This post corresponds with Daniel’s’ interview last week, but this interview is from his wife (and my friend), Faith! I know you’ll love what she has to say about the different stages of their relationship. And I included a verse from 1 Corinthians 7, just like I did for Daniel’s interview, so check it out at the end of the post. (As an exciting side note, Daniel and Faith recently let me know that they’re expecting their first child in April 2021! Yay!)
Tell me a little bit about yourself!
I’m 24 years old. I was born in Washington but moved to Maryland when I was almost two years old. I grew up homeschooled but also went to a private Christian school for a few years. After graduating from high school, I went to Cambodia to volunteer in a children’s home for four months. Then I attended community college for a year before transferring to the University of Central Oklahoma, where I earned a bachelor’s degree in Family Life Education: Child Development. I currently work at a local church preschool as the lead three-year-old teacher, and I absolutely love it.
How and when did you meet your husband?
Daniel and I met at church when we were seven and eight (I’m older) after his family moved from Florida to Maryland. I can’t remember a time when we didn’t know each other, but we didn’t hang out much until high school. I was actually better friends with his little sister for a while. It’s been nice being married to someone who I grew up with because we have so many shared experiences and a point of reference for everything.
How did you start dating and how long did you date before you got engaged?
There was a moment at the beginning of 2015 that I describe as God striking me with lightning and saying, “Daniel’s it.” My first reaction was, “Daniel? Are you sure?” But the more I thought about it, the more it made sense.
It actually happened during Sunday school. Daniel was answering a question with maturity and depth, and in that moment, it struck me how wonderful he was. However, Daniel didn’t have his moment until July of 2017. Between my moment and his, he dated two other girls and even told me that one was marriage material, which was difficult for me. I had to give him up, hoping that he’d be happy with her and that she’d treat him well.
During the summer of 2017, we started hanging out more. Daniel says he just looked up at me one day and had an “Oh!” moment. However, this was right before we parted ways for college. So we started snapchatting, then texting, and then calling each other every night. His sister had told me that he was thinking about asking me out, and I had to be honest with myself about whether I wanted that because I’d wanted it for so long.
For my fall break, I decided at the last minute to fly home. I knew Daniel’s initial plan had been to stay at college and work extra hours during fall break, so I didn’t think I’d get to see him. When I texted him and mentioned that I was coming home, he texted back immediately to tell me that he’d pick me up at the airport. Right after I arrived in Maryland, we went on our first date. I returned to college three days later.
What was the best part and the hardest part of dating?
The hardest part of dating was definitely the fact that we were long-distance. We only spent a few months dating in person, and that was spread out over college breaks, so it wasn’t even a continuous period. Aside from being long-distance, the hardest part of dating was boundaries. As you become more comfortable with each other, you start to let down some emotional walls, but the physical walls have to remain. Daniel and I both knew early on that we were going to get married. (I actually bought my wedding dress before we officially started dating!) We got very close emotionally because being long distance forced us to talk more than couples do in a normal relationship. It was hard to get that close emotionally while having to keep my guard up.
One of my favorite things about dating was constantly having someone to hang out with who never got tired of me. Even mundane things became fun when we were doing them together, which is something that has continued into marriage. Another one of my favorite things was discovering things about the other person and having deep conversations. Of course, all the endorphins are pretty nice, too. That giddy feeling when your significant other texts you or hugs you can’t be replaced.
When and how did you get engaged?
We got engaged on July 28, 2018. I knew that Daniel was going to propose, and I actually texted my friend an hour before to tell her. Daniel was really nervous, which was so cute.
What was the best part and the hardest part of being engaged?
Honestly, being engaged was rough. It felt like a constant battle between knowing that we were going to spend the rest of our lives together but still having to stay apart. It was also just an overall hard time for both of us because I went back to college for my final semester two weeks after we got engaged. And we were trying to get jobs and figure out where we were going to live, plus I was having serious health issues. Even though I had to plan the wedding while we were apart, it actually became my stress relief.
The best part of being engaged was that hypotheticals weren’t hypothetical anymore. There wasn’t the lingering doubt about if we were going to break up. I didn’t feel like I had to guard myself against being hurt by him anymore.
What were your physical/emotional/spiritual boundaries during the time you dated and were engaged?
One of our big physical boundaries was that if clothing had to come off, we shouldn’t be doing it in the first place. Our physical boundaries did slide a little, but that rule was firm. I’m very proud of the fact that we waited until marriage. It made it so much more special. Because we knew very early that we wanted to be married, there were certain emotional and spiritual boundaries that we didn’t put in place. However, we didn’t talk about the future like it was certain until we had formally gotten engaged.
We also had monthly check-ins when we could be open about how we were feeling about the relationship and what we needed from the other person. We made it a priority to be honest about our feelings, which has been such a blessing. People like to think that when the right person comes along, they’ll always intuitively know what the other person is feeling, but it takes work to get to a point where you have even an inkling of what the other person is feeling. Communication is the number one reason couples break up, which is why Daniel and I put a lot of effort early on into building good communication.
When and how did you get married?
We got married on December 29, 2018, which was 15 days after we graduated from college. In retrospect, we should’ve given ourselves another week to get everything ready, but it ended up being a wonderful day. We spent about $2,000 on the whole thing, which I’m proud of. The ceremony was at the church where I currently work, and it’s a beautiful old chapel with tons of stained glass. It was such a unique day because it’s the one time in your life when everyone you love is in the same room.
What is the best part and the hardest part of marriage?
The best part of marriage is not having to say goodbye anymore. Daniel and I are practically attached at the hip, and we wouldn’t have it any other way. He’ll even come have lunch with me at work randomly. And if he’s at work and I have to run an errand, I’ll put it off until we can do it together. My coworkers think the amount of time we spend together is adorable. Being with Daniel is always an adventure.
The hardest part of marriage is that two sinful and selfish people have to constantly work together in harmony. You are going to be hurt by the person you love the most. There are constantly major or minor things that you have to learn to forgive without holding it against your spouse. Similarly, you have to learn how to fight in a way that’s constructive and stays on topic. And at the beginning of marriage, there’s a huge learning curve. There’s definitely truth in the statement that the first year is the hardest. After that, you have a better grasp on how to relate to the other person and fulfill his or her needs.
If you could give readers one piece of advice about dating and marriage, what would it be?
I would tell anyone who is single or dating not to rush into marriage but to take the time to step back and truly evaluate the relationship and see if it’s healthy. I know so many people who have rushed into marriage with the wrong person because they wanted to be married or thought that they should be married at a certain age or stage of life. You aren’t just with the person you marry for now but for a lifetime. I’d encourage anyone who is dating to realistically picture what everyday life with their significant other will look like. You don’t want to wake up years down the road and realize you got married for the wrong reasons.
I know someone who works in marriage counseling, and she said that one of the first questions that she asks couples is why they got married in the first place. So many times, the couples can’t answer the question. You should have a list of reasons why you want to be with the other person forever. A successful marriage isn’t just one that doesn’t end in divorce. A successful marriage is one where the two people truly enjoy each other, put in work where work is needed, and push the other person to grow. In short, marry your best friend.
Let the husband render to his wife the affection due her, and likewise also the wife to her husband. (1 Corinthians 7:3 NKJV)