Madea & Joel | Anniversary Session at Chickadee Ridge Lake Tahoe

I was watching “In the Room” on TV the other day, and in this episode, the host sat down for an interview with Chip and Joanna Gaines. Let me just say that I’m a huge fan of Chip and Jo and when you think they can’t be any sweeter, Jo said something about Chip that made me love them even more. She explained that Chip has always been a big supporter of her dreams. He has laid down a foundation for her so that together they are able to achieve their goals. She continued to say that, sometimes, we tend to put the pressures of our individual aspirations and happiness on our other half when in reality only we are responsible for our personal success and joy. When you say “you complete me” to your other half it should be because you’re stronger together not because your happiness relies on them. Chip added that when you love someone more than anything in the world and start experimenting with that idea then that's where you start towards having a strong relationship.


They couldn’t have dropped more truth bombs on the show and I’m inspired to share it because maybe you needed to hear it too.


Nurturing a healthy relationship with your other half is never easy. While we like to share the highlights of our life on social media, the hard reality is that it’s not always rainbows, sunshine, and colorful unicorns. Rainbows come out after the rain, the sun doesn’t always shine, and unicorns are literally horses who poop massive turds. All of this is a fact and, truth be told, it’s a hard lesson for anyone to learn to see the rainbow after a rainstorm.


My husband always says to me when we fight, “Babe, we will fight again and probably about the same thing or it could be something else. I might do the same exact thing that upset you and you might do something to make me upset. We will fight. People fight. The most important thing is the way we both come together to talk about it and our OWN willingness to fix it for the greater good of our marriage. We come together to make it better because there are bigger and better things in this relationship outside of you or me.”


And it makes sense - Every. Single. Time.


While we don’t choose the person our hearts fall in love with, we actually make choices everyday. Every morning when you wake up, you have the choice to love your spouse and children. Most of all you can (and should!) choose to show up for yourself because the only person responsible for your personal joy is YOU. Self-love is not selfish. Because when you show up for yourself, take the much needed time to evaluate the good and the bad, and choose to actively improve yourself then you are more likely to be a happier, healthier, more successful version of you. And this is when the magic happens because when you’re happy with yourself you are more likely love outside of yourself more than you’ve ever loved before. Which means you can’t really do that when you’re empty inside, can you?


Dea and Joel are celebrating their sixth wedding anniversary next month. In those six years, they were apart for about two of those. 7200 miles apart to be exact. But they chose to experiment with the idea that they are better together so they both made sacrifices to bridge the physical gap. Those sacrifices were not easy. For example, Dea left the place and country she grew up in and all the people she knew to be with the love of her life. On the other hand, Joel took responsibility for not only his own success; he worked and is continuing to work hard to ensure a good life for him and his future family.


So far the choices they’ve made together has led them to the life they are living now. They recently moved into their dream home, they are debt-free, and they are working towards growing their family. They were right! They are better together.


Dea and Joel… Gosh, how do I even begin to describe you two? Since hearing about your journey, you guys have been inspirational to me and my existence as a wife and mother. Knowing that you’ve both had to jump through so many hoops to be where you are now. Being physically together and achieving your goals as a couple, is a big testament of your love not only for one another but for yourselves as individuals. What Joanna Gaines said about the phrase “you complete me” definitely applies to your marriage because individually you are both amazing people but together you’re stronger and happier.


We may have met on Instagram, but I’m honestly so grateful that we’ve created a friendship out of thin air. Thank you for being completely vulnerable in front of my camera as you let your genuine emotions flow through between you. I truly appreciate your trust and kindness! Sitting down at dinner with you guys after the session was definitely the cherry on top. I loved being able to get to know you guys more. You both deserve so much love and happiness as you celebrate your sixth wedding anniversary. Congratulations on this milestone and cheers to many more years to come!


Hope you enjoy your sneak peek! 










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Kate Stapleton is a wedding photographer who values telling your story in a way that feels like you.

She creates images that are sincere, meaningful, and real.

Kate is based in Reno, Nevada and photographs weddings in the Reno-Tahoe area as well as destination weddings all over the world.

@KATESTAPLETONPHOTO
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