Marriage Lessons from The Gaines

What I learned about myself after reading The Magnolia Story, by The Gaines ...and how surprised I was.

A few years ago, during my little one's nap time, I tried to listen to all of the veteran moms that barked the repetition: "you should nap when they nap." On a Wednesday afternoon, I attempted to rest as I flipped through the channels stumbling across the newly popular show, Fixer Upper. You know, Chip and Joanna Gaines, Jo Jo (my long lost half sister). I'm slightly embarrassed to admit, but I cried once I finished the episode. It was THAT beautiful. 

Now, I should state that I was newly pregnant with baby #2 at the time, so emotions (and maybe hormones), were heightened. But nonetheless, I was just overwhelmed with excitement that someone got me. Finally, someone understood the value of character and charm and how it alone could tell the best story. It was a show about how chasing the next big thing wasn't the answer, it was the it's always been right here that was so beautiful. 

Soon, the world would have the same epiphany as white washed shiplap became in high demand. The highly sought out Farm House look was Pinterest's most searched terms. I grew up in a house built in 1911. There were transoms above every door, large based boards and crown molding, and all the charm a house that old comes with. The show became a natural attraction for me.

I was anxious to read The Magnolia Story and dig deeper in their story. I was actually scared to read it. I'm an extremely ambitious person, almost to a fault. I jump high when I jump and often catch too much air. You see, there are constant battles I face daily. I often find myself constantly reaching forward before finishing what's in front of me.

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So I carved out some time over the course of a week to read the book ...that I finished in two days. It was honestly exhausting ...in all the wondrous ways. It was challenging, it was inspiring, it was eye opening.

I learned some interesting things about myself and how I may relate to the story plus three astonishing marriage revelations.

I AM MORE LIKE CHIP THAN JOANNA.

What now!? That's right. Anyone who knows me knows I have an eye for simplicity, for that sweet primitive farm house appeal. But after reading The Magnolia Story, I realized I am much more like Chip in so many ways. Joanna was the safety net and Chip was the risk taker and entrepreneur. When I was 18 years old, I saw this property that had plenty of road frontage. Young and full of ambition (and nothing to lose), I thought "I could subdivide this and make two pieces of land out of this one and double my investment." ...and that's exactly what I did. ...and I did it a few more times. By twenty, Michael and I were replicated this 1800s historic Acadian style home that we live in today ...with four extra feet gracing the hallways.

...but I'm still a Joanna, designer at heart.

Aside from the obvious delight in The Magnolia Story, there became a series of elemental lessons I learned through my reading that have cleared some fog that seemed to have acculumated itself on my heart's windows.


Choosing Humility. Throughout the book, you see an unleveling trust in a higher power. There's an unbreakable faith in The Lord as He moved disciples of His, through the graces and not-so-graceful moments of life. It's easy for individuals to long for the future and what it holds (guilty). Paul David Tripp writes in his book "Awe," [people] never really understood God's agenda between the already and the not yet, and because they didn't their faith didn't rescue, encourage, protect, comfort, or guide them. Tripp's book is a series of intense lessons of the value of what humility can do for your soul. Applied here though, it's the same lesson. The same exercise of portraying pure humility for yoru life, both the good, the graceful, the bad, and the learning experiences ...all to sum up in trusting your story. The already. And the not yet.

Grace in a Marriage. There's a certain level of unsafe territory when your spouse is an entrepreneur, twice the carry-on baggage if BOTH partners are entrepreneurs. You never know what the times will bring, you never know what the economy will present, and you never know when that wild card will lay itself on your table as your spouse brings home yet another great idea. What I love about the Gaines is their indestructible devotion towards their marriage. It's a very real representation of "in the good times and the bad." There's a graceful trust umbrella they hold together over their hearts and marriage. I found I admired that deeply as I realized my husband and I hold the same umbrella, holding it hand-in-hand together. I write this not long after my husband comes home with our third fixer upper of the year. There was one line in the book early on from Joanna that basically said "well, I married him, so I'm in it..." Something along those lines. That kind of grace really acts as a daily glue in a marriage, and I'm in it. Good times and bad.

Faith & Risk ...and the difference between the two. When you accept and follow the ministry of your heart, your life will present itself to you ...by Him. You are not promised or guaranteed greatness. You are not assured financial security or a worry-free career or a get-out-of-jail-free card. You are will be tested to jump off of what seems like an impossible cliff. You will hear His voice lead you towards doors to close and doors to open. You may hear that voice urging a career change, a leap of faith, a jump. You will be guided, at every moment ...but only if you listen. I learned the great difference between faith and risk after reading The Magnolia Story. Having faith means you are listening to Him as you are lead through life's journeys and roads, even if it doesn't make a whole lot of sense on paper. Taking risks, un-calculated ones anyway, means you are listening to You as your lead yourself through your life's journeys and roads.


So go find a cozy corner spot and read The Magnolia Story. You won't regret it. It's just a heart-warming and inspirational story of a very relatable journey, whether you're an entrepreneur, mother, father, creative, non-creative, or in any walk in your life. 

...and if nothing else, it'll surely make you want to plant a garden and find an old 20's fixer upper to flip!