Chip and Joanna Gaines arguably have the strongest marriage in Hollywood these days. Their marriage advice is much like they are: down to earth and focused, with a side of cheesy.
So much of marriage in TV shows is portrayed as dramatic, contentious, and basically a downright drag. From reality TV to sitcoms, the message seems to be marriages don’t last– the guys are dumb and unfaithful, the wives nag and complain.
Enter Chip and Joanna Gaines.
I actually first checked out Fixer Upper last year when I kept hearing that Chip and Joanna Gaines have the best marriage on TV. Most people I think watch the show for the home renovations, but I keep watching because seeing a couple laugh together, support each other and just like each other all with four young kids and a prime-time TV show (not to mention a farm and a multi-faceted company) is like balm to my marriage-loving soul.
Yes, they do come with a strong side of cheese, but cheesy or not if a couple is highlighting the pros of marriage, diminishing the cons and having fun while doing it- I’ll take it!
Here’s some marriage advice you can’t help but glean from watching their show, Fixer Upper:
Have Fun Together!
You may think it would be difficult to NOT have fun with Chip Gaines. I mean the man could give the Three Stooges a run for their money.
[pic of 3 stooges- “Chip is that you?]
But I’m not so sure. Particularly given Joanna’s personality. In her own words,
“I was a safe, overprotected child and Chip was kind of this rowdy, risky guy. If you can imagine those two worlds colliding, it was very interesting, but we could somehow figure out a way to make that work and have fun with it.”
You can tell in those coming-down-to-the-wire moments of the show that rolling with the flow doesn’t come as naturally to Joanna as it does with Chip. I could definitely imagine that living with one of the Stooges would be trying at times. But she totally takes it in stride.
She laughs when he wrecks his new van into a forklift, playfully shrugs when he falls through the floor and is impressively flirty even when he drips his sweat on her (which is every episode).
They surprise each other. They make it contagious the way they like to have fun together.
Play on Each Others Strengths
The way Chip and Joanna let each other do what they do best without micro-managing is actually a lesson we could each learn from. Chip does the construction, he leads the crew and lightens the mood. Joanna manages all the designing and provides vision. Chip hates calling people to ask for more money, so Joanna steps in.
I’m sure many situations arise when they could step on each others toes. I bet in the beginning when they first started flipping houses together there were kinks to work out, disagreements and they were probably tempted to micro-manage the other one’s tasks. But they seem to flow together so well now, allowing each other the freedom to do their thing.
Chip explains there was a learning curve.
“When I learned how to embrace Joanna for who she is and really support her all the way, I feel like that was a real light bulb moment for me in my relationship with her . . . As I really enveloped this concept of I’m going to support her, and love her, and fight for her regardless, I feel like that opened [her] heart to be able to reciprocate.”
Learn to Laugh at the Non-Strengths
If you play on each others strengths, you are sure to notice some non-strengths along the way. What to do with those? You could let them annoy you, you could try to “fix” them, or you could take a page out of Chip and Joanna’s book and learn to laugh when those weaknesses show up.
Some could see Chip’s immaturity as a flaw, but Joanna flips it on its head,
“He’s got this energy like an 8-year-old boy … it’s what keeps things interesting around here. And I think that’s what makes him such a great dad.” — Joanna
There are little buds of blessing in our spouse’s flaws- see them, embrace them for how they make your spouse your spouse.
Compliment Each Other Without Abandon
This is really where Chip and Joanna shine. Sprinkled throughout every single episode of Fixer Upper are compliments from Chip to Joanna and Joanna to Chip. It’s really what makes their relationship unbreakable.
“Who won in life? Me. Because I got to marry you.” — Chip
“I knew when I married the guy it was going to be an adventurous life. And it hasn’t been boring yet.” — Joanna
“Only my wife could pull off the bee suit. She looks like a freakin’ supermodel.” — Chip
“I love it when JoJo walks into a room … because you’re just the most beautiful woman in the room.” — Chip
Hear Each Other Out
It is not uncommon in the show for Chip to ask Joanna to do something or vice versa. What is impressive is that they never groan or give the silent treatment or offer a sassy response (its not uncommon for my husband to ask me to do something either, but sadly it is common for me to offer one of these responses). They take it in stride and hear each other out.
Blogger Jessica Smart from Smarter Each Day noticed the same thing,
“One time Joanna was in “crunch mode” putting finishing touches on a home. Chip stops by to drop off dinner, and says to her pointedly, “You need to hug your babies.” It was the kind of tone where I’d be tempted to respond (to him and the 2.2 million viewers watching): I WAS GOING TO! Chill out! But she shows no offense. “Yes. I need to hug my babies.” Weird how one little passing exchange struck such a chord in me. But it did. I hope I accept criticism so gracefully.”
Thank you Chip and Joanna Gaines for inspiring our homes and our hearts. Team Gaines all the way.