Today we are excited to share a beautiful Wake Forest Anniversary Session with you! Khris and Carla recently celebrated 10 years of marriage. And their narrative is pretty awesome, so I asked them to share it with you.
How did you two meet?
– We met the first day of class of our freshman year at NC State. There were several mutual friends gathered around, hanging out, and we introduced ourselves casually. Over the course of the next several years, we developed into best friends.
How long did you date before he proposed?
– C: I started dating Khris before he started dating me. Lol. We started dating about 7 months before he proposed but at that point we had known each other for over 11 years.
– K: Carla already had her mind made up while I was still trying to calculate if this was a move we should make. She was one of my best friends and had been, for so long. We had never even held hands prior to this and I was overly cautious about possibly messing up the friendship. Besides, she was on the west coast and I was here in NC and I was unsure about the the long-distance thing.
Where did you get married and why did you choose the destination?
– C: I wanted a destination wedding in Bermuda, but that plan died quickly when Khris told me that no one on his side of the family would be in attendance. So we chose The Sanderling in Duck, NC. The outer banks have always been a tourist attraction for many visiting the state, but being born and raised here, neither of us had ever been.
– K: We both wanted a beach wedding and something different. So she picked the place, and I recommended we do it at dawn (no pun intended). It worked out perfectly. As the sun was rising, the wedding was starting (on time!). We had a breakfast buffet and our guests enjoyed it because while we left the next day for our honeymoon, they were relaxing on the beach.
What is one thing that you struggled with early on, and how did you overcome?
– C: Clear communication was a struggle back then, and even still today a little. But more so in the way in which my communication was being received, understood and embraced. For me, overcoming it meant, watching my tone and taking a moment to collect my thoughts before I spoke. The biggest thing was respecting Khris as my best friend first and then he became my husband. Because he was both at the same time, I kind of expected him to know what was going on in my own head. Lol. I had to remind myself that he wasn’t in my head and I needed to do a better job of describing my thoughts and feelings to him.
– K: Oh definitely seeing the bonnet and head scarf at bedtime! I was like, “uh…what’s that?” No, seriously, early on I struggled with the fact that both of us had very strong personalities, opinions, and voices. We were both very independent and had to learn how to balance our boldness alongside consideration for the other person’s feelings. Learning that Carla’s love language was “words of affirmation” was a part of that process because I wasn’t accustomed to handing out that type of verbiage on a daily basis. When I began to understand that this was how she processed love, then I became better at loving her the way she preferred it (work in progress).
How long did you wait before having your first child?
– Five years. We wanted to establish who we were as a couple before trying to bring a little one into the fold.
What is one thing that you would like new parents to know?
– C: That they are equipped with what God blesses them with. I didn’t babysit growing up, nor was I totally comfortable around babies. I didn’t read the baby books, Khris did. There was this fear that I wouldn’t know how to be a good mother. But your motherly instincts and discernment become more pronounced when they are finally needed. And although there may be a lot of unknowns, you are more equipped for this than you think.
– K: I would like them to know that it’s essential to be united in ideas about parenting. Have the talks. Do the hypothetical situations. Ask the questions. Of course there will be situations that arise that you missed, but being on the same page about God, the atmosphere and attitudes you want to have around your children, what you want to expose them to and keep them from, disciplinary measures, and who gets up in the middle of the night are great starting points. In the end, regardless of other’s opinions, the two of you have to be in agreement and move forward with a united front.
What are some things that you would like people married under 10 years to know?
– C: Continuing to date and connect with your spouse becomes more and more important, especially once the babies come. Spending quality time with the family is amazing, but it’s important to keep the marriage fresh by traveling, trying new activities, participating in a sport together, etc. Continually learning new things about each other is something we focus on. Khris and I always talk about how we shouldn’t be the same people we were a year ago. We should be growing together.
Also, your “family” is now your spouse and your children. They are your first priority. It’s not that you disown your extended family, but they come second to your spouse and children. You have to be on the same team all the time. This is something you have to work at protecting and your spouse will love you even more for it. We may have our disagreements, but when we are around others, we are teammates and we don’t talk down about the team or allow anyone else to talk down about the team.
Finally I would say, make the most of every opportunity by having fun, laughing and reflecting, especially on the victories.
– K: The marriage really is what you make it. In our society we tend to have these idealistic images of what marriage looks like, but not enough time is spent on finding out what your spouse’s idea of marriage is. Share each other’s thoughts on this picture, agree on what standards you collectly hold to, write down a family vision and strive for it relentlessly.
We also believe in the power of our words. Words can create your environment. So we reject any words that don’t line up with our vision for our marriage and our family. Sometimes these words may leak in from each other. It’s important to stop immediately and reiterate the vision. Words can divide or unite. We agree to always try and make sure our words are bringing us closer together.
Finally, learn how to enjoy selfless living. This is not something that comes naturally. We have to be taught and be willing to learn. At first, the idea may even seem impossible. But we want to be the people we are raising our children to be, and that starts with selflessness. Putting your spouse’s and children’s interests above your own takes sacrifice, but when the whole team learns to do it, you will discover a new refreshment about life that would otherwise be unfounded. It’s not so much of thinking less of yourself, but thinking of yourself less.
Thank you so much, Khris and Carla, for sharing the wisdom of 10 years with us. Ten years and two beautiful girls later, you two look like this is just the beginning!