Words of wisdom echoed through the gymnasium of the Community Centre on Saturday evening as Leah and Sean McIntyre addressed attendees on the topic of how to make your marriage stand the test of time during the XO Wedding Gala.
The high school sweethearts told of how they were engaged after three and half years of dating, then married six months later. The dynamic duo have been married for nearly 13years, visited 9 countries together, owned 3 homes and have given life to both a son and a daughter – whom they described during their presentation as being the light of their lives.
Sean recalled it took him two weeks to know this was the woman he wanted to marry, with Leah knowing after three and joking that some people are harder to love.
“We’ve been through ups and downs, goods times and bad – it’s kind of funny because it sounds like our wedding vows,” said Leah with Sean adding, “It’s true and it’s funny how true those vows come the longer you’ve been married.”
The pair detailed how much of the wisdom they were about to share came from conversation with couples that have been married for 30-50 years.
Leah began by detailing to the brides and grooms of the gala, the importance of understanding the power one’s words can hold.
“I have the ability to build my partner up and I have the ability to tear him down with my words,” she explained. “Because I want to have a healthy marriage, I find it best to talk toSean about the things I love about him.
“What I really want him to hear about is how proud of him I am and how much good I see in our future together.”
A myth the McIntyre’s both agreed was one that could be busted is the notion of married couples being in sync every hour of every day.
“Some times you will be out of sync with your partner. You are two individual people – two minds, two hearts, two plans,” said Leah. “We have chosen to spend our lives together andI take off the pressure of this myth that you are going to feel 100% totally connected every one of those hours – it’s just not realistic.”
Sean added it’s dangerous to let your marriage run on ‘auto-pilot’. Too often marriages can sync into routine and your actions become a result of habit, rather than intention.
“Love your partner on purpose, date on purpose say it and honour on purpose. Don’t leave it to chance or routine and don’t assume they know,” said Sean.
“Some times what we think is better left unsaid ends up being unfelt and unappreciated. The way to avoid that is to be intentional,” he added.
Another marital mistake some couples can make is subscribing to the notion of relationships being 50/50 said the McIntyre’s.
“The truth is, you’re a whole person and your partner is a whole person. You bring that whole person into your relationship,” said Sean. “When we surrender this 50/50 idea, we free our whole selves to be a part of love. Marriage unites us and we are not two halves that make a whole – we are two whole people that come together to make something extraordinary.”
Together they explained the importance of both honesty and grace in marriage, stating there is no substitute for honesty.
“Love your partner enough to be honest with them. Be honest about what you love and your challenges,” stated Sean. “Grace means that you accept your partner and yourself even when you’re not your best person. Grace means when they fall, you’re there to pick them up with love and grace means compromising.”
“When you face something hard and make it through it makes you stronger,” said Leah on the subject with Sean finishing off the topic by adding, “It can make you super human like that.”
The pair’s presentation finished off with four practical tips they’d picked up from their conversations with older couples, which the attending brides and grooms could apply to their marriages.
The first tip – date each other. Set a date night and follow through. The McIntyre’s date night is Tuesday, which Sean added just so happens to be cheap night at the theatre. He added they both love movies and he gets to sit and hold his wife’s hand for an hour.
The second tip was to treat each other. The Mcintyres recommend to take a vacation at least once a – no friends, no kids, just the two of you. Adding it doesn’t have to be a far away trip, even if it’s just a weekend getaway to city, it still counts.
The third tip was to ‘work it’. Once a year and not on your vacation – choose an event or seminar on marriage. Commit to it they said, adding going to your first marriage seminar can be awkward but stated preventative maintenance is a much easier route. This led them to their fourth point.
Have a plan in place on how not to cheat on your spouse.
“Cheating on your spouse is not something you plan for when you’re taking your vows,” said Sean. “The reality is, a lot of marriages end that way. You know yourself better than anyone and you need to do your very best to set up boundaries. Be protective of your heart, your spouses heart and your future together.”
Leah added married couples should be stubborn. Not stubborn towards their partner, but rather stubborn for their marriages.
“Don’t give up, don’t let others divide you and don’t compromise your vows,” she detailed with Sean adding, “If we are in it for life – we better make it good. If our marriage isn’t good, then our life isn’t going to be good. I want my wife to be happy, I want to be happy and I want our marriage to be healthy.
“We really are better together. If we are mindful and intentional, we can make our lives together good ones.”