3 Lessons and 2 Tips from Haley Stewart

HaleyBioPic13 Lessons and 2 Tips is a series of interviews in which some of my favorite people (and probably some of yours) share three lessons they’ve learned by being married, plus two tips for single people.

This edition features Haley Stewart, a bookish, somewhat crunchy, hipster mama of three lively children. She’s a writer, speaker, blogger, and Catholic convert.

Haley is married to “Daniel of the big beard and the green thumb.” She’s also a homeschooling, bacon-eating, coffee-drinking southern girl with a flair for liturgical feasts and a penchant for bright red lipstick. I am super pumped she agreed to share three lessons and two tips with us today.

AS: How did you meet your husband? 

HS: I met Daniel through a mutual friend when we were in high school at a Switchfoot concert. But he doesn’t remember that. He recalls meeting me at the grocery store. But don’t believe him, we totally met at a Switchfoot concert. I guess I just didn’t make a big first impression? Not sure how I should feel about that.

AS: When did you get married?

HS: We were married in 2006 while we were still in college. I was 20 and he was 21. So we’ve been married about eight and a half years.

AS: What’s one lesson you’ve learned in marriage?

HS: Complete forgiveness is the only way to heal. I think we’re so ingrained with the idea that we need to stand up for ourselves that we have trouble really forgiving. You and your spouse will disappoint and hurt each other. That’s inevitable. So what will you do then? If you can’t forgive and move on, it will poison your marriage. Complete forgiveness will free you.

AS: And a second lesson?

HS: Marriage is about dying to self. If you view marriage as a way for you to have your needs met by another person, you’re headed for trouble. You’re not competing for happiness, power, and satisfaction. You are a team. I remember after our first child was born, we were both so exhausted. We began playing the “who’s most exhausted” game in which nobody wins. It was miserable. We were both trying to hard to have our needs met instead of being a team. Now when we have a new baby in the house, we each put the other person’s needs before our own. I try to make sure Daniel gets enough sleep so that he can be alert at work. Daniel gets up in the early morning with the newborn and then makes the big kids’ breakfast so I can get some rest before the day gets going. We’re a team on this adventure instead of competing to put our own needs first. And it is a LOT more fun that way.

AS: And a third lesson?

HS: Protect your time to just be together. During our third year of marriage we instituted a weekly date night and it improved our marriage so much. Even if we can’t go out to eat just the two of us (that only happens a couple of times a year), we either drop the big kids at grandma’s and just take the baby, or tuck the kids in bed a little early and cook a fancy dinner and drink red wine, just the two of us. The point is just being together. Reconnecting, talking, giving each other our full attention and having fun. A night devoted to enjoying each other’s company.

AS: What’s one tip for single readers?

HS: My dad once told me, “Run toward Jesus as fast as you can and see who’s keeping up.” I think that’s probably the best advice.

AS: And a second tip for single readers?

HS: Find ways to serve others and make it a habit. If you’re called to marriage, the journey of dying to self will be a lot less painful if you’ve already started to practice self-giving.

Connect with Haley Stewart: Click here to visit her blog, Carrots for Michaelmas. She’s also on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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  • These are all spot-on advice for married couples. Being unable to forgive fully is so poisonous. Even in other relationships besides marriage, but, I think, even more vital as you are so close in the marital relationship. (Or should be.)
    I also love your notion of spouses being a team. My husband and I like to high five when we’ve accomplished some feat and cheer, “Go Team Muff!” Helps keep things light-hearted in the midst of difficulties too. 😉

    Your advice to singles is awesome too! Keep your eyes fixed on Jesus and, yes, you will find someone (if you’re intended for the vocation of marriage) who is running that race alongside you.

  • Marissa B

    Love this interview. Thank you for your insights, Haley! These are excellent reminders for a newlywed such as myself.
    God bless!

  • Great advice for the married couples! It’s a wonderful thing to have a marriage where you both give and take, but if you’re only taking than you’ll both end up miserable very quickly. I also love the advice from your dad! I may need to jot that down and give it as advice to my own kiddos.

  • Love this. Thank you Haley!

    (And my husband doesn’t remember when we met either! He remembers the second time though and was head-over-heels since then, so I guess I can forgive him. 😉 )

  • Lauren

    Haley I *always* say the 2nd piece of single person advice – I can’t take credit though – I think it was one of those rare Holy Spirit God-flashbulb moments while reading and discussing Love and Responsibility – if LOVE is self-gift, the only and best way to seek love NOW, in the present moment, is to practice it continually. We waste the opportunity of the *now* if we don’t, and we don’t become the beautiful future spouse we know we want to be on that fated day when Mr. (or Ms.) Wonderful is suddenly before us and we get to walk the journey with him (her). I think those who are not yet married romanticize the future too often. It’s all about the dying. (And subsequent rising, beautifully, of course!) Love your wisdom in all the points here.