The institution of marriage is constantly evolving.

Couples who get hitched today create a partnership that looks totally different from their parents’ and grandparents’ — from their wedding to their commitment to monogamy.

We chatted with couples at different stages of their relationships and share some of the ways those recently married deal with the stresses and successes of their love lives. From first moving in together to the kids finally moving out of the house, they share their successes and challenges in hopes to show everyone that “All You Need Is Love” to have a successful marriage. 

Paul Check and Carina Ludgate – Married for 8.5 months but together for 10.5 years.

We have shared core values. We are on the same page on all of the big things like where to live, children, family, political and societal values, health and wellness, education, harmony in life and work. Having a strong friendship where you can have fun together. We are husband and wife, but we are also best friends. We enjoy each other’s company, and this is extremely important to us since we don’t want children, it will just be the two of us for life (and lots of dogs ).

We have great communication, which becomes very important to any possible conflict. We are always comfortable talking about how we are feeling and are both open to work through any issues the other might have. 

Support for you partner — we both support each other in reaching our goals (both shared and individual). We’re teammates in life.

We also like having fun in everything that we do and never taking anything too seriously.

There really haven’t been many challenges since getting married. We were engaged for seven years so not much changed after we got married. We covered some of the major challenges before we got married. Because we were together for so long, we made sure to work through those difficult conversations so that there were absolutely no surprises going into married life.

Be best friends and make sure you have some shared interests so that you’ll always be able to have fun together. Being open to new adventures and trying new things also helps keep it fresh and exciting.

It may sound cliché, but appreciating the little moments together is so important — many of our favourite memories are those little everyday moments that don’t seem like a big deal but are the parts of life that really make a marriage work.

Jeff and Jordan Law – Married for 10 years but together for 13. 

We met working at the same company (Jordan was in Ontario and moved out to Edmonton to be with Jeff).    

What has worked for us, is Identifying each others’ strengths and realizing that we both need to put the work in where it’s most appreciated. Jeff is amazing at managing, organizing, building/fixing things and generally getting s**t done. Jordan is good at keeping the peace or rationalizing situations, taking care of family and our dogs, cooking meals, and bringing Jeff coffee in the mornings (lucky guy!)

We also believe daily communication is important in our busy lives, so we often check in with each other through a phone call or text, and always jump into the hot tub for at least 20 min a night to connect sans technology. Oh yeah, and don’t forget the essentials: laugh and have sex often.

It’s a unique situation owning a business together. When we opened Spinunity, we both worked full time jobs, and now Jeff works at the studio full time, while Jordan teaches but works full time as a Safety Coordinator at the Edmonton Airport. Although it was the best decision for our business, personally, we need to make sure that we talk to each other openly and honestly, especially when it’s the hard conversations – which is usually about money and finances. 

Owning a business has challenged us to push each other to stay connected to our finances.  Mistakes can be hard to get over; we often put business bills first, like payroll, so it challenges us to stay on budget. 

Marriage is a roller coaster, with an amazing journey of both highs and lows. All the hype about vulnerability is true. You can’t have trust in a relationship without feeling that you can be vulnerable together. Trusting your partner to truly hear you and understand your feelings, and your emotions, even if they don’t agree can be hard, but it’s always better to be honest. The strength you gain from those challenges help that bond grow stronger.  We feel honoured to be each others partner, we love the story we’ve written together so far, and can’t wait to see what’s in store for our future.

Chris and Tracey Kalbfleisch – 20 years married

As I grew up, I always thought life had its phases: school, marriage and kids. So that’s exactly what Chris and I did. To be honest the marriage part for me was a struggle as my parents divorced when I was a teenager and getting married actually frightened me. Nineteen months together and a short engagement we were married. Did I marry my best friend? No, he was my friend, but I didn’t know everything about him in such a short period but discovered and now know a lot about my best friend.  

Twenty years ago, we made that commitment and said, “I do” and we have never had a fight…NOT! We began growing as a couple and three years later started growing as a family, adding five kids to the mix. The challenge of dividing your time and love between a spouse and kids felt very overwhelming especially as two of our kids have brain tumors. Ten out of the twenty years of our marriage, we’ve been in and out of the Stollery dividing our family and each other so our kids were taken care of. It has definitely been a stress on the marriage, but we grew stronger together and discovered quite quickly what’s important in life and how to deal with things positively. It’s so easy to get wrapped up in the negativity and the setbacks but we’ve learned how draining and disappointing life together would be if we lived that way. 

Since day one of our marriage we have built our lives together as a couple but most importantly still discovered ourselves as individuals and gave each other space. Not every event/trip was done together as we allowed each to take time to be with our friends or extended family. Trust has always been huge and neither one of us has/had guilt doing things separately. The challenges we have is no different than anyone else. We argue, which helps us appreciate each other. We have obstacles and many challenges, which helps us learn together. We have fallen and hit rock bottom, which helped us to know how to help each other get back up again. Our marriage hasn’t been successful because of the kiss at night/morning, the I love you before we part. What has made our marriage successful is definitely the unconditional support we have given each other towards our goals, hobbies, passions, parenting and work. We’ve never made each other feel any less than the another. To us and in our kids eyes we know we are a solid team wherever this path of life/marriage takes us and that’s what is most important.