Friday, February 13, 2015

Relationship Tips from Every Stage: Single, Dating, Engaged, Married

It's almost Valentine's Day. This is the day where all the single people mope around and are depressed while all the couples rub it in the singles' faces that they're not cuddling up with someone on this day. 

The truth is, we are all at different stages in relationships... even if you aren't in one. Singleness is still a very valid stage of relationships to be in. Besides, we all start out that way. 

Anyway, I'm really excited to present this post to you all because it's a post that has actually been on my mind since about January of last year, but with my original plans for this post being much more complicated than how it was now, things fell through. HOWEVER, I was thankfully able to get this post together in time for Valentine's Day this year! 

So the premise of this post: I originally wanted to feature people from different stages of relationships (dating, engaged, married) and film their stories for my Youtube channel. Since I wasn't able to make that happen, I had to wait a whole year to do this, but this time I shifted it for my blog and instead of sharing whole stories (which I may still do another time), I decided to feature singles/couples and ask them to give their tips for relationships. 

Everyone has different experiences with relationships and I wanted to showcase that with real people. 

So you'll see below that I have people of different ages, ethnic backgrounds, and relationship statuses (btw, all non-bloggers except me, hehe) sharing something they've learned about relationships. I wanted to provide a little bit of their relationship background so that you can also get an idea of where they are coming from as well. I hope you read through these and enjoy (and hopefully learn) from what these people have to say. 


Dominique D, 20
Has never been in a relationship. 

"Appreciate the relationships you have with your friends and family and really focus on cultivating those. You're either single for a reason, in a relationship for a reason, or married for a reason, and I think that singleness in general is a great time to focus on the loved ones you have surrounding you."

Emma O'Brien, 21
Has previously been in a relationship.
"Instead of going out to look for the best person, be the best person. If you love yourself, you can love others more effectively, especially in romantic relationships. Don’t try to be a certain way or look a certain way for someone because they’re going to eventually find out, so just be yourself. "

Marc Ibarra, 24
Has previously been in relationships; has had one serious relationship.
"Really get to know a person before committing to a relationship. Just because you are attracted to each other, doesn't mean you're compatible. There HAS to be more good than bad, especially in the beginning." 


Jason Sebastian & Jennifer Smith, both late 20s/early 30s
Exclusively dating less than 1 month

Jason & Jen: "The key to success at the stage of dating: learn to pray together about all things and ask the right questions to get to know [them]. Savor every chance you have with [them] while putting God's plan first!"

Genevie Joco & Nick Isidro, 20 & early 20's
Dating over 3 years

Genevie: "Keep each other's opinion in consideration. And always appreciate one another!"

Nick: "Make time and space for yourself. Distance is key for a healthy relationship! Missing each other is always the best feeling!"

Kriselle Mendoza (me, of course) & Darell Gabriel, 20 & 22
Dating almost 5 years

Darell: "Respect the other person in every way, especially in the generation we live in, where things like sex are displayed everywhere we go even though that is one of the most sacred things we could ever share with someone. There is even more pressure on the guys to do this, but we need to step up and show these women the respect they deserve."

Kriselle (me): "Don't believe what you read or watch in movies where people say things like 'the right person for you will never hurt you/make you cry.' I think that's a fairytale myth that we all wish were true. 

If you are with someone, especially with the intention of forever, there is no way that you could live years and years with them and not fight or get hurt or cry. It's bound to happen. And that's okay. Hurt feelings or tears don't always mean that your relationship is headed south. Open and honest communication is the way to making sure that fights and tears don't tear your relationship down. They might actually make you both stronger."


Kaciny E. & Phil N, both 20
Together a total of 1 1/2 years
Engaged just over 2 weeks
Wedding date: May 7, 2016

Kaciny: "Don’t rely on someone else to complete you. Before Phil (who was actually my first boyfriend), I came to a place where I realized that it was very important to learn how to love and appreciate myself. I even got to the point where I was comfortable with the possibility of never dating anyone because I loved getting to know the woman I was becoming in Christ. And that made it all the better when Phil came alongside me, because rather than coming to complete me, he was able to appreciate the whole me."

Phil: "Don’t put off having the awkward conversations. Sex, faith, politics, etc. Those can be really unpleasant topics to have, and when you let it fester, it ends up being a lot more difficult to deal with. When something needs to be said, just say it. And if it’s love, then it’ll work. Because love is based foremost on respect."

Amy Cobarrubia & Ephraim Gratdula, both 26
Together a total of 10 years on & off
Engaged a month
Wedding date: August 9, 2015

Amy & Ephraim: "You need to put God in the center of your relationship and your own lives. And communication is key." 


Jonathon & Cyndi M, 23 & 25
Together a total of 3 years
Married just over 2 months
Not parents

Jonathon & Cyndi: "Keep date-night sacred. Sometimes time together is the first thing to go when things get busy but how you spend your time speaks to what you value. Spend it on each other!"

"Be each others biggest encourager not their biggest critic. Your voice and opinion carries a lot of weight to your spouse use it to build up and encourage not to tear down and critique!"

Matthew & Hilary Ansell, 26 & 23
Together a total of 5 years
Married 3 years
New parents to a baby girl!

Matt & Hilary: "Marriage is more than a commitment to each's more of a holy covenant between the couple and God. It's interesting the way relationships work...when your dating the sparks fly and the sexual tension and temptation is in the air especially because our current culture today is so sexually driven. 

We believe sex is made and designed by God but somehow we have so often settled for an artificial version of "love" when we don't do it God's way. It is undeniable that there is a real spiritual force at work in our lives, I'll name it Satan and our own sinful desires; that adds to the struggle of doing married things outside of the marriage bed. Then, on the flip side as you join together in the covenant of marriage, that same spiritual force is at work to pull you apart from the very person you promised "for better or for worse...for richer or sickness and in health." 

It's easier to bail out than work it out. So, our one tip to cultivating a great marriage is date your mate. Never stop dating each other. Keep the romance alive, keep the marriage bed holy and do it God's way because His way is the best way."

Lynn & Jaime Coulter, 52 & 51
Together a total of 33 years
Married 30 years
Parents to adult children, ages 24 (daughter) & 25 (son)

Lynn & Jaime: "Root yourself in God's plan for your life, Choose wisely.... Commit to Forever, and JUST DO IT!"

Lynn on her & Jaime's story: "Be unswerving in what you want out of marriage as you choose your mate, and as you grow in that relationship and move towards marriage with that person, and the Big Day comes..... "Just Do It!".

For us, meeting someone who is not only my best friend, but someone who is fully like-minded in their commitment to God, family, and to me is what has kept our marriage strong all these years. It was never an "optional choice" whether or not to stay as a couple "til death do us part".  It's rooting yourself first in God, learning about His plan for you and commuting to following that, and "living that out" into all you do in your marriage, family, friendships and your life together.

Take the time to grow your relationship every day both horizontally but also vertically with God, who is the One that will make it possible to follow through on this life-long relationship with so much joy and blessings in ways unimaginable and unexpected!

Sitting at dinner celebrating our 29th anniversary last year, we realized that, had we not chosen to follow God and on our promise to each other all these years, we would not be sitting there at Morton's Steakhouse, talking about our kids and their awesome accomplishments we've been able to witness together, their outstanding choice in relationships they have.... all these blessings that, for couples that don't stay together, never get
to experience! It's worth it!!

So.... 'Root yourself in God's plan for your life, Choose wisely.... Commit to Forever, and JUST DO IT'"


I know that Valentine's Day is either really awesome or terrible, but my heart for this post was to encourage everyone, taken or not, in their individual relationships and themselves. I hope that you were able to take something away from this post and I hope you enjoyed reading a little bit about these people that I know & am so blessed to know! 

With that being said, happy Valentine's day! Don't forget that whether or not you have someone to hold, you are loved :] 

Chau for now


  1. I enjoyed reading every single one of these entries, Kriselle~ I hope you continue the tradition! Good job! :)

  2. I can't tell you how much I adore this! And the married couple for 33 years look YOUNGER now! <3 <3 so much

  3. What a great post for this weekend! Really love all the advice and all the couples are darling.

  4. This is so great! Love it and I so appreciate the spectrum of relationships you represented. Well done!

  5. I enjoyed reading this. What an awesome idea!

  6. *tear* What a beautiful post with such good advice from all perspectives. Thank you for putting your time and effort into a post that's useful for all at whatever stage they're in. As a single gal, I've learned to truly grasp this season of singleness as a time to grow in my faith and strengthen my character. It was nice to see multiple people suggest developing yourself before getting in a relationship.Awesome post.
    Oh, and nice to meet a fellow Peony AND Southern Cali girl! I live near LAX. :)

  7. Thank you so much, Maggie! I really appreciate the encouragement!

  8. That is so great! I told the lady in the couple (she's my boss) about what you said and she's SO flattered! Thank you :]

  9. Thank you, Emily! I'm glad you enjoyed the post.

  10. Thank you, Liz! I had so much fun talking to all of these people and learning a little bit of their stories through this post. And when I write relationship posts, since most of mine are catered toward dating relationships, I like to include everyone in posts like this one because it's so important for people who are single especially to know that their singleness is not an issue and shouldn't be an issue for anyone around them.

    And yay! I really want to connect with more local bloggers in person this year! I live in Orange County not too far from South Coast Plaza :]

  11. Very cool! (I'm jealous you live next to my favorite mall, btw.) I'm hoping to host a So Cal blogger meet up one day. Would you come if I ever get it together?! haha

  12. I am SO sorry for the late reply! But yes I definitely would!

  13. These stories are all so great! Each one made me think about how I've felt at each stage of my life...and how I'll feel when I'm married in 6 months! I love this idea, and love the way you executed it!


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