Category Archives: The Big Story


Why Every Couple Should Have Pre-Marital Counselling | Brisbane Wedding Photographer

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A few days ago I saw a post on a community Facebook page I follow asking if there was such a thing as pre-marital counselling.  I was actually kind of shocked to see that someone didn’t know it existed.  It is generally a pre-requisite if you want to be married by a minister and, having grown up in the church, it was always a given that engaged couples would have at least a few sessions of counselling before their wedding day.

These days, counselling/therapy doesn’t come with the heavy stigma that it used to so it is a shame that pre-marital counselling isn’t more commonplace.  Maybe couples believe it shows a weakness or doubt about the impending nuptials?  I tend to think quite the opposite.  What could show your devotion to the days and years ahead more than being as healthy as you can be going into them?

The saying goes ‘if you fail to plan, you plan to fail’, and a similar sentiment could be had of marriage.  This is arguably the biggest commitment you will make in your life and guys, let me be the one to break it to you, nobody flukes a great marriage.

Marrying your expectations and dreams is a lot more difficult than it is romantic.  Communication, conquering fears, conflict resolution, support mechanisms…learning how to encourage, correct and champion each others hearts…these are the things we tend to think will come ‘naturally’ when, in fact, they are all consciously learned skills, most of which you can begin to develop through pre-marital counselling.

The more you can prepare yourself, body, soul and spirit, the more likely you are to weather the storms that will inevitably come.

So don’t be shy to ask your celebrant or minister for a recommendation.  The time and the money are a small investment to make in the grand story that will be your life together.


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The Big Story | Fight the Good Fight

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In a relationship, fighting is inevitable. Some might fight loudly while others take the passive aggressive route, some might be explosive while others pout. No matter how it manifests, all couples have disagreements.

Learning how to fight well is an essential part of growing a mature marriage. Without setting boundaries we run the risk of imposing long-term damage on each other whilst weakening our relationship one argument at a time. So here’s some basic ‘rules’ to remember next time you’ve got the crankies…

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One fight at a time
Ladies, I’m afraid this one is usually for us! If you’re having an argument about undies being left on the floor, don’t bring up the way he treats your mother and how he didn’t offer to get you a drink when you went to that party last night. Bringing up every ‘wrong’ thing he’s done in the last 48 hours very quickly becomes nagging and there is not a man (or woman for that matter) in the world who responds well to that. Tackle one issue at a time and your fighting will be much more productive.

Leave the past in the past
Reminding your partner over and over of something they’ve done in the past says more about your heart than theirs. Don’t bring old issues into current fights. If there’s something that keeps coming up then set a separate time to sit down and address it. You then need to forgive. And when I say forgive, I mean truly forgive.

No name calling. Ever.
Enough said.

Argue to solve
Rather than arguing to prove you are right, argue with the intention of solving the problem. That’s right, this one involves leaving your pride at the door.

Learn to forgive
Joyce Meyer says, ‘Unforgiveness is like taking poison and hoping that the other person dies’. Harboring unforgiveness always leads to resentment and bitterness, both of which will eat away at you and your marriage from the inside out. Sort your issues out quickly and make forgiveness a habit.


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The Big Story | On Being a Team

60th wedding anniversary

I recently asked my grandparents, June and Doug, a few questions about marriage.  Here’s one snippet of wisdom from their 59 years together.

What is the recipe for a successful marriage?

Ma – Never go to sleep on an argument.  Always settle the argument so as when you get up in the morning you’re fresh.

Pa – We were a team from 12 months before we married.  We were building a house together and most of the time when I was working on the house on a Saturday, June was there looking after things, getting smoko’s and dinners organised.  We were a team and we had a common goal in preparing our house.  After we were married, when we first moved back from our honeymoon into our new home – it had no front door, it wasn’t lockable, it was on an ex-farm and there was no road down to the house and it was pretty primitive – we had all these adjustments that we had to make.

For two years we didn’t have a vehicle except for a motorbike so I used to transport June down to the station every morning before I went to work. I’d get home from work before her in the afternoons and do some washing and start peeling the spuds for dinner, and then I’d pick her up from the station.  I was working at the Golden Circle factory and June was travelling into town to work as a milliner.

When the babies started coming we had to build cots together and make a home, and then our first baby Melitta was quite sick her first year so that drew us into that teamwork again.  We built a strong relationship throughout our married life through lots of projects we’ve accomplished together.

The moral of the story?  Teamwork makes the dream work.  And ladies, make sure you reeeeally like that motorbike.  Click here to read more of Doug and June’s story.

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The Big Story | 59 Years and Counting | Brisbane Wedding Photographer



Meet my grandparents – Doug & June.  This year will see them reach their 59th wedding anniversary.  Yes, you read that correctly.

One of the best ways we can learn is from listening to those who have walked the path before us.  After having been through the valley of marriage and divorce myself, I marvel at my grandparents’ achievement.  And let’s not kid ourselves, it is an achievement.  There’s no such thing as coasting through the years whilst just happening to stay connected to someone in a loving and committed way. Marriage is hard work.  The good news is the reward far outweighs the hardship, and, it is possible to get through a lifetime together, as evidenced by these two.

