Valentine's Day Q&A

Happy Valentine's Day, gals! I thought it'd be fun to share some answers to questions you've asked me and my husband on Instagram. 

Valentine's Day can often bring up a lot of emotions for people. Some hate it, some love it, other are indifferent. I have always loved it, no matter if I've been in a relationship or not because I just love celebrating anything! One year in college my friends and I made heart shaped pizzas, another year we did a panty exchange (SO FUN!), and other years I've been married so it's been entirely different. Here's the important thing I want to say though: you don't have to be in a relationship to enjoy this day or to feel loved or show love. Your worth isn't determined by if you a boyfriend or spouse to celebrate this day with. The truth is God loves you unconditionally (that's better than any human could ever even try to love you!) and he wants you to know him and love him, too. I just want you to know that THAT is the only love that changes you!

If you're here for the Q&A, here we go! :)

Was it a hard decision to leave your "home" for love?

First of all, I really appreciate this question. Thank you for asking! It was really hard because my home meant family and that's a sure thing. I was leaving for something that was very unsure-- to see if this guy and I would work long term. I was hopeful, but I was very nervous. I was worried it wouldn't work out and the move would be a waste of time. I was worried I'd be seen as a failure if we broke up and I had to move back. I was worried my family would be so upset with my decision and I wouldn't have their support. I was nervous I wouldn't make friends and wouldn't like Michigan.

I think I've mentioned this before, but I was in church one Sunday when I was trying to make this big decision of what to do and the pastor said something along the lines of "sometimes God calls us to GO and you just have to trust that He'll be there with you, even if it's scary. When he says 'go' you need to obey." That, combined with a lot of prayer about what to do seemed to solidify my decision to go. I chose to go because I trusted God that EVEN IF this didn't work out the way I wanted it to, God would be with me and there was still purpose. 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 and his character thus far and that he had a hunger to grow in the Lord, 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. I knew I had to move here to see how we would be together in the day to day and see if it would progress towards marriage.

The first two years were extremely hard on me. I was meeting friends, but I was still extremely homesick. Some family wasn't super happy about my move, even though I know they ultimately still loved me, I knew this put a strain on our relationship and that killed / still kills me. But I also know that my family knows deep down that I made a good decision for me, trusts us, and still loves me, regardless of where we live. I've lived in Michigan now for almost 6 years and it's gotten a lot better and easier. The Lord has been SO kind to me to give me the best of friends and some wonderful interior design clients where my business has flourished. It's still tough though. I've come to terms with the fact that it's okay to still feel homesick and long for your own family or for your own "home", even though you're the one who chooses to live far away. 

Ideas for how you spend evenings that are not in front of TV or scrolling your phone?

Great question and one that we are still figuring out! In January we did decide to make a boundary of not turning on the TV at least one night per week. For us this is Tuesdays. We go to the gym 2 nights a week usually. On Monday's we each hang out with our friends separately, and one night a week we also try to commit to reading a good chunk of the night. For us we realized that we really love watching shows together and that's okay a couple nights a week, but what's not okay is also being on our phones during the show. So we also just made a rule recently to leave our phone on the table before sitting down on the couch. This way we're at least both engaging in what we're watching. We've always had the no phone policy in bed and I think that's really helpful!

Other ideas include bowling, doing an activity together, playing a game, making a puzzle (I hate puzzles so this one doesn't work for us ;)) hanging out with friends, actually going to the movies, getting a marriage journal that walks you through some deep questions each week (we're getting this one!), etc. 

How'd you find the balance between having fun and having serious talks when you were long distance?

Oh man, I remember this weighing on me while we were long distance! It was so hard because ALL we had to do was talk and honestly, that got to be too much sometimes. After all that talking, sometimes there was just nothing left to say, so we got creative! We would watch the same show or movie and talk about it, play the Quiz Up app, read the same book or chapter of the Bible and discuss it, watch sermons together, etc. 

I do think it's really important to have deep talks and try to really understand each other, your backgrounds, your childhoods, etc. because I will say that when I did move to MI and began seeing McCann on a day to day basis, I realized I BARELY knew him. That was after 7 months of long distance! When I moved and we were closer, it was like we just started dating again-- ha! I'm not sure if this is normal or if we just didn't ask the right questions when we were long distance, but it was crazy. I don't mean this in a bad way either, we obviously still ended up getting married, but we put in a lot of work the first year or so that I lived here to really try to get to know each other.

I would suggest reading How We Love to spark some conversation about love styles, our pasts, family, etc. I would also suggest doing some of these questions together to dig deeper. Use this time to ask hard questions and get to know them well, without any physical stuff getting in the way of your judgement!

How'd you deal with purity in the intense times when you were together?

You gals are asking really good, important questions! I love that you're thinking about this and it's important to you! As I've noted before, we didn't live together or do "other" things together until we were married. I made my boundaries clear from the VERY beginning and thankfully, McCann was on the same page as we both wanted to obey what God has designed for relationships as laid out in the Bible. We're so very glad we waited for all these things until we were married. If just naming your sexual boundaries aren't enough, then you need to put physical boundaries in place as well. For example, maybe you don't go in each other's bedrooms, maybe you pray together about these things before you start your dates, have accountability friends, etc. To most of the world I know this seems prude or ridiculous, but this is what we felt called to based on what God tells us is His good design for marriage and I can honestly say we're thankful for the way we did things and know that God puts these boundaries in place so that our hearts are protected. 

Does McCann like when Michaela restyles "his" spaces in the house?

Ha! LOVE THIS. Maybe I should let him answer ;) I asked him and he said "I don't mind at all, unless it's my desk area. I have a certain way I like that organized. I know you are good at what you do, so unless it's really expensive, I don't care how you decorate!"

 I like that answer!! :)

Favorite date night?
Mine would be going to my favorite restaurant called Nonna's and then going to a movie or watching one at home! In the summer, I love going to this rooftop wine bar. Such an amazing view!

How did we prepare for marriage?

One thing we did that I highly recommend if you are dating someone and want to see it move towards marriage (which is what I think the goal of seriously dating someone should be!) is we were mentored by a married couple at our church as a part of the marriage / engagement ministry at our church. We met with them for 10 weeks and went through a study together. It really solidified that we wanted to get married and had the tools to work through things healthily as a couple!

We also had marriage counseling in the form of a retreat at our church, talked to lots of married couples and asked for advice, studied the Bible's view of marriage and read a couple of great books. My favorite one is The Meaning of Marriage by Tim Keller.

What was your favorite thing of your wedding day?

How long do we have?! Ha! I have written a ton about our wedding day. You can find the posts below by topic:

+ Wedding Planning Q&A
+ 12 Things We'd Do Again at Our Wedding
+ Wedding Dress Shopping Tips (+ the dress I almost chose!)
+ How to Start Designing Your Wedding Color Palette
+ Things We Learned in the First Month of Marriage
+ Honest Thoughts on Wedding Planning can see them all here, including our actual wedding photos!

My favorite moment was our first look and my favorite detail of the day was all of our beautiful flowers! Everywhere I looked there were blooms on blooms and I was in awe!! The most fun part of the day was the dancing. We had an insanely talented DJ (which I think is one of the top vendors that make or break your wedding!)

What would I do over for our wedding day?

If I understand this right, you're wondering what I'd do differently for our wedding. I only have a couple things: 

1. Don't let family and their unneeded, unhelpful commentary on your day or your decisions upset you. I don't mean I wouldn't listen to their helpful advice and thoughts, incorporating some of their wishes, I more mean don't let the negative comments (like, some family telling us they didn't want to spend money on a ticket to fly out to our wedding!) get us down. 
2. I would have wanted one day in town before leaving on our honeymoon. I'm glad with the way it worked out, but our flight was SUPER early the next day and it was tough to rally after such a late night. A day in town would have been really fun, but we were equally glad to be in Hawaii ;)
3. I would have assigned someone to make sure everyone took polaroid pics for our guest book. I hate that we have so many people missing!

We loved everything about our day!

Photos: Ashley Slater Photography 

How can you bring your faith into your marriage?

For us, our faith is the biggest part of our life, so it's something we talk about a lot and ultimately, God is at the center of our marriage. If you're looking to talk about your faith more with your spouse, I think doing your own quiet times where you're reading scripture then coming together to share what you're learning is really great! I think bringing conversations up about what books you're reading having to do with faith or what podcasts you're listening to, and just what God is teaching you in general are great ways to naturally talk about faith. Going to church together and getting into community who love the Lord is one of the best things, too!

What are some of your biggest differences in your personalities?

We are pretty much different in every way ;) I'm outgoing, bubbly, talkative, loud, a type-A planner, love to celebrate every little thing, lover of traditions, future-oriented, very verbal and need to process conflict sooner than later, love languages are gifts and acts of service. McCann is reserved, go-with-the-flow, a great listener, a peacemaker by nature so holds things in instead of discussing, very analytical, likes to be spontaneous, love languages are physical touch and words of affirmation. I'm a 3w2 enneagram and McCann is a 9w1. I've heard the 3 and 9's are a common pairing! 

Thanks for reading and I hope you have a really sweet Valentine's Day!!

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