Tips to a Thriving Marriage & Stories on our 20th Anniversary

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Episode Summary

Cherishing your spouse and striving for a healthy marriage is the greatest gift you can give your children. Your marriage has a direct impact on your kid’s lives. Tune in as we share tips for a thriving marriage and stories from our last 20 years of marriage.

Today we want to encourage you guys and your marriages with some of the things we have learned along the way from our mentors, and how we have made mistakes, and the highlights in our marriage over the past twenty years!

Tips to a Thriving Marriage & Stories on our 20th Anniversary

  1. Have Mentors
  2. Educational Choices
  3. Travel Together
  4. Do Projects Together

We just had our 20th anniversary and we had an amazing two days together by ourselves and while we were gone we talked about how intertwined marriage and parenting is.

Your parenting is one hundred percent affected by how much you are in alignment with your spouse!

The best gift you can give your kids is a strong, thriving, God-centered marriage!

We remember when we were first getting married that people were telling us that the first year was going to be terrible! We were determined not to let that happen we were motivated more than ever to have an amazing first year because of what we were being told!

We want to encourage you that if you are going to a wedding, don’t impose your bad experience on somebody else thinking that everybody has a bad first year! Because we did not have a bad first year! 

We are not saying that we didn’t have hard things happen. We got pregnant four months into our marriage which was a blessing but made Angie super sick. Finances were crazy tight, we had a fold-up table as our dining room table. We were investing in our business and decided to hold back and not spend when it wasn’t needed in order to save as much as possible. 

Our original plan when we first got married was to wait two years to get pregnant and we weren’t going to have a big family.

(Isaac share his regrets about work and priorities, listen to episode #41 to hear the story)

When we were first married we were eager and looking for marriage mentors who could disciple us biblically and we were very blessed to find those.

1. Have Mentors

  • Have mentors. Someone who has gone down the road you want to go down and has experience. Someone who can teach you and disciple you. Pastors are great for this but only if they are willing to give you the time. We are not talking about someone that you just go and get coffee with every once in a while, this should be someone you look up to, who will hold you accountable, lead you, and care for you. 
  • When you ask someone to be your mentor you first need to take a look at the fruit in their life. 
  • If you can say “I want my marriage to look like their marriage” or “I want my kids to be like their kids” then they are the kind of person that you should want to be discipled by. If you can’t say that, they are probably not the right person. 
  • (Isaac shares about his past with business mentors and what to avoid, listen to episode #41 for full story)
  • You are probably wondering how to find these people. Well, that is your responsibility. You need to first ask God for them and then put yourself where the eagles fly! You need to surround yourself with biblical people who have evidence of good fruit and have a purpose in their lives. 
  • If you are looking for a mentor it is your responsibility to reach out. It’s not the mentor’s responsibility. However, it does say in Titus 2:1-5 that the older women should teach the younger women and the older men should teach the younger men. If you don’t know this scripture then you need to go read Titus chapter 2.
  • Men, on the topic of working hard and hustling in the beginning, just remember that even though kids won’t remember very much when they are young they are still being internally formed by their surroundings and your influence or rather your lack of influence. 


2. Educational Choices

  • (We share how our experiences with public school and why we decided to homeschool, listen to episode #41 for the full story)
  • As far as education goes with our children, we decided to homeschool and the decision to homeschool has been an incredible and tough road. 
  • (Angie shares worries she had with homeschooling and how at the end of the day homeschooling was the right choice) 
  • There are a lot of reasons why you would feel incapable;e of homeschooling, we have struggled with them too! Every year with homeschooling is a new year that you get to do something new which can be daunting! It requires vision, you have to choose a curriculum there are all kinds of things! 
  • We tried to do a public school! It did not go well. We were not seeing good fruit coming from it. 
  • (listen to episode 35 on reasons why we homeschool)
  • We had a vision for our family. We wanted them to be believers (of course we can’t ever guarantee that but making good choices will affect your children) we wanted them to have great marriages, we wanted them to have families and be devoted to them, we wanted to enjoy our children and we wanted them to enjoy each other. And homeschooling has allowed us to manage our kids well and disciple them in the way they should go. 
  • Husbands, you need to encourage and believe in your wife if you want homeschooling to work! 
  • (Isaac shares his worries with homeschooling and how he was against it at first, listen to episode #41 for full story)
  • Homeschooling has played a huge part in our lives over the past twenty years. It truly is a lifestyle, when you decide to homeschool it drastically alters your lifestyle! And in a good way, it frees you up for so many things and provides incredible flexibility. 



