Today in the Love Always Wins marriage series I’m featuring my neighbors, Blake and Sally Hollis. I can’t say enough about this sweet couple. Not only are they our neighbors but they’re also our landlords since we sold our house and are renting until we find or build something we like. They’re the best landlords we could’ve asked for and they’ve managed to make me re-think country living and that’s not an easy thing to do! They share a unique aspect as a couple in that they work together since Sally left the corporate world to join the family business a little over a year ago. They are parents to two active and kind boys both of whom, my boys look up to and admire!
1. How long have you been married? 15 years
2. Tell us about your love story
We met at Iowa State University and first developed a strong friendship. We hung out with the same group of friends and got to know each other very well. Blake graduated one year before me from college but we continued to keep in touch. My dad and I were in Waterloo the following November so we invited Blake to join us. It was that evening that Blake and I decided we should start dating. We were engaged seven months later and our marriage continues to get better every year!
3. Tell us a bit about your wedding (color, location, attendants, etc). Is there anything you would change?
We were married on August 15, 1998 at Bethany Lutheran Church in Spencer, Iowa. We had our reception at Okoboji at what was then Village West. Our colors were black and white and we each had four attendants. We love music so it was a big part of our ceremony. We had a trumpet and strings along with several piano/vocal solos. Blake surprised me by singing The Lord’s Prayer as we were kneeling at the front of the church.
4. What is your favorite wedding memory?
My favorite wedding memory is hard because I loved so many things about that special weekend. I loved walking down the aisle with my dad at the rehearsal to “Mustang Sally”. I loved the intimacy of our rehearsal dinner. I loved the reception with our family and friend’s toasts and lots of excellent dancing! However, my favorite thing was just having all of our loved ones in one spot helping us celebrate!
5. What is the key to making your marriage successful?
The key to making our marriage successful has been including God. We have each grown individually in our relationship with God over our marriage and as a couple with God at the center. We have also been marriage mentors at our church for the last four years which has been an excellent way for us to continue to focus on our marriage.
6. What are some of your favorite things to do together as a couple?
We enjoy doing outdoor activities and going to dinner together as a couple. We also enjoy going to movies. We recently went on a hike in Phoenix where we got lost and were able to enjoy each other’s company for longer than we had expected. It was challenging physically but totally enjoyable to just be together!
7. What would you tell the younger you on the eve of your wedding day?
God is going to be key. I didn’t have as strong of a personal relationship with Christ on the eve of my wedding as I do today. I am very thankful He has been along the entire time.
8. What does LAW (love always wins) mean to you as a couple?
Marriage is the most wonderful thing and is life-long.
9. How did you know your spouse was the right one for you?
I can clearly see how we are meant for each other. We once attended a marriage conference where it was explained that marriage is like sandpaper. We each have our rough edges but God puts us together so we can complement each other and help rub off our rough edges. Blake and I work together very well to help support each other. We are better people today because of each other.
10. What is your best marriage advice for couples soon to be married or considering marriage?
Pray together. There is book called “Pray Big for Your Marriage” where it discusses a study on divorce. There is not statistical difference in divorce rates between Christian and non-Christian couples. However, there is a statistical difference in couples that pray together. It provides an opportunity for you to hear your spouse’s inner most thoughts/desires and helps you grow as a couple.
11. As a couple that works together how do you handle the day-to-day pressures of work, family, and marriage?
Strong communication skills are key to handling the daily pressures of work, family and marriage. We try to take time to talk as a couple and clearly communicate each of our expectations. We are big list makers which we use to document what each of us needs to do. We have one for work and one for home. We also work on positive conflict resolution skills. There are going to be disagreements and we work on trying to have different opinions without having arguments. We are sometimes more successful than others but it is always good to have as a goal.
Thank you so much Blake & Sally for sharing your story and experiences!
The love always wins series features couples at various stages of marriage and tells their stories of love, perseverance and making marriage last. Marriage isn’t always a walk in the park but it can be one of the most rewarding things in life. Join me each week as I share the stories of some of my most favorite married couples who share with you why Love Always Wins.