Marriage Q&A, Part 1

10 September 2019

This week we’re celebrating seven years of marriage! (And about 14.5 years of being together!) I invited your questions about our relationship recently, and on the drive home from our MS ride, John and I answered as many as we could get to. Here’s the first installment…

What’s the best piece of marriage advice you’ve ever received?
John: The first piece that comes to mind is one that just hit home recently, from a sermon by Adam Hamilton (starts at about 31:00). Being better partners makes us better parents, but being better parents won’t necessarily make us better partners. I also love the C.S. Lewis reading from our wedding.
Em: This is still the most impactful advice I’ve ever received.

How do you choose new adventures together?
Em: We love talking about our dreams a LOT. We both score highly for the Futuristic Strengthsfinder theme (“People exceptionally talented in the Futuristic theme are inspired by the future and what could be. They energize others with their visions of the future.”). We talk about what we hope to do next week, month, year, in ten years and fifty years. We talk about what we want our future summers to look like, future anniversaries, camping trips, even our retirement! We talk things out and discuss different options until we circle around what excites us both most and what is possible.
John: Our end-of-year dinner is the culmination of this. At that dinner, we make decisions about where we’ll travel in the next year, we narrow down what adventures we want to have, and we set family goals. Emily also wrote a post about how we find interesting things to do here.

What random/trivial thing do you argue about most often?
John: Issues of food safety can be contentious around here – when leftovers need to be thrown out, what is safe to eat in our refrigerator, if something sat out on the counter too long, etc.
Em: When John misses a turn, he will take FOREVER to find somewhere to turn around, and my aggravation at this is definitely disproportional to his actions. Also I can definitely cosign on food safety issues, though John wouldn’t say that’s trivial, ha.

What do you do when you feel like being alone/introverted, as a spouse or a parent?
Em: John likes to nap – he’ll often take a short nap in the evenings on weeknights, and loves taking a longer nap on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon – so that’s my alone time. I usually use it for writing here!
John: I definitely like to nap.

Do you pray together? Read the Bible together? Would love ideas for growing together.
Em: I hope to grow more in terms of praying together and reading the Bible together, but we mostly do those things on our own right now (aside from praying at meals or extraordinary circumstances). At least once a week, we’ll listen to a sermon together (in addition to worshiping at our own church) and talk about it. This gives us a common vocabulary to explore the world and grow our faith. As classic Enneagram 5’s, we love to learn together :)

You and John are both Enneagram 5s, correct? Tips for handling similar wiring?
Em: Correct! I could see how a marriage of two of the same types of other types might be more of an issue, but we’ve seen more positives from being the same type. We naturally face most challenges and try to solve most problems the same way, and it’s usually very easy for us to “read” each other and understand and have compassion for the motivations behind our behaviors.
John: As two introverts, we have an awareness of how easy it would be for us to stick to ourselves. I’m grateful that Emily takes the lead as our social coordinator and organizes things with our friends for the most part. She is definitely the more social of the two of us.

Hardest and best part of marriage?
John: We have had our issues with navigating collective action (i.e. assuming the other person will do the dishes). Emily is my best friend and because we’re married, she’s the person I get to spend the most time with. She makes my life so much more full and more fun.
Em: Some of our biggest challenges have been how to divvy up vacations with our families, given our limited resources of time and money. As for the best part – there are so many things I could choose, but as a person who has sometimes felt misunderstood by people when they first meet me, to be fully known, fully seen, and fully loved – by someone I fully trust – is a gift.

Up next: what we’re glad we did before having kids, how we prioritize each other with two full-time jobs, something you might not know about each of us, and more – plus one question that I decided needed its own post!

P.S. More from our wedding, because it never, ever gets old. Tanja is the best!

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September 10, 2019 6:55 am

This is so awesome! Thank you both for sharing!!

Katelin Barkey
September 10, 2019 8:26 am

Loved this! Looking forward to future posts.

September 10, 2019 8:31 am

Reading your musings on marriage is always my favorite! :) Thank you both for sharing.

September 10, 2019 9:54 am

I teared up immediately when I clicked through to see what marriage advice resonated with you most and was reminded of our priest’s words…I can never hear that wisdom enough!!

September 10, 2019 10:51 am

LOVE this post! I’m thinking it might be fun for my husband and I to answer. I especially loved the marriage advice John referenced. As a parent I know I pour myself into that relationship and portion of my life and it’s a good reminder my marriage needs just as much attention. Sometimes easier said than done when a toddler and newborn has short term needs :)

Thank you as always for the lovely and thoughtful content!

September 10, 2019 4:03 pm

I love you two! Miss you. Have the best time celebrating seven years of marriage!

September 10, 2019 10:21 pm

Love this and the photos so much! I cannot wait to read parts two and three!
Also I definitely didn’t expect the answer to my question would be that John takes a daily nap, lol!!

September 16, 2019 2:01 pm

As someone who has been married only about a year and a half so far, this was definitely refreshing and great advice! I’m about to read Part 2 right now!

September 22, 2019 2:13 pm

Loved these questions and answers… It’s our dating anniversary this week and our wedding anniversary next week – I think I’m going to put a few questions out there too!