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3. Travel Together

  • When we had five kids under eight years old we discovered that it is incredibly hard to travel!
  • When Kelsey was a baby we would fly when we traveled and it was no big deal but once we had four kids it was so hard! We would pack our car leaving barely any space to fit and then drive to our destination and rent a house or hotel. 
  • If you have ever traveled with young kids you know the struggle. The stops would double the travel time! Bathroom breaks, food breaks, nursing, sleeping, etc. it’s insane! 
  • So while traveling was doable it was rough. And then when our family kept growing we came across other problems such as occupancy laws or fire codes which prevented you from renting a house or forced you to get two hotel rooms! 
  • Our family kept growing and at the time God had been blessing us with financial abundance. 
  • All things to consider, we decided to but a thirty-nine foot RV.
  • The RV has solved all of the problems. Kids sleep, eat, play and go to the bathroom while we drive! We don’t have to rent a hotel or house, we don’t have to worry about being denied because of the size of our family and we are all together. 
  • And praise God that we managed to keep the RV all these years even through our financial struggles! It became a way to support our family when our business failed! We rented it out and it brought in a decent amount of money that supported us. 
  • (we share scary and exciting stories about traveling with the RV, listen to episode #41)
  • We encourage you to go to places and travel!
  • For the first 14 years we were married we were able to travel together to some incredible places, and the memories we have from traveling together are just so valuable to us!
  • Now, of course, you need to be mindful of your budget but even then we encourage you to get a loan if you have to and experience things together as a couple!


4. Do Projects Together

  • A lot of people will say stuff like, the worst thing you can do is remodel a house together but we did it and it helped our marriage and it was fun! 
  • When we do things together we understand that we will have to grow because doing things together reveals things that need to change and possible relationship issues. But that is the point. If you have the right mindset and are ready to grow when you need to grow then it’s amazing. A lot of people probably don’t enjoy the things we do because they don’t want to grow and don’t want to deal with things. 
  • If you approach something together with the wrong perspective and you aren’t prepared to put God and His will above your own then it could be detrimental to your marriage, but in our case, it has always helped our marriage. 
  • Traveling in our early years of marriage and the things we saw and experienced inspired us to plant a vineyard. 
  • A great tip for you guys is to be humble. Pride will kill your marriage. We understand, yes it’s hard in the moment to admit when you are wrong but it just doesn’t matter who is right or wrong. And once you can admit things it just feels so good. 
  • It’s important to remember who the enemy is. The enemy is not your spouse! The enemy wants you and your spouse to conflict and when you turn on one another you are completing the devil’s work!
  • So the project we did was remodel a forty-two hundred square foot house with a vineyard next to it, it was gorgeous and super fun!
  • The vineyard was a ton of work! Our main goal in planting a vineyard was to have a family project. We wanted to do something with the family that would teach our kids work ethic. We had to water, prune and harvest. 
  • Maybe you should think of things you can do as a family. It does not need to be as big of a thing as our vineyard was but kids don’t just learn work ethic overnight it takes time and consistency. 
  • Your marriage is more precious than anything! The most valuable tip we can give is to not let anything come in between you and your marriage. Not money, business, job offer, nothing. It needs to be your second highest priority. God, marriage, kids. 

Final Thoughts:

You need to be protective of your marriage. If anyone is trying to come in between your marriage, if they ever talk bad about your spouse you can’t spend time with them anymore, it is not a healthy relationship. If work is coming in between your marriage then you need to evaluate whether it is the right place for you to be.

In a marriage, God has given you different gifts for your marriage and the body of Christ, and no one knows you better than your spouse, it is so important to call out the gifts in your spouse. We would not be who we are today if it weren’t for each other. We all have blind spots and we all need to be encouraged in who we are in Christ. 

It’s in the tough times when we became stronger and closer as a family because we were placing God at the center of it all and we were not taking credit for the good times. 

Nourish your marriage. It can be incredible it can have such a huge impact on the world and it is the catalyst for impacting your kids and their greatest example. 

We hope this has encouraged you and if it has please leave us a comment and share the podcast!

See you next time!


Scripture In This Episode: 

Titus 2:1-5 –But as for you, speak the things which are proper for sound doctrine:  that the older men be sober, reverent, temperate, sound in faith, in love, in patience; the older women likewise, that they be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things— that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed.”


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Written By Angie Tolpin
Angie has been married to Isaac for 19 years and together they have eight children, whom she homeschools. She is the Founder of, a doula, the author of the best-selling book Redeeming Childbirth, and the creator of the first ever Christian Postpartum Course. Angie loves ministering to Women and has created a few online Bible Studies on Biblical Friendship and Motherhood.

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