Dear Dave + April....A Tuesday Series.

Things that are stressful in our marriage:Owning your own business - check.
Working full-time with each other - check.
Having a child with special needs - check.
Not millionaires - check.
Throw a teenage daughter into the mix ---- we could be in trouble!

What we have going for us:Share same religious faith - check.
Both committed to each other - check.
Make each other laugh - check.
Still in love - check.
Married for Eternity - check!

This last year we have fought more than ever before. We have some unique stressors added to our marriage, but in reality, all marriages have stressors. It is how we choose to deal with them that will either draw us closer together or farther apart. We were growing farther apart. Starting to fight over 'nothing' and then turning it into EVERYTHING. Bringing up past annoyances and faults each and every time. Doing more damage with each new fight. Becoming less sensitive to 'what should hurt' and apologies becoming less sincere. We were pushing every button we knew that would 'hurt' the other person. Our children were hearing it, watching us treat each other with less respect. We were fighting a lot. Our kids would beg us not to bring up work while we were out to dinner because they would knew it would lead to a fight. But when the fight was over we went back to our normal routine, which in general, meant really loving each other, not realizing the damage that really was being done. Not only to us but to our children.

Then two weeks ago, for the first time in our 16 years of marriage, we fought about nothing and everything, and we didn't crawl into the same bed. We didn't even sleep in the same house. It was late, we were tired. We had just put our kids to bed and one comment was made. A comment by Dave that deserved my attention, but instead I pointed out that he did the exact same thing to me and the yelling ensued. He grabbed his keys to leave with the comment "I'm going to the office." I followed him to the door, slammed it behind him, LOCKED it and turned off the porch light. Shame on me for sending that message. But I thought he would come home.

I went to bed. Expecting him to come home at some point. Possibly crawling into bed, possibly sleeping on the couch. I woke up at 6:30 am and tipped-toed out to the couch. He wasn't there. His truck wasn't in the driveway. I checked my phone. He had texted me over and over until 2:00 am asking if I was there...he wanted to talk. My stomach sunk. My heart ached. I texted back that I had just got his texts. He texted back....'check your email.' I then felt sick to my stomach. How had we let it go this far.

Here are excerpts from the letter he wrote to me and my letter back. The letters that are saving our marriage. Saving us from our bad habits. Starting us on a beautiful journey again. Reminding us that we each need to come first in each others lives. To stop and take interest in each other, spend some quality time with each other, to treat each other with the respect that is deserved. Because we do love each other so completely. We share excerpts of these tender letters in hopes to help any others who are going through difficult times and for our posterity.

Dearest April,

No matter if both of us decided to apologize or not, the damage is done. We need to figure out from this day forward if it is still worth it? Do we move forward together or not. Can we focus on each other rather than ourselves? We are both very guilty of not including the other. I cannot speak for you but the only thing that I want is someone to take interest in what I'm doing at work or home or what ever it might be. I feel alone at times but very loved at other times. It's very confusing. I'm sure that we both could write a huge laundry list of mean things and things that annoy us but I don't think that is very productive. This last year, business wise, has been hugely stressful for us and as for myself I have not handled it with grace as you have. Our business was struggling and we risked losing things we had worked hard for. I might let my ego get the best of me sometimes but I cannot change the way I feel. Having you be so close, it is obvious that I have taken most of my frustration, anger, and self doubt and directed it towards you. I have realized that sometimes I need to take a step back and enjoy the great things that I still have in life.

I'm sure this all sounds like psycho babble but I felt that writing would be better than yelling. I think that I need to take a self inventory on how I treat you and our kids and would ask that you would do the same. I'm going to rely on the counselling we received 10 or so years ago, so if you would like to join with me, that would be great.
Call me, write me, text me whatever you want. I would like to talk.

The guy who fell in love with the girl with the over the top great personality and cute too.

Dear Dave,

I agree 100% with everything you said. Now if we can just figure out how to 'say' all that so we can talk things out instead of you driving away. You should try just going down to the bathroom and locking the door like I do when I need a time out next time! I do need to work better on my listening skills with you and take more of an interest in you and us. We have both fallen into some really bad habits. Each equally very hurtful in very different ways. There is no one I would rather spend the rest of my life with than you.
I'm guessing we need new counselling now with everything going on, but I know how much you hate those first few counselling sessions...so I will give us trying to rely on what we learned the first time at counselling, plus throwing in some of the marriage enrichment tools we learned too. But this cannot be ignored anymore. Too much damage is being done. I think we need to have daily check-ins with each other in the evenings. Time before we get tired to talk about our behaviors, where we fell short and what went well. If that sounds good.....please come home....NOW....before the kids wake up and I have to start lying! Plus I want to give you a really tight hug. Thanks for the letter!


The girl who fell in love with the hot surfer boy

Dave came home and we held each other for a long time. Then headed to church and made our first new rule....we would sit next to each other. Meaning no kids between us. It was our first step to making 'us' a priority again. It felt good.

We are making progress. We have had a few set backs already but have avoided a full blown fight so far. That's huge progress! We will share our 'letters of progress' here on Tuesdays with tricks that are working. One more rule we committed to again...was to stop using 'always or never' when arguing or fighting. There is a way to fight fair...and those words are not considered 'fair fighting'. There might have already been a slip up that will be addressed in next week's letters! Until then we'd love to hear from you.

Any general questions about us, our marriage or issues in yours that you want to know how we would handle? Email us at davenapril@aol.com. We'll answer them next week with each of our own point of view, then discuss them as a couple, and come up with what we think will work. We will keep your questions anonymous. We do have 16 years of experience! And, we still only have eyes for each other.

{if you know us personally and love us, it's OK to ask us 'how we're doing!'}

dave + april

P.S. His letter still makes me cry every time I read it. And, I re-read it often to remind me how much I love that man and how bad I want to work on our eternal happiness!


  1. My favorite quote is:

    "It is your reaction to adversity, not adversity itself, that will determine how your life's story will develop."- Pres. Uchtdorf

    I wish more people(inclucing my own parents) would choose to react the same as you both have. I'm gald you have shared this with us. Thank you!

    P.S I'm new to your blog(I found it through my friend, lovely lindsay). I love it!

  2. April,
    Funny you should talk about sitting together in church. Just this past Sunday I was looking around at all the young couples sitting on either end of the seat with children in between. I thought how lonely I would feel if dad were not right next to me. I also remember that we never let you kids sit between us anywhere and it used to bug you. But it was important for us to present a united front - together - at all times. Good luck on your sweet journey. No doubt about it - you'll be fine because you both want to. I do remember fighting so much when we first started our business and Jill wrote in her journal that she thought we might get a divorce! Kids feel.it.all.

  3. Okay I am brand new to your blog...and I find you guys adorable already...and so real. Thank you for sharing with us how you struggle. My husband and I struggle as well. We are in ministry with our church and I am sure you can imagine the pressure and stress that comes along with that. It is sort of(not really) like owning your own business!

    Saying a prayer today for you two.

  4. A girl in a gorilla suit, Mom & Tiffany....Thank you so much for your kind words and support of sharing our personal journey. We were a little scared to hit publish, but it just felt right!

  5. April, you guys are so brave. Kudos to you ... and I can't wait to read more. Love!

  6. Love this, thank you for sharing. Going to get my hubby to read this tonight. We are going thru something similar. His self employed business fell apart, took a job he hates and comes home complaining every night. Going to stop right here or I could go on and on.. :)

  7. April & Dave, this post has touched me so deeply. My in-laws are going through a divorce and the affects of that have been very difficult for our family. At times, the negativity from their issues have leaked into our own marriage and caused great heartache.

    We recognize, now, how damaging the little things can be and also realize that every relationship will have issues. We are working hard to be more aware of each others feelings and needs. We have chosen to focus on the strengths we each have, rather than our weaknesses. I truly believe that happy marriage can only work if each partner looks beyond the annoying little quirks we ALL have.

    I thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for sharing this very personal struggle with us. I will keep you both in my thoughts and prayers, and thank my Heavenly Father for the gift and perspective of eternal marriage.

  8. We sit at church with the kids between us too! Started when they were younger, of course, to keep them under control. But now maybe it is time for a change....

    Love this new feature on your blog!

  9. You are both so brave and so humble to take this journey of sharing with us all. My pride would never let me. I guess I have a thing or two to learn. I have a feeling this will bless many lives. I hope yours is blessed most of all. Take good care. Sending love.

  10. All I have to say is How much I LOVE YOU GUYS!! I am crying right now reading your letters to each other. Marriage is hard work but there is no people that I know that are as awesome as you too together! Thanks for sharing, it really makes me think what I need to do better in my own marriage. Maybe I should have Brock read it too, so he can think what he can do better too!! HAHA Love you both

  11. This brought tears to my eyes. I commend both of you for having the courage to share something personal in hopes of helping. Awesome job you guys!

  12. I don't often share personal stories like this on my blog. I don't know if it's fear of what others will think, or fear of facing reality, or (and what I convince myself of) the notion that private matters like this aren't for the eyes of my friends and family.

    But is that true? I don't know. Reading your stories, and especially this one, makes me rethink that theory. It makes me feel less alienated in the woes of marriage. Your first portion of this post, about your fighting, felt like I was reading a biography of me and mine. It hurt, too. Because everything you realized I've realized, but I just can't seem to get to the "let's make it better" phase.

    I might see if my Hubs will read your post. Maybe together, we can help put aside the pride and anger strangling us to try something like this. Thanks April.

  13. I'm still a little sketchy about sharing personal things with the whole world, on the other hand if this can help us and help anyone else that might want to make some changes in their marriage..I'm stoked! Thanks for the comments. We can only make it through this life if we help each other. Everyone has experiences that can help others, so if an opportunity presents itself, do not hesitate to share your own experiences. Put yourself out there and see what happens. I'm sure it will put a smile on your face. That's my new goal to share smiles with my sweetie.

  14. You guys both obviously love each other to the moon. I've been a follower for a while now, and that is never something I ever questioned. We all hit rough patches in our marriages, afterall, marriage is a journey, but I commend you both on taking a step back to evaulate your relationship and to keep what's important in your marriage in the forefront.
    My cousin is going through an ugly divorce and the ones who are suffering are their two daughters. Kids do see everything and it's so important to remember that. Before the divorce I would tell my cousin to step back and evaluate their relationship and then pose the question, "is your marriage something you would ever want for your children?" Meaning, would you want your child to grow up and be in a marriage just like yours? If the answer is no, then there is something that needs to be done. I am so glad that you guys are on that path.
    You'll be in my prayers. Thank you so very much for sharing these intimate aspects of your lives with us.

  15. I'm so glad you shared. I think we all need reminders about what is truly important. For me right now, the "no kids between us" really hit home because I am so consumed with my 3 little ones that I have let that space (literal & figurative) grow between us. I'm really going to work on that this week & look forward to hearing your thoughts on marriage as this "series" progresses. I miss you friend!! Ever coming to UT? I promise next time we're in CA we'll come up to see you & hit up squeeze inn.

  16. thank you both for being so "real" with all of us. What's going on in your marriage happens more often but most don't discuss it. I appreciate your honesty & love. I heard a song on KLOVE this a.m. by Sanctus Real called "Lead Me". Give it a listen. Thanks again.

  17. You two amaze me with your ability to share things that some never would. I am looking forward to every Tuesday to read that someone else experiences the same things we do. After 18 years it is far from perfect but so worth it! There is nothing like knowing that your spouse is in it for the long haul with you. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

    - Kami

  18. I don't know you personally, but I will ask you anyways...."how you doing!." When I read the beginning tears came to my eyes. Many people will write to you and say they understand how you feel or what you are going through, but I do. While it is Mr. Man's business I contribute. As you said:
    "Things that are stressful in our marriage:
    Owning your own business - check.
    Working full-time with each other -check. "
    I have both of these things....I know. It is hard.
    Please, if you need someone to vent to....I am here. Yes we are in blog world, but one thing I have learned, it can be the most supportive world if you make it. Please know that I know what you are going though. I am proud of your honesty and give you SO much credit for it. I was SO happy to see that you started the series and I promise to be a reader/listener to your experiences.
    Much appreciation.

  19. Thanks for sharing!! Brought tears to my eyes. Makes me want to try a little harder at home

  20. Wow. Great post. I'm sure my marriage can benefit from your openness! We're a passionate, crazy busy, self employed couple (who adore each other) and need reminding often to step back and regroup... It's always a work in progress I guess. Thank you so much for sharing! Best wishes to your family. Love your blog!

  21. Wow, this was great. So honest and I can also see myself/ourselves in this. We let everyday life take over and we forget each other and US. Thanks for reminding me and being so honest. :)

    We don't have any kids yet but I recently saw a couple sit apart in church with their kids in the middle and I just thought that I will try to have my husband sit next to me, if he is not sitting on the stand as he is right now.. :)

    Your fan,

  22. I'm new to your blog, and just want to say that I'm so grateful that you are sharing your marriage "issues" so openly and honestly. My husband and I are dealing with much of the same right now, including having children with special-needs, and it's nice to know we're not alone. I wish you and your family all the best... I think you're going to come out of this stronger than ever!

  23. Very beautifully said. This post brought tears to my eyes. I am new to your blog but glad I found it. I have always been a pretty closed feeling person, not putting everything out there for the world (or those at church) to know about. When we found out my son was special needs, with aspergers, we were used to him but it was hard to open up and let others help and know. I know that it puts so much stress on marriages to have these trials and I'm glad that you are willing to open up and share because if people like you never shared then I wouldn't have opened up years ago about our trials. Thank you.
    And on sitting together in sacrament meeting, we are guilty of that most the time, when we do end up together I feel different, it's a nice feeling.


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