Meet the lovely Rebecca Blackwell, Marriage and Relationship Coach/Relationship Programs Director with The Relationship Foundation of Virginia. She is here to tell us all about how to manage a less stressful start to your marriage, and how they help guide you through the steps.
If you care to share, how did you get to where you are now? Long story but I always had a passion for marriage and family. When my husband and I had our first child, my dad told me, “It was the two of you before the three of you.” and that started the ball rolling. We began working in marriage ministry in our church, and I began volunteering as a program facilitator and board member with First Things First which is now Relationship Foundation, continued to do marriage and relationship education while raising my family and, after a few years with another nonprofit, I started my own relationship coaching business. Then, during the pandemic, more couples were reaching out to RFVA for help with their marriages, and I joined the staff in January 2021.
What makes you or your business stand out and why should a couple hire you? The wedding day is an amazing day and you put a lot of planning into the event so you will remember it for a lifetime! We help couples get started on a strong path to a lifelong marriage while discussing fun and challenging topics of being in a relationship together. The wedding planning process can be stressful and we help couples work through stress, communication, problem-solving, and more. Our coaching program is the most affordable around and for only $125, the couple gets 4 sessions and the materials to get off to a strong start. This can even be given to a couple as a wedding gift as coaching is effective in all stages of relationships. Dating, premarital, within the first year, when you have your first fight, when you have children, move, have job challenges, approach the empty nest, blend families, etc. Many people are not getting married in churches and do not have access to premarital coaching – we are a resource for any and all couples looking for relationship tools and resources for marriage satisfaction.
What’s your favorite thing about working in the wedding industry? Watching and listening to the hopes and dreams of couples realized as they embark on a new journey. Research shows that all people want to be in a happy and healthy relationship in life, we weren’t meant to do life alone. When you have found that special someone to do life with, it makes sense to enjoy the ride and we help make the ride more enjoyable for years to come!
What’s a unique tip you tell your couples? You’re on the same team! It’s We over Me. Communication is KEY and listening to understand is the strongest tool in your tool belt.
What’s your favorite family tradition? On Christmas Eve we all circle up and read Twas the Night Before Christmas – our kids are all young adults now and we still do this together and have included grandparents when they are with us on Christmas Eve.
What’s your favorite moment during a wedding? The couples first dance. They made it through the ceremony and their life together as a married couple can officially begin!
How do you de-stress? I listen to music, read, go for a walk, or pet my dog or cat.
What would your perfect Saturday be like? Going for a walk with my husband, getting coffee or going to a farmers market on the way home, and enjoying time relaxing together.
What’s a fun or unusual fact about you? I was the state gymnastics champion for my age group and level when I was in high school (a LONG time ago!) and I coached my older daughter for a while as well.
What’s the coolest thing you’re working on now? Working with the Fatherhood Foundation (we are connected) to help engage the men in relationships to be more engaged with their wives or girlfriends. I also am working on date night ideas that couples can do on their own or as a coordinated activity with RFVA. It’s all about being Playful, Proactive, Purpose Driven, and Practical in our relationships and marriages. We will soon start planning a week of activities around Valentines 2023!
Do you love to travel? If so, what are some must-see destinations? Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs. The Edinburgh Castle in Scotland.
Do you have a pet? If so, what’s their name and what are they like? Cat named Ben and a dog named Bailey – Ben is a talker and loves to get on my stomach when I get in bed at night for about 3-5 minutes, then jumps off and goes to lay on my husbands side of the bed. Bailey is an aging beagle/lab mix who can catch squirrels so we have to bang on the glass before letting her out in the yard.
What’s your best piece of advice for couples planning a wedding? Make sure you understand each other’s decisions and thoughts when planning the wedding. You both have ideas and expectations and you need to be able to share them with each other and not feel like your opinion doesn’t matter. Know what you want and why it matters to you and share that with each other.
Reach out to Rebecca for more info!