Brent

On this episode, we speak with Grant and Carly Peterson about how intentional communication helps them strengthen their marriage and family.

What is your family’s story?

Grant

Our family story is a little bit difficult to talk about sometimes. I took Carly’s older sister out on dates.

Carly

He was trying to pursue a relationship with my sister.

Grant

And then I took her best friend out on dates. And then after those didn’t really work out, her sister actually was like, “Hey, you should take Carly out on dates” and I was like, “That’s kind of weird. I’ve kind of dated all around Carly.” And she’s like, “That’s not weird.” And then I did ask her out. And then the next day we hung out. And then the next day we hung out. And then Carly, I think will tell you that I don’t think I took her on a date where I paid money for a couple weeks, maybe?

Carly

Uh, like at least on Month.

Grant

Longer than she would have liked.

We got engaged on Martin Luther King Day of the next year. We’ve been married for quite a while. We finished school and then had our first child right after that.

Carly

In 2015.

Grant

In 2015. Now we have three kids. Three boys four and under.

Carly

Yeah, they keep us on our toes. I’ve been a stay at home mom since I graduated. I had our first just a few months after I graduated. And then I just started working at a tutor position just in the last few weeks, and that’s been really nice. We help them use that so they can activate and learn using both sides of their brain and that helps them use both sides of the brain obviously helps them process information better. They usually have a ton of improvement in both reading and math, and just overall confidence, and that boosts them up.It’s been really cool to do that. I’ve enjoyed it a lot.

Grant

I’m working at the BlenderBottle Company in Lehi that makes shaker cup, water bottle, kitchen gadgets, and high end hydration containers.

Carly

Fancy water bottles.

Brent

What are some experiences that you’ve had where you’ve worked together as a team that you’ve been able to overcome challenges? Or, things that have been more of a learning experience where you look back and you say, “That was a defining moment for us that changed how we approach things in the future.”

Grant

If I’m being honest, it seems a little bit like scriptures in terms of “line by line”, right? “Line upon line.” I don’t think we’ve had any super defining moments – and Carly, correct me if I’m wrong – where it’s like, “Oh, this is where we learned this, and this is where we grew, and like, overcame that.” I feel like since we have been married and since we’ve started having children and growing our family, it’s just been little experiences here or there that have crescendoed into where we’re at right now.

Obviously, parenting is is a big change than when we were just a couple. Each kid adds their own little quirks or things that you need to learn from. So, in terms of ways that we’ve worked to get through any of those changes – even big or small, mainly just communication, if I had to put in the obvious tone on it.

Carly

That’s what I was thinking, too,

Grant

It’s the same thing with marriage in general, right? If you are on the same page, you can work through anything, get through anything. It makes those conflicts or makes those learning experiences so much easier if you’re communicating and working it out.

Carly

One thing that I was thinking of, I was really struggling with postpartum depression last summer. I really appreciated Grant and us coming together because I was a hot mess. I was struggling. Going back to communication, I’m a huge talker. Grant is probably like, “Let’s not talk about this again.” I feel like we have a lot of conversations where I feel like I just need to express how I feel and why I feel the way I do, and I think through good conversations like that it was very helpful for me. I was able to get help and get medication. I’m so much better now, I’m so happy. But it was definitely something that I think was really hard for me because I had never felt like I had been struggling as a parent much until that point, or struggling as a spouse until that point. It took a lot more effort. I feel like that was a defining moment for me, where I realized that I have to keep working at this. If I don’t keep working at it, it’s just gonna get worse – it’s just making it harder. It was where I realized how intentional I have to be if I want to be successful and be happy in my current state. I think a lot of that came down to communication and talking with Grant about it.

Grant

Same thing with your kids, right? Like communicating with your kids will help you get through any issues have been having. One thing I’ve been making a big effort to do the last year or so is just to try and be a little bit more empathetic when I’m talking to them and try and talk through things with them instead of just being like you have to do this because I want you to, or it’s stopping and being like, “Tell me how you feel.” Like, you know, “That’s frustrating.” Just working through things with the kids that way. That has actually made it a lot easier for some of the challenging moments I’ve had with the kids in the last year. It doesn’t mean they go away, it doesn’t mean they always listen. It doesn’t mean that everything becomes way easier if you improve your communication skills with somebody, regardless of if it’s you’re one year old, or with your spouse or with your grandparents or whoever else that’s been some of the greatest helps in any kind of conflicts or any kind of situations we had.

Brent

Do you have any examples of being intentional in your communication with each other?

Carly

I have a tendency, or I used to have a tendency to just bottle things up and be like, “It’s not a big deal. It’s fine. I’ll figure it out.” and I’d just bottle it up and then I would explode. And like say something stupid at Grant. I do you agree that would happen early on in our marriage?

Grant

Is it safe to say yes?

Carly

It’s safe. I learned that word intentional was being intentional about sharing my feelings with him on a regular basis and not doing it in an attacking way. “I feel this way because”, you know, not like “you did this”. It’s “I feel”, I statements. “I feel this way because of this”, you know? And then “What are we gonna do about it?” kind of thing? I feel like I got something that I’ve had to work on personally a lot through our marriage. When I am intentional about sharing those things and not let the bottle up that I don’t explode. And I feel like, I don’t know, do you feel like I’ve been better at that?

Brent

What does it mean to you to live an intentional family life?

Carly

I think to me it’s having a desire to have a close and successful family and putting in the work that needs to be done in order to have a successful and happy family. A lot of that is communication. A lot is understanding each other, but when we are intentional, I feel like another word that I feel it goes hand-in-hand is purposeful. I’m like a “why” person. I want to know why I’m doing something. I feel like that comes to the why of having an intentional family life. I think the why of that is when we are intentional, we’re happy. It helps the people that you’re with know that you’re important to them. If you’re intentional with them. Having that sense of purpose comes with being intentional. To me, what it means to have that intentional family life is to have a purpose and to make sure everyone in that family knows that purpose and works for that purpose, and especially as parents as a team to work for that purpose together.

Grant

For me, I think it’s all about not just living the routine for the routine, right? It’s coming home and trying something different, trying to do fun things with the boys or trying to do something different with Carly, trying to break out of whatever routines we’ve built for ourselves. Or if we do have routine, realizing why are we doing this? Why do we put the kids down, fall exhausted and turn on Netflix? Why are we putting in a lot of time to fixing our house? Why are we going on walks? Why do we do these things? For a lot of people, they have their agenda and they want to get from point A to point B. They move from place to place, kind of like cattle, not thinking about what they’re doing. They’re just doing it because they had it set or whatever. For your kids, they don’t care about that point B. They care about the voyage in between point A and point B. Parents are trying to push it, and they’re dragging their kids from place to place, saying “We have to do this. We have to do this.” And the kids were just like, “Why?” I think the intentionality is answering that “Why” question while also trying to meet the needs of everybody along the way and feed into that exploration and and everything that that entails.

Brent

We’d like to thank Grant & Carly for joining us. This week, we challenge our listeners to practice intentional communication with your spouse. Use the Everflect app for an easy walkthrough – visit Everflect.com to learn more. Join us on Facebook in The Intentional Family Moment group to get ideas and follow along with the challenge.

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