Happy Valentine’s Day, friend! <3
This day used to mean a lot of anticipation and then usually disappointment because my made up expectations weren’t met. I think I’ll always have some sort of expectation, but I’ve tried to let it go as much as possible.
The strength and value of your relationship isn’t determined by one day. If you happen to be single (I hope you already know this, but here’s a reminder in case…) your value is not determined by your relationship status. You can be a whole, healthy, happy person as you are — significant other or not.
I thought a relationship Q&A would be a fun way to celebrate! You may be one of my close friends, a family member, or a total stranger. No matter our connection, I hope you enjoy and leave feeling a bit more inspired! Keep reading to learn more about me and my husband, Eric.
1. How did you meet?
Eric and I met in 8th grade at East Millbrook Magnet Middle School. That was 2006, so that means we’ve known each other for 13 years. Wow! It’s reassuring to me that we met in that timeframe because is anyone more awkward or unhappy with how they look than a middle schooler?? It was a challenging time, but we got through it. Started from the bottom…
2. How long have you been together?
Our relationship was founded on a solid friendship. We dated briefly the summer after our senior year of high school, but that fell apart when he went away for the remainder of the summer. I continued to date other people and he went back to his long time girlfriend. But we remained friends and innocently would grab dinner whenever he was in town.
2013 started my senior year of college and that’s when our friendship started to shift into a relationship. He won me over with many, many dates at El Cerro. I guess the way to this college girl’s heart was queso and pitchers of margaritas — it worked. We began officially dating November 2013. We made the transition from “friend Eric” to “boyfriend Eric.”
The transition to “fiance Eric” came a few years later. Eric proposed to me on a beach in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic in August 2015. I almost ruined his surprise, but I’m so glad I was willing to get my feet sandy before our dinner plans. If you want the juicy details, you can read all about it here.
We got married on July 9, 2016. It’s my favorite day yet! It was an absolute blur, but we were surrounded by so much joy and support. Planning a wedding was no small feat (we were seriously considering an elopement about a month out from the big day), but it was incredible and more than I had ever dreamed of!
3. How did you know he was “the one”?
I knew I could really see a future with him before we were even officially together. We had plans to go to church and then to the NC State Fair. What he didn’t know was that I roped us into an event at church following the service that lasted longer than anticipated. I’m sure it wrecked his plans, but he barely even batted an eye. Had the roles been reversed, I would have freaked out!
I knew him pretty well before we were an “item,” but the more I learned about him and his character, the more I felt safe and sure. We didn’t agree on everything (and we certainly still don’t), but we agreed on the things that matter most of us: faith, family, travel, good food.
4. Do you want kids?
This question comes up so much after you get married. “When are you having babies??” I don’t like to ask others because it can be a very sensitive topic, but I’m happy to answer it here.
We definitely want kids one day! Ideally one boy, one girl. But of course we will joyfully love any baby God blesses us with. In the meantime, we have our crazy girl, Stella. She has taught us a lot about “parenting” and how to work together to keep another being alive and well. When the time comes, I know that Eric will be an incredible father and I can’t wait to be a momma! Although, we’re totally okay if that timing is a little ways out.
5. What’s your favorite thing about him?
Eric balances me out very well. It drives me crazy sometimes that he doesn’t think and act exactly like I do, but thank goodness he doesn’t!
Eric is the hardest working person I know. He never complains about his crazy work hours and he’s always thinking of ways to maximize money making on his time off. He takes his lazy mornings very seriously, but I’ll give him that since he busts his butt while he’s up.
6. What is the best part about marriage?
The best part about marriage is having someone to do life with.
I love that no matter what happens in my day — good or bad — I have someone there that will celebrate a victory or help console a loss.
I love that we are a team. He’s always been supportive of my ideas and goals. He pushes me to try new things and helps me however he can to achieve what I’m striving for. He makes a great life partner!
7. What is a challenging part about marriage?
A challenging part of marriage is merging two lives into one functioning, peaceful household. We each have our own way of doing things. We have different definitions of “clean.” We like to start our days differently. There’s lot of compromise, learning, and patience.
Marriage requires effort and intentionality. We don’t always feel like putting in those things. We get tired, annoyed, frustrated, hurt. But at the end of the day it’s us.
8. What has your marriage taught you?
Marriage has taught me how to put someone else’s needs above my own. I would say I’m an average level of selfish. I’m not the worst, but I’m not the best. If I want to do it well, marriage forces me to think and act selflessly.
How can I make his day easier? How can I make this situation better? Is there something I can do or say to bring him joy? It’s the little things that make the difference. These thought patterns help me to be more selfless and compassionate in my other relationships too.
9. How do you grow in your marriage?
I strive to grow a little bit everyday. We’re going on three years of marriage this July, so we still have a ton to learn, but I feel like we’ve learned a lot already too.
I look to people that are doing marriage well and listen to their advice. We are so blessed to live in a world of free access to amazing content: podcasts, YouTube videos, Google searches, blogs, etc. We also enjoy spending time with other married couples. I believe in the power of community.
As with most other things in life, you never “arrive” in terms of a good marriage. You also won’t wake up one day with the marriage of your dreams if you aren’t willing to put in the work alongside with your spouse.
We pray, we spend time in community, we spend time together, we learn, we laugh. We do our best to love well and make improvements little by little.
10. What advice do you have for single/dating/engaged friends?
Single friends: You don’t need to wait for a special someone for your life to begin. I used to think having someone would complete me and make me happy. Truth is that I complete myself and my happiness is up to me. Another person cannot fulfill you — that is way too much pressure and power to put on another human being. Be whole and happy in who you are. Trust that your life is working out exactly the way it was planned if you keep doing your next right thing.
Dating friends: If anything feels out of alignment in your relationship, you’re probably right. Trust your gut and your heart. Marriage will not solve any problems, it will only magnify them. Love your person well and start practicing selflessness. Don’t be afraid of deep discussions. Ask the deep questions. Enjoy each other’s company and start cultivating rhythms in your relationship.
Engaged friends: Savor this season. It goes by in a blink. I know you’re probably stressed out and just ready for the day to be here already. The time will pass, so soak it up. Keep in mind what’s truly important and let everything else go. If you’re doing the big wedding day like I did, you won’t even notice if something doesn’t go according to plan. You’ll be too busy dancing the night away and pinching yourself to make sure it’s real. During your reception, take a moment to step back from all the excitement and action to look around the room with your new spouse. Take a mental picture and thank God for this blessing. The adventure is just beginning.
I feel like I’m just getting started with this content, but first I’d love to hear your thoughts. Are there other questions you have that I didn’t answer?
What’s your best piece of relationship advice?