I asked my friends Dan and Shannon, since we have been working together as individuals for some time and now as a married couple, to do a current testimony now as a married couple. Here is their latest “progress report!”
Without doing the work with Bill, we would trigger and bring out the worst in each other, and then we would be in old cycles all over again. As a melancholy and over thinker, a present issue would trigger a past wound and if I was not actively taking my thoughts captive and emptying my emotional cup, I would spiral and have anxiety attacks. Bill had told me that, “If you let your circumstances control and dictate you then you are making your circumstances God and you are putting the real God to the side.” You always need to handle situations to empty your cup to half-full so you won’t spill over.” I had to learn every version of myself not just for my own growth, but so I could help Danny to understand me in order to build a strong foundation for our marriage.
I would get so hurt when Danny would experience his sanguine-swing and try to control our lives. Even though he has a lot of objectively great leadership qualities, the way he was portraying them wouldn’t work when it came to our relationship. I was guilty of putting a lot of issues on Danny as well.
Sometimes Danny and I would try to fix each other’s problems instead of just being there for each other. What we were doing was not healthy and it was not the way we wanted to start our marriage. We were basically both codependent. Bill had said to us, “Do you not want him/her to struggle? Or do you just not want to deal with their problem?” WHAM. It was a huge wakeup call for us to realize that laying our lives down and honoring each other is not about fixing each other’s issues, giving unsolicited advice, or rushing our growth just to be on greener pastures. Laying our lives down and honoring each other is simply to be there, love one another, and ask to serve.
I started to truly feel that Danny had laid his life down for me when nothing else came before me. He no longer put the business, work, family, or friends before my feelings and comfortability. We faced various situations where Danny put my needs and feelings before anything; in scenarios where he could have made a decision so that we could “get ahead,” he instead chose the path that put me first. He chose me and I finally felt that our relationship was being built on true understanding of one another, love, and priorities. When we started to really feel and know that we were putting each other first it was easier to express what we really wanted and walk each other through our triggers.
By living this out it’s not that we don’t have disagreements or fights, we are just able to communicate, forgive, and rebuild stronger and faster than ever before. I have said it to Danny a million times since we got married: “I could not imagine being able to have a strong start to our marriage if we did not do the work to get here.” We are eternally thankful and grateful to Bill and all of EIS. You guys saved our lives and our marriage, before it even started.”
Now that we are married we feel a sense of greater responsibility and commitment to one another. If we didn’t do the work with EIS prior to getting married we are not sure if our marriage would last, at least not in a healthy way. The biggest revelation I have had (not just in my 3-year EIS journey, but in my entire life), is making Shannon my number one priority; it completely changed the way I approach everything.
Up until the beginning of quarantine last March, I had no idea what it meant to be a husband or what it meant to lay my life down for someone. More often than not, I put my needs and desires first and staked my decisions on the notion that “it’s for our future and the sacrifices we’re making now are worth whatever we’re currently going through.”
It took a global pandemic for me to slow down, take a step back and see the emotional damage I was inflicting on Shannon. My eyes were opened to one of the key aspects that EIS and our mentorship system focuses on: building a strong, healthy relationship, and ultimately for us, a marriage.
My biggest fear used to be running out of time, I’d go down the rabbit hole that we were nowhere near where I wanted us to be and that we were going to miss out on our dreams. It controlled my life and it was ruining our relationship. That fear disappeared the day I made Shannon my priority because I realized that all we truly need is God and each other and as long as we cherish that everything else will fall into place in due time.
I am forever grateful for the continued support of Bill and of our mentors, Sean and Kayla. They never gave up on us and they’re the reason we’re the loving husband and wife we are today. Thank you.
Thank you Dan and Shannon. It’s has been an awesome privilege to have worked with you on your individual and now marriage journeys!