31 days: this sweet love

Blogging — sharing things on such a public stage with little to no idea who sees it — has been an ever-changing endeavor for me. I have what you would call a lifestyle blog, I guess. But at different times, it’s been a favorite things blog or a college girl blog or an adoption and foster care blog. It humors me to look back on early posts to read the things I thought and the things I was learning.

In the past three years, the one thing that has been a constant has been my (growing) relationship with Dan.

Three years ago this month, we met at Bible study. My roommate and I had contacted the director of community groups at our church to ask about a group with single men. No joke: We had heard we could meet our husbands in community group. We wanted in on that action. All of the groups with single men our age were full, so the director opened one up on the church’s social network site for us to jump into. She forgot to close the group again afterward. Our little Bible study of single 20-somethings was always the Bible study that was too big after that.

(Here, I like to include this truth: My roommate and I participated in what is known as Facebook stalking — searching every name of every male in our group. We had yet to meet them. The guy with the artsy profile pic caught my