Meet Jai & Stacey.They have been married for 16 years and are incredible parents to 4 amazing children. They are an inspirational couple to anyone who knows them, and I loved interviewing them, hearing their story and finding out how they work together as a couple. Enjoy!
How did you first meet? S: At basketball. Jai was coaching my little sisters basketball team and I met him there, and then at church as well.
And were you both interested in each other from the start? J: Aaah yeah.. S: Jai's brother was more interested I think. J: Hahaha. S: Well he spoke to me first. J: He was just doing some scoping for me.
So what happened from there, who made the first move? J: I made the call. S: Yep, 6 months after we met. J: What? S: 6 months after we knew who each other was. J: No it wa.... S: Yes it was! 6 months after we knew each other and then he finally called and my sister answered the phone. She's like 'It's Jai, he's finally called!' So I'm like 'Oh my goodness' and I go up to the phone in my parents bedroom and we're thinking, well it's taken him 6 months to call, it will probably be another 6 months before we go out. So he says to me 'Did you wana go to the movies sometime?' and I was like 'Sure' and he said 'Great, I'll pick you up in 20 minutes'.
How old were you guys? S: 18 or 19. J: Yea around there, I did have my licence by then, I thought that part through don't worry about that. S: So literally 20 minutes later he picked me up, so it was like 6 months and 20 minutes.
Did the date go well? J: Aaaahhh, probably not...by current standards. S: Explain why. J: I made her pay for herself. *lots of laughing* S: So he goes up to buy a movie ticket and I stand back to like, you know.. J: Assuming 'He's gonna get that'. S: And then he comes back from the queue and he's like 'Are you gonna get your ticket?' I was like 'Pardon?' That had never happened to me before! So I knew I liked him because I went out with him again after that. And if any boy before had done that, I would have been like 'laters'.
And how long have you been married now? S: Is it 17 this year? J: Yeah 17 years this year in October.
What do you love most about each other? J: I'll let you go first. S: Well now it would be what a good dad he is. But take kids out of it, it would be what a good friend he is. That would be my favourite thing. J: I'm similar on the friend front I think, that probably is the number one thing - that we are best friends. That's a favourite thing about our relationship I would say, but my favourite thing about Stace is that there's nothing she can't do S: Yes there is a lot, there is actually a lot! J: You're so gifted. S: Oh please. J: Seriously! S: Can you put brackets vomit?! J & S: HAHAHAHAHA S: I do like that Jai is active.
That he's not a fatty? S: Yeah well you know! Haha no we just do stuff together. Like we go for a run together, or we go play basketball or whatever. I could never have gone out with someone who wasn't active.
Bad habits/pet hates? S: None that can go on the blog! J: Hahaha. S: Actually I hate that he blows his nose in the shower. J: Yea... S: And then I have to clean the dry boogers off the walls. J: I hate that you say you never do that in the shower. Haha S: I do but they don't go on the wall! Because I know that I've got to clean it. J: *Still laughing* Well here's one - we have specific sides of the bed, regardless of which way the bed is facing, which is interesting...Stacey has to be on the right hand side.. S: No matter where we go, it's actually which side of the bed is furtherest from the door, so that if somebody comes in the door, Jai can kill them. J: Oh yea that's right, it's that whole protective thing. S: Well it's just because that's what my mum and dad did. J: Is it really? See I never had any of those kinds of conversations with my parents. S: Safety first haha, what am I gonna do?
What is one of your favourite things to do together? J: I'd have to say singing. S: Oh yeah, worship leading is fun together. But I get a bit sick of singing, like I love it when we do it together, but it's also kind of like a job for me. Soooo I reckon it's just when we go for a walk. Yea going for a walk - if he doesn't take off!
Do you know each others love languages and are they strengths for you? S: No! Haha we're not great at it because we're complete opposites, but we try. So Jai is the normal guy ones: words of affirmation and physical touch, and I am quality time and gifts. J: No you're not, you're words of affirmation. S: And the other three, I'm actually all of them. J: You're words of affirmation, then gifts. S: I'm pretty much all of them. J: Haha S: Yea so probably better at them in the second half of our marriage, first half not good at it at all. J: Yea it's taken me a while to learn them being male, slow learner, that sort of stuff. I tried for a long time to do things that I felt love in relation to, but I think I figured it out a lot better in the second half compared to the first half of marriage like Stacey was saying. S: I mean funnily enough, Jai got given the book...5 times? J: The Five Love Languages? S: Yeah, and I think every time was by his mum soooo maybe she was dropping some hints there? And you never ever read it, and I read it all five times. J: Only took me a decade to read it haha. S: Well now he's read the Five Love Languages for Men. J: For men! S: It's got pictures and stuff, so it's much easier. J: Bullet points babe bullet points haha. S: Bullet points ok hahaha. J: Bullet points not pictures, its' much easier to read.
And do you think that's what helped you? J: Yeah and some good couching from Stace... 'No I don't care if you do that, I want you to do something different'. So I think yeah, both things - books are good but everyone is different, so going through it and figuring it out, and then communicating is the best and number one thing to mastering it. S: I think to be honest the reason we had to get good at love languages, was because it wasn't working. Both of us felt like we were working really hard, and neither of us felt like anything was ever enough for the other person. We probably hit a very difficult point where neither of us were feeling loved, yet knew we were loved, and getting very frustrated with each other and going; 'Alright well there's gotta be a better way, what are we doing wrong?' It's like when you have a baby and everyone tells you how hard it's going to be, you don't believe it until you've got one. When everyone told us in the first little while 'You need to know your love languages' we were like 'Yeah yeah' but you actually do! Haha. J: Hahaha yes!
What's one of the hardest things about being married? J: I dunno. Marriage is, well... once you have kids the compromises of marriage seem easy. You start out married and you're like ok, I can't just go the movies with my mates whenever I want, and that's as big as it gets. And then you have kids, and you have a few kids - and you're never going to the movies! It doesn't matter who it's with, you're probably only going with your wife and you actually have to make time for it. So by the time you get to where we are we've figured out those things, well I know I've figured out those things - the things that you have to sacrifice to have a family. And I love, absolutely love family, I'd take the family every time. But yeah, its' just compromise, and I don't see them as hard things, I see them as better things on the other side. S: I reckon communication, it's probably the hardest thing about marriage. J: That is hard. When you're very different, when your styles are very different. S: Yeah. How you communicate with each other, respecting the way the other one communicates, trying to understand each other, then when you add children when do you communicate? Because it's not appropriate to communicate in front of them. We work together so if we're not going to talk about work and church at home, you can't even say 'How was your day?' because you get into a conversation about church and work so that makes it hard. J: Haha yep. S: That was all easier when Jai was working in corporate in a different job, it's a bit more confusing now. But even just finding when to communicate, because if there are things you need to discuss, there's always a kid listening somewhere, somehow. Like we can be discussing something in the middle of the night and one of our kids will retell us 2 weeks later. So even when you do finally get a date night, you don't want to be sitting there having a disagreement. So I think communication because we are very different in how we do that. J: Yeah. I'd add to that timing. Picking the right timing and environment to have a conversation if you're very different in the way you communicate, or your personality styles are different. I've struggled with that in terms of I can have any conversation at any time. It doesn't matter what we're talking about, how deep or how light it is, it won't bother me to switch into that mode. But Stace needs the right kind of environment to have a more emotional discussion. It took me a long time to just go 'Ok this is very different, and I need to adjust to when that conversation needs to happen.' And I'm still working on that! I've gotta say that's one of the constant challenges that I have, just working on my timing of when I say and bring up certain things.
What is one of the best dates you've ever been on? J: Ooh Stace, go for it...make me look good babe! Haha. S: Ummm one of the best dates we've ever been on was a surprise trip. We arrived at the Spit on the Gold Coast and a seaplane flew in, and then we went on the seaplane to a deserted island where they dropped us off...
By now my jaw has dropped wondering if this is for real? S: I know! So they dropped us off for the day with an esky of drinks, seafood (my favourite), an umbrella, blankets, everything, and then they came back like 5 hours later and picked us up.
So was this the proposal or... S: No! This was just a date. I think it was maybe a 5 year anniversary or something. J: Yep! (Jai is definitely looking pretty smug by now) S: Yeah because Noah was less than 1 and he went to my sisters. We literally had an entire beach to ourselves and they left us equipment and stuff so we could snorkel, it really was amazing.
So Jai would that be your favourite as well? J: Yea I liked that one, but I'm pretty simple really, to be honest. I liked a date we had in Melbourne, you know the copper stone street in the city. S: Little Collins or Little ..whatever with all the restaurants down the side. J: We were just sitting there, having dinner, looking across at you.. S: It was pretty spesh....(definite sarcasm sneaking in) J: Beautiful dress, beautiful woman. S: Haha this guy!
What's the biggest thing you've learnt from each other? J: I think the biggest thing I've learnt from Stacey is how to love people when they irritate the living daylights out of you. She loves people like nobody I've ever met and tolerates peoples challenges and .. S: Creatives haha. J: Yea creative people but anybody really. So just the level of tolerance with loving people is probably the biggest thing I've learnt. S: I learn lots of things from Jai about myself. I think Jai is very good at being engaged with the children. He's very, very good at that. And also very good at putting himself last with me and the kids, he will always put us first. He's very selfless with his family and yeah I probably learn a lot from that. Also I think I've learnt a lot from Jai in terms of how to emotionally separate how you think about something, which is his strength and his weakness. But in terms of building structure for teams and all of that which I'm not great at, he's very good at just going 'Well what about this and what about that?' And so I don't really make any decisions with team that isn't talked about with him. He brings such a different side to things and I'm always learning from him on business stuff and how to cause people to grow and empower people. I learn a lot from him about that all the time.
What are you looking forward to in the future? S: Ooh, being retired?! J: Hahaha S: Not paying for braces any more. J: Hahaha S: Not paying for scientific calculators and uniforms that get lost. J: *Still laughing* S: Not using every single cent on sending your kids to school - all of that stuff. I'm looking forward to...I love having kids and I'm sure that I'll miss them, but I am looking forward to when the kids have grown up and they come home with their kids and we can travel together. We got married young and had children young, so we actually didn't do much travel. So we've never been to Europe, never been to England, America... I want to do all that with him. I don't want to be one of those people that just sits at home all the time retired, but life is very full in ministry and I don't ever want to not be involved in it, but a few steps back and cheering on younger people and giving them advice is what I'm looking forward to. Still being connected in church but having a more relaxed, slower lifestyle together...yep. J: I'm looking forward to...I know its' a bit cliché but what God has planned for the 2 of us moving forward. It took me a long time to get on the page of where God wanted us to be as a couple, I was a very slow learner. S: *Laughing* J: Like a decade slow. Haha so now that I'm on the right page and we're moving forward as a couple in terms of where God wants us and how God wants us to influence, He can use our differences to bring strength (because we are very different) but together unified I think God's got something in store for that. I don't know what it is but I'm just excited about now that we've got that full synergy, there's not really any separation between our goals or expectations, there's just so much more potential than there has been. S: Yeah we're probably the most on the same page we've ever been.
What's one piece of advice you would give to newly weds? J: Just one? Is that it I just get one? haha
You can do 2 if you need? J: Gosh, I've got a few.. S: Would it be to read one of those 5 books? J: Yeah! S: Haha. J: But I'm just trying to figure out which 1 thing ..ok 2 things I'm going to go with 2. And they're just phrases: Understand your wife's love language and understand how your wife communicates... and the rest is easy. Haha S: Sooo easy.. Haha. Yeah work out each others communication styles and how you can win. If you can define for the other person what a win looks like in communication, they don't have to second guess or form their own expectations. I think you want to win, you don't want there to be a loser, and so being able to define a communication win and a love win for the other person is massive.
Question from Clive & Bec: How have you learnt to deal with conflict in your relationship? J: I think firstly it's those 2 things - working out your love language...and whatever other one I said before haha! (Understand how your wife communicates). Because if you're doing the wrong things you're going to get into a conflict situation more easily. Communication styles - if you wind someone the wrong way, don't speak the right way or don't have the right timing communication wise, then conflict is going to escalate. But I think that's obvious and probably what any marriage counsellor would say. I think the number one thing is: you don't have to be right! S: Well at 20 you think you do. J: At 20 you think you do, but you don't have to be right, and you can say sorry and have a different opinion. You can have a different perspective and it doesn't make your wife wrong or you right, it just means you both have different perspectives. So seeing her perspective if the best way to resolve conflict...sorry that was very long! S: So to summarise. J: Haha. S: Seek to understand. J: Yes, bring the bullet points back! Bullet points. S: Seek to understand. Because normally people don't get upset or offended without a reason. If you can understand the reason it can help you be compassionate to it. With Jai I always try to seek to understand why he's come to a decision, or why he's feeling that way, then it helps me with my response to what's actually going on. J: And laugh. I think that's a big thing. S: Yea not in the moment that just annoys me. J: No no no no, you know how sometimes people just take themselves too seriously? We took ourselves too seriously early days. But then we learnt to kind of just laugh at the situation like 'Why are we arguing over this stupid little nothingness?' Like it's such a waste of time, move on! Yeah we learnt to do that, it took a while but we learnt not to sweat the small stuff and just let it go.
To that finishing sentence I of course start singing the Frozen song 'Let It Go' J: Yeah let it go! That's it. S: Frozen pretty much nailed it.