June 4, 2015

It’s in the Little Things

There’s this thing that you should know about my husband…he’s kind of one of the best people on the planet. No, really. He is. It’s actually a little intimidating sometimes. To live with someone who just is that good to people all the time…it’s such a humbling reminder of all the places I need to step up my own “being a good human” game.

Justin just serves and watches out for people and builds up everyone around him. He sees people…and he makes them feel seen. He listens more than he talks. He never has to be the first or the loudest or the one getting all the praise. And yet in most groups, he is usually the most talented person at the table.


But the thing is, he never lets that go to his heart. And I love looking around in a big group and seeing that it’s my husband who is the one making sure everyone else feels taken care of. That he is the best & truest kind of leader because he leads by first kneeling down to serve. And that he makes such a big difference in the world just by how he treats people in the little things. I always say that this man loves more like Jesus than any person I’ve ever met, and he does it just by who he is. Here are just a few of my favorite things that I’ve learned by watching him.

1. Call people by name. We are about to begin our next BIG round of renovations on the #marantzhouseproject and we have no less than four different contractor teams working on different projects. Justin knows every single one of them by name, and he could tell you most of their stories. He sees people and he makes them feel seen.

2. Treat people like people. To go along with that, it doesn’t matter if it’s the CEO of our contracting companies in a nice suit or the guy covered in dirt because he was hired to dig up the back yard, Justin treats them all just the same. As the daughter of someone who was always covered in dirt, that means the world to me. When I see him out in the backyard laughing with those guys, looking them in the eye, putting a hand on their shoulder to thank them for a job well done…I’m here to tell you, I fall in love with him all over again.

3. Serve the people who serve you. We were once at a wedding where we heard a bridesmaid say something to the bride (about one of the other vendors) to the effect of, “You’re paying them, you can talk to them however you want.” I’m not sure she realized how much that one sentence spoke volumes about her. And on the flip side, when I see Justin bring waters or grab lunch for the crew, when he grabs cokes for all the people we’re working a wedding with, when I see him speak kindly to everyone he meets, even though he speaks quietly….it shouts volumes about the amazing person he is.

4. Ask questions. Every place we go, every wedding we shoot, Justin makes new friends. If I can’t find him at a wedding, you can bet that he’ll be talking to the father of the bride or an uncle or a guest with a camera. And he does it by asking questions. By caring more about their story than his. By being genuinely interested. By seeking to make an impact not an impression.

5. Smile. Justin smiles more than almost anyone I know. And that’s so great because he has the BEST smile out there. When he does that, people feel safe, they feel welcome, they feel cared about, and they feel like an equal. And they are 1000% more likely to listen to what he has to say because his face tells them he is someone worth listening to.

So here’s to being better humans! And to my Justin…I truly am the lucky one.

  1. sharon elizabeth

    EVERYTHING you said about J is SO true… and those are also things that i love about YOU… so i think your ‘being a better human being’ task should already be checked off!!!! i also REALLY love how much you two love each other and how much you respect and appreciate one another.. we need more of THAT in this world… and in marriages <3

  2. Sarah Anne Hayes

    I love everything about this. I haven’t met you or Justin in person yet (but I will this fall!!) and I already so love both of you, your hearts for people and for the Lord. This is such a sweet post and makes me even more excited to meet you both. :)

  3. Cat Neumayr

    Amen! Based on the time I have spent with Justin, I can nod my head to each of these statements! You both are a rare variety of genuine people. As I tell people anytime I hear J&M come up in conversation, “Justin & Mary are the real deal!” xoxo

  4. Dan Marantz

    That’s my boy!!! We’re pretty proud of him too.

  5. Dennis Bullock

    So true guys. Love this!

  6. Rici

    Dearest Mary! I love your personal stories! Thank you for letting us see some of your heart & love! I loved how you let Jesus shine through & I wonder how you met him anew in the last weeks / months, since this is something you have mentioned. ;) As in a new joinery. I love it!!!
    Serving with kneeling down is the true humble heart. So wonderful! Much love & warm greetings from Germany. PS, would love to see you again one day & chat with some time at hand. On a porch maybe ;)

  7. Christy Tyler

    I honestly think Justin and James are the same person. All of those points you listed are exactly why I love James so much (and why everyone who meets him loves him too)! LOVE!

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