage? How do you deal with them?
1. Tyler’s business. When you own your own business, it’s hard to really go on vacation or even just “be.” We had to learn in the early years to draw the line between work and family. Turning off your phone. Not reading emails at the table. It’s still something we deal with.
2. Extended Family. We also learned in the early years to draw the line with our extended family. People that love you are always willing to give you advice on your marriage. We had to decide when advice was given out of truth or when it was given out of fear. Even though they had good intentions, their advice was lacking in wisdom and truth.
3. Friends. Honestly, we had to loose some friends along the way. We had some friends that would just tear down our marriage. We had to learn to surround ourselves with people who were not on certain sides. Who spoke and shared the Gospel. Who would pray for our marriage, instead of hurting and attacking it. When you are not with your spouse, learn to speak kindly about them.
10) What role has community played in your marriage?
Okay, this is seriously my favorite question on here. Where would Tyler and I be without community? Honestly, we talk about this often. Without our dear friends, Tyler and I would probaby be divorced. We had a tough first year being married, and we had some great friends come along side of us and help carry our burdens. They showed us the importance of never saying divorce, how to discuss things without leaving mad, how to bring up small things in a way where it wasn’t like we were purposly hurting each other, and most importantly NOT saying I am sorry. We learned that saying sorry isnt really helping either of us, but asking for forgivness for the action, or the unkind word heals not only the one that is hurting, but also allows the other peson to understand why that person was so hurt. And this is probably lame to some, but also using emotions. You made me feel sad, happy, alone, overwhelmed, etc. Our community has prayed over our marriage, has met with us on late nights, and has loved us so well during it all. I cant imagine where we would be without them.
11) What’s one thing you wish someone had told you before marriage?
I wish someone told me to speak out of kindness, to not get mad about the small things, and to enjoy each other in this moment. I always wish they told me never to talk to any family member about any fights or argument between me and Tyler. Tyler and I both failed at this, and of course, each other’s family members took our sides, which made the argument even bigger.
If you have one final thought or piece of advice to share with current or future wives, what would it be?
Protect your marriage. Communicate with your spouse. Always speak kindly about each other when the other one isn’t there. Encourage each other. Have sex. No one ever got a divorce because there was too much sex. Love each other to the best of your ability. Try and make each other’s day a little easier by doing little things for them. And without a doubt pray for each other and with each other. There is no greater gift and intimacy between Tyler, God, and me. Hearing a man pray for your sweet children, and for your future is priceless.