After four years of marriage, Brandon and Stephanie Matias wouldn't consider themselves marriage "experts," but they have learned how to laugh through the hard times, which has been a theme in their viral YouTube skits.
"We do realize that marriage is something you have to work for every single day," Stephanie said.
It was only a month ago that Brandon and Stephanie had the idea to film their own skit portraying the real-life situations that happen in most marriages whether in the car, while watching sports or at the grocery store.
"We were kind of like, hey, we have this funny idea and we think a lot of people will be able to relate so we're just going to put it on Facebook and YouTube and kind of see how people take it," Brandon said.
The channel "Modern Marriage Moments" became official after Brandon and Stephanie received an overwhelming response to their first skit, "Stages of a car fight" which has more than 15,000 views on YouTube and was featured on many social media sites such as "GodTube" and "GodVine."
Each skit demonstrates a slightly exaggerated moment in which many married couples often find themselves. In the first episode, Brandon and Stephanie acted out small disagreements in the car such as which way is the fastest, getting lost and who's the safest driver. The video then shows that after several minutes of silence, the couple apologizes, forgives each other, and moves on to singing songs together.
"We all want ideal marriages, but that's not always the reality," Stephanie said. "It's so helpful when you know that other people argue about solving something with their spouse, too. It kind of normalizes it a bit and allows you to look at it and laugh at it and then just move past it, and continue to encourage your spouse as well as other couples in their marriage. That what we all need. We just need a healthy dose of encouragement."
Brandon and Stephanie have previously participated in acting, Stephanie with theater and Brandon with sketch comedy for youth programs at their church, Joy Church International. But neither thought that their simple video would go anywhere.
"Our pastor, he’s very big on humor and he believes that the quickest line between one person to another during a heart-to-heart is humor because humor breaks down walls," Brandon said. "We feel that by bringing humor into it that we can better help and really encourage people and give them a light in sometimes heavy and dark situations."
Before filming each episode, Brandon and Stephanie pray for support and guidance that they can create something that could help influence other couples in their marriage.
"I think that's kind of been our mission, to really show people the real-life moment," Brandon said.
"One thing that Stephanie and I do in real life, is we try to forgive each other as quickly as we can, just to not hold a grudge. And I think we showed that in our stages of a car fight video because that's really what happens in our real life. We're like, 'OK, we messed up. We see what we did wrong, and lets just move on and go right on to the next thing.' I think that's a very important aspect that we've tried to show."
Stephanie also said that they have received several comments where viewers suggest such quick forgiveness is impossible and never happens, but the Matias' hope they can share just how important this has been for them in their marriage.
"Every time we argue we apologize, and if I say 'I'm sorry,' Brandon doesn't say, 'It's OK.' We purposely say, 'I forgive you' to truly embrace what forgiveness means," Stephanie said. "So people have said 'that's not what really happens,' but I hope that by the video they are inspired that that can happen, that they just have to choose to make that their response."
Brandon and Stephanie, both originally from Columbus, Ohio, currently reside in Nashville, Tenn., where they both work. For them, their YouTube channel has provided an opportunity to not only demonstrate their own marriage practices, but it has allowed them to share the importance of marriage with people from all over the world as well.
"It's been very overwhelming," Stephanie said. "We're reaching a market that we never could before, and maybe even people who aren't Christians."
After filming several episodes, Stephanie expressed how they both now think of their YouTube channel during their own personal disagreements.
"Every couple has a different way they communicate with each other, and when Brandon and I are having a heated moment we typically aren't the type of people to argue and get really loud with each other," Stephanie said.
"But it has helped us learn how to laugh in our disagreements when we step back even further and realize that we can make a video about it. It's probably something very petty in the grand scheme of things."
Brandon also acknowledged how their YouTube channel has had an effect on their own marriage.
"It’s just so amazing that we can make a positive impact on other people while we’re making a positive impact on our marriage," Brandon said. "I think really what we're trying to capture is where it's like OK, I know that you can't look outside yourself when you're in the moment, but it's just hilarious. And obviously we've seen that a lot of people have been able to relate to that, and that's been great."
Brandon and Stephanie have received many ideas and love reading through the comments to see what others suggest they act out next. Even though they have a list full of their own ideas, the couple explained that they want to portray lots of different marriage situations, not just their own.
While marriage has been depicted both positively and negatively throughout television and movies, Brandon and Stephanie are happy to promote their own beliefs through their YouTube channel about the importance of marriage and the commitment that it takes.
"We decided when we got married that no matter what happens that we were in it for life, and that we were in it together and that we were going to be partners that got through any challenge that presented itself," Stephanie said.
"We realized that love is not an emotion, love is a choice and everyday you wake up you have to choose to love one another, and consider how you might perform acts each day to show that love."
Ultimately, Brandon expressed that they hope to encourage others to keep on trying.
"One of the goals is to show that even though we go through these moments, which everybody does, that there's still hope and that there's still a way to stay together and work it out," Brandon said.
Brandon and Stephanie post a new video every Monday on their YouTube channel.
Copyright 2016, Deseret News Publishing Company