So, over the next little while I thought I’d extract as much marriage wisdom out of my grandma and grandpa as I can and pass it on to you.  Firstly though, here is a little bit of their story.

How long have you been married?

Pa – Fifty-nine centuries.

How did you meet?

Pa – At a church camp down in Currumbin.  There was a room where there was a party going on in it and I arrived to the camp late, and went to the door of the room, saw June in the distance and I thought ‘Gee she’s a nice looking kid!’ and she was…so it went from there.  I was 19 and June was 16.  I had a motorbike and when we had the afternoons free I would take June out riding pillion and we would tour the area.

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How long were you together before you got married?

Pa – About four years because June was only sixteen when we met.    We went out for about three years before we got engaged.

How many people were at your wedding?

Ma – One hundred and it was by invitation only.  They all came to the dinner afterwards but there were more at the ceremony.

How much did you wedding dress cost?

Ma – I don’t know, that was a long time ago!  I had it made by a dressmaker. I still have it but I cut the bottom off it because I wore it as a dress to a party once.

How much did the wedding cost?

Pa – I’m not sure.  We had lots of loving people around us – we had friends who supplied cars and all the people from the church brought trifles and other dishes for the reception.

Do you remember how much you paid for your wedding photography?

Ma – My parents paid for it because they got an album for themselves and one for me.  I’ve still got mine and mum’s and the photos are still holding up.  I still get it out and look at it a couple of times a year.

Pa – When she feels like a cry!  We have our wedding photos on our dressing table.


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The moral of the story?  Invest in a wedding album because they last for a lifetime, and, chicks dig motorbikes.  Keep an eye out for more of their story over the next few weeks.


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The Big Story – The Top 3 Things To Discuss Before You Get Married


There are a few simple conversations that engaged couples should have in order to avoid some major hurdles down the road.  Sometimes in the rose-coloured mist that is the romantic season of dating and engagement, it’s easy to skip over some foundational compatibility truths.  The best time to ask questions is before you get married.  Waaaaaay before you get married, ideally.

It’s a great way to ascertain whether you truly have the same vision and expectations for your life together.  Even if you think you know your fiance’s answers, it’s always good to check in and make sure you’re heading in the same direction.  So without further ado, the top three things to discuss with your fiancé before you get married are…

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1.  If, and when, you want to have kids.

Hello!  This is a big one!  The subject of children is definitely not an issue to think you can ‘sort out later’ or even change you partner’s mind about after the wedding.  Proverbs says ‘Hope deferred makes the heart sick’.  If one of you is longing to have children from the moment that ring is on the finger, and the other has a ten year plan to achieve first, there’s going to be a sick heart in the mix.  From there, discord, resentment and bitterness can grow and those are not attitudes that encourage a healthy marriage.  Agreeing on a clear plan together before you get married is the best way to harmonize your expectations.

Of course, you should always be prepared for surprises!


2.  The Little Story – What are your expectations of the day to day?

Chore division is not a sexy topic but let’s face it, it’s something that married couples deal with every single day. For. The. Rest. Of. Their. Lives.

A lot of times these expectations are measured by what we saw our parents do, as well as the culture we were brought up in.  For example, a guy who had a solo mum might have very different expectations to a man who had two live-in parents.  A girl raised in Europe might have a different vision to a girl raised in Sydney.

When I was growing up my father used to go around the house before he went to bed, closing and locking all the doors and windows.  I didn’t realize this was an expectation I had of a husband until I was first married and my new husband asked me to go and lock the back door as he climbed into bed.  The look on my face must have been priceless!  My husband had come from a family with a solo mum and so had seen her taking on all the jobs around the house.  To me, him locking the doors was a sign of love and protection.  To him, it was just another task.

So talk with your future spouse – does he/she expect a more traditional division of labour, or will you adopt a lifestyle with an equal share of jobs?

Marriage Wisdom Lying in the Grass


3.  The Big Story – Life Priorities

Talk about your long-term goals for life.  What have you always dreamed your future would look like?  Is there a cause that you are passionate about or a calling that you know you just have to fulfill?  Have you always hoped you’d travel the world or does your heart long to find a beautiful piece of country and live the simple life?

Are you equally yoked?  In ancient days they would attach two animals together with a large yoke in order to pull a plow across their fields.  To achieve their goal they had to use two oxen that were similar in strength, build and maturity.  If one was weaker than the other, or differed in size, it would be almost impossible to steer them in the right direction and it would also mean the stronger ox would carry more of the load, tiring more rapidly.

This isn’t to say that you need to get out your tape measure (!) however it is a great picture of how we should set ourselves up for the journey ahead.

Making sure your dreams, your capacity for growth and your calling are all headed in the same direction is a vital step in building a marriage that will flourish.

What are some other things that should be discussed before marriage?  Leave a note and let me know x

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