Thursday, September 21, 2017

Marriage Q&A + 1st Year Photos

Hi friends! Thanks for sticking around through this wedding / anniversary week series. I hope some of you are finding it fun and maybe even helpful, if you're a bride-to-be!
A month or so ago, we were in California visiting my family and we brought our little Lincoln (who has already grown SO much since these pictures!) so I thought it'd be the perfect opportunity for some family pictures to celebrate our one year anniversary and puppy! My sweet friend, Danyelle, who I met at The Bloom Workshop when she attended last April, took these pictures which I'll always adore.

Sprinkled in with these pictures are a bunch of marriage and relationship questions that I've been getting from readers over the past my husband and I answered them together. If you're new here, I have to husband's name is McCann. We know, Michaela + McCann is quite ridiculous ;) No, we did not have M+M's as our favor at our wedding! And rest assured, our children's names will NOT start with a M's. His first name given at birth is actually Joseph (his late father's name), but he's always gone by his middle name, which is McCann. We get comments and questions about our names a lot...and made fun of often, too. We know it's funny and pretty weird. So there's that! ;)

Hope you enjoy the Q&A's and the pictures!

Most used wedding gift?
Probably our "tidbit" plates! They are small plates that are great for apps and desserts or my english muffin with peanut butter, every single morning.
Favorite activity on honeymoon to Maui?

McCann: catamaran and snorkling
Michaela: zip lining and the luau 

Favorite date night summer / winter version:
From McCann: one of our go-to dates that we both really enjoy is mini-golfing. I’m what you might call a “closet competitor” in that I’m not very vocal about my competitiveness, but I truly hate losing in anything. Although Michaela finds a way to get a couple of hole-in-ones during the round, I usually am the one that ends up with the better score at the end of it all  ;) We always have a lot of fun on these types of dates and find ourselves laughing at each other about really goofy stuff.
Michaela: in the winter, we like bowling...ha! He also kindly smokes me at this sport ;) We also love a dinner and movie date night anytime of year.

What are the two love languages you two have and are they the same/different?

Michaela: My love languages are words of affirmation and gifts. McCann's are words of affirmation and physical touch. Thankfully we have one in common! We both have a desire to feel needed and appreciated by the other one, so we try to offer words of affirmation often. We could definitely be better about this, especially in busy and hard seasons of life where we feel stuck in a rut. It's easy to forget such a simple, yet profound way to love your partner! For my second love language of gifts, I don't need anything fancy or expensive. In fact, my favorite thing ever is handwritten notes. A simple "good morning, I love you!" note on my dresser is enough to make me feel like the luckiest wife! This is not something that comes natural to McCann, so when he takes the time to do this, it means that much more. Some other simple gifts he's gotten me over the year we've been married have been a sweatshirt hoodie he liked for me (he always joked I didn't own a hoodie before that, which would be true!), a vinyl record of Hilary Scott's album (such soothing songs and this was my first record), and a charcoal face mask he heard me talking about (he ordered it on Amazon and told me a package was coming in the mail for me the day it was set to arrive). All of these things so such thoughtfulness and that's what's at the heart of "gifts". Gifts is the way I show love to people as well-- I loveee picking out presents for friends and family. And cards! Don't even get me started with cute cards. 

Where McCann had to learn, and is still learning, how to love me with gifts, I have had to learn how to love him better with physical touch. Don't worry, the blog is staying PG ;) All I'm saying is some people are more touchy and cuddly than others, and I'm just not one of those people naturally. When I'm tired, I want to curl up on my side of the bed, hug my pillow and drift to sleep. I don't love snuggling...I know, it's crazy. BUT I've had to learn that one of the ways my husband receives love is through touch, so I try to grab his hand when we're on a walk, watching a show, or give him a back massage when we're relaxing. Being intentional about this is the key, since like I said before, it's so easy to let these things slide by and before you know it, you've been married 5 years, or 10... or 30 years! In year two, I want to work on this even more.

From McCann: Michaela is gifts and words of affirmation, so I’ve tried to speak to those in a few different ways. One of the ways I have done that in the past is I hid a bunch of little notes with reasons why I love her around the apartment while she was away for work and when she got back, she would randomly find them throughout the next week or so. 
How was it when you first moved in with your husband? What do you bicker about? What compromises do you make? 

Michaela: How long can this blog post be?! ;) This is a great series of questions, because it shows the truth and messy parts of marriage. So to recap, I lived in our apartment before our wedding for about 5 months. Then after our wedding, he moved in with me of course. We had gotten the apartment all set together (well, I decorated and he helped me hang things and organize! ;)) so by the time he was moving in, everything was good to go. I'm really glad we did it this way, as I can't image trying to start living together while boxes were still in the apartment. Trying to navigate all of that would have been hard. Overall, when we first moved in together everything was great. Nothing earth shattering happened, we definitely would still marry each other all over again ;)
But even in that, there is an adjustment period to living with ANYONE. I've had my fair share of roommates over the years, so when I moved to Michigan to date McCann, I knew I wanted my own peaceful place. On the opposite side of things, McCann had only ever lived with other people for a year of his life in college. Other than that, he owned his own home for a few years and lived alone there. I encouraged him to live with some friends from our church before we got married so he could have the experience of community and living with others. This was huge for him! Not only did he grow a lot personally in this time living with his friends, he also navigated the waters of living with other people who are different from you. I think he got some bad living habits out of the way, too ;) I have to say that I am so pleasantly surprised with his living habits! I'm a neat freak, and he is really clean and tidy, too. The worst thing he does is leave some clothes on the bench in our bedroom sometimes. I can handle that! We did find out some funny things about each other in the first few months of living together. For example, we brush our teeth differently. I put the toothpaste on first, then run under water, then brush. He wets the brush, then toothpaste, then brushes. Weird! He sleep talks (sorry, husband!) and I am a light sleeper, so this doesn't always mix well. He procrastinates a little and I get things done asap. Just little things that we had to get used to! The biggest thing for me that I've learned in these differences is that I cannot let them bother me. If something bothers me about him, I'm trying my best to remember my vows that said "I promise to believe the best about you". This changes everything, because usually your spouse has good intentions! I will say, too, there are just some things that need to be left unsaid. If something is bothering me about my husband, I try to ask myself if it's my own problem, or if it's really THAT big of a deal to bring up to him. 

Sometimes I conclude, after praying about it, that it's not something I need to bring up. 
We mostly bicker about things we are used to doing a certain way, that the other person doesn't do the same way. The root of this is pride, 100%. I'm also the more sensitive one, so sometimes I'll take something personally that wasn't meant in a mean way. As for compromises, I can't think of anything huge, as we usually try to come to decisions together, but some little things would be decorating! Whereas I would want a lot more white furniture, McCann prefers wood, so I have compromised on some furniture pieces not being my personal favorite style, but that still work in our home with our overall style.

From McCann: Getting used to sharing a bed was a challenge, but I would say just the way we do a lot of everyday things around the house is different and I’ve had to lay down my pride in thinking that the way I do everything is the “right” way and she needs to change the way she does things for me.
What are your plans this year?
That's a great question! I wish we knew ;) Our lease is up on our apartment in May, so we have some big decisions to make. Can you join us in praying about those decisions? Where we will be next is something that gives me anxiety. Trying to abide in God and take it one day at a time, while also taking practical steps towards a decision. (What city / state will we live in? McCann's job if we did move? If we stay, will we rent or buy? Whatever we do, there is family involved so it's just a hard decision. So many questions.) Stay tuned for more on our plans as May gets closer. I'll be sure to share more.

The things I know are that we will continue working in the youth group at our church, I am in cooking club with some girlfriends that I love, we're starting a bible study with some newly married friends at church, we're staying in MI for Thanksgiving and going to CA for Christmas, and we're going to keep enjoying our life in our little apartment with this little fur ball, Lincoln. 
If this question was asking about babies, that's still not in our plan for another few years ;)

How did you know he/she was the one you wanted to marry? How did God confirm that for you?
So since we met when I was living in California and he was living in Michigan, we were dating long distance. From early on in dating long distance, I felt a peace about McCann as a person, from the Lord. I knew he was a good man, loved God, his family, and had a lot of qualities I was looking for in a husband one day. He is a good listener, has the kindest heart, loves and wants kids, has a calm demeanor (not easily stressed) and is a peacemaker. He is so levelheaded and I loved that about him, even from the beginning. He's a 9 on the enneagram test, if you know what I'm talking about ;) Because of these qualities, I knew I could see myself marrying him. 

We were long distance for 7-8 months before I moved to Michigan. There is absolutely no way we would have known if we were 100% supposed to get married if it weren't for us living in the same city for a while before deciding on that. I would never rush into that decision! There were a ton of things we didn't know about each other and our families while we were long distance, and we wouldn't have found those out if it weren't for living near one another. I've never said this out in the open before, but when I moved to Michigan to be closer to McCann, I wanted to be engaged to him within a few months. Friends, I'm SO glad we waited almost 2 years before getting engaged. We did so much learning and dating in those years. We went through all the seasons twice together (read: I feel it was important for him to see me in a really snowy winter before asking me to spend forever with him, ha!) and we shared in both heartbreak and many joys. I think it's important to see your partner in ups and downs. With every hardship, I saw McCann as steadfast, faithful, vulnerable, and supportive. We became a team and we both felt we were ready for marriage.

How did you prepare spiritually (as a couple) for marriage while dating and how do you continue to develop that spiritual growth once married?
Let me preface by saying we are not perfect at this, and in fact, we just spoke about how this is one thing we want to do better in year two! We are really involved at our church, so we make our best effort to grow together by discussing the messages at church on Sunday, try to pray together a few nights a week before bed, and we really want to get in the habit of waking up one morning earlier to read. We aren't the couple that reads the same book at the same time and then talks about it for hours. Instead, we like to have our devotional time separately (or at the same time, but reading our own thing) and then talk about what we've been learning or what the Lord has been teaching us.

How’d you feel okay about moving to Michigan to continue dating before a ring?
I LOVED this question, because often we hear "don't move before the ring, or you'll never get it!" etc...

Since we were long distance before me moving, all we did was talk. All the time. But we knew nothing about the day to day life together! Even though my mom did not necessarily want me to move away, because I'm her only daughter and we are really close (thankful that she trusts me and knows I make good decisions!), she DID say it would be a bad decision to never live near the person I kept saying I wanted to marry one day. 

I was in church one Sunday when we started thinking about the possibility of me moving to Michigan and the pastor was talking about how sometimes God just says "GO" and you need to obey. I really felt like the Lord was speaking to me. I haven't always been a brave person and certainly not one who liked summer camp or sleepovers, so moving to Michigan was a HUGE leap of faith for me. I think the reasons I felt confident in going were because of what I knew about McCann thus far, I had visited a few times (even in the snow!) to see what I was getting myself into, and I felt such peace after praying "God, if you want me to end this relationship or not pursue it any longer, or simply just not move, please make it SUPER clear to me!" I never felt like God was closing the door. 

When I moved here, I also was still dating McCann, learning him and together, we were figuring out a ton that we hadn't known about each other before me moving. We told ourselves that this was a time to get to explore the relationship more and that very possibly, God could still close this door. We prayed a lot about where we were and where God wanted us. We had to keep our hands open to Him. 

Of course a huge thing for us was that we were not going to be living together in Michigan. I found my own apartment and started to somewhat create my own things here by attending and serving in our church, meeting friends, building up my business here, etc. I didn't want my identity here to be in McCann. I wanted to feel like myself and have a bit of my own life, so I began trying to forge that path. We believe that God wanted us to live separately until we were married, and we're so glad that we waited! It made it that much sweeter.

What was your favorite moment on your wedding day?
From McCann: My favorite moment was reading my vows to Michaela and looking into her eyes while I was reading them. It’s easy to get lost and forget the words I promised her even after just a year, so looking back on it is something I want to do more often. Another favorite moment was the foot-washing during the ceremony. I loved that we were able to show each other (and the others in attendance) the love of Christ by displaying this act of being a servant for one another and putting each other above ourselves.
Michaela: I have mentioned this before, but I think my first favorite moment was our first look. McCann saw me, flaws and all, and loved me, chose me, and called me beautiful. It was such a parallel to how Jesus sees us!

What has your first year of marriage taught you about yourself or life in general?
From McCann: Our first year of marriage has been very humbling and has exposed some things about myself that I hadn’t fully recognized before. Before my relationship with Michaela, my thinking was that if I took care of myself and was generally happy and content with where I was at physically, financially, and spiritually, everything was great and I was doing all the right things. That all changed when Michaela came along and especially after September 18th, 2016. God used her and our marriage to uncover my selfishness, lay down my pride, and put her needs above my own in a way that glorifies Him and I am forever grateful for that.

Michaela: I've learned that I am particular about the way I do things. Maybe I didn't exactly learn this-- I think I already knew it, but it was more magnified this last year as we lived together! I can be stubborn, too. Being married has shown me my selfish nature and I have to continually remind myself of my vows to McCann, when I promised to think of him before myself. I've learned that serving your spouse is a JOY, that marriage is a beautiful and messy thing simultaneously, and how sacred the bond in marriage really is. I've seen in myself that it would be EASY to become busy with other things (be it even good things!), and let our relationship slip to the back burner, so I need to actively fight for us. I've learned that sometimes when we have a disagreement, I need to think about it for a few minutes before entering into a discussion about it, just to come to the table with a clear head. I've realized my need for a Savior even more through being married.

Thanks for the beautiful pictures, Danyelle! And to my friend Erin, who made the pretty flower bouquet, thank you!! If you missed the Style Me Pretty feature last week, you can see that here
If you have any other questions, you can always email me or comment with them here!

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1 comment

  1. This is such a beautiful post my friend - I love your honest and truthful answers but also the very special, Godly love that you share. Happy Anniversary x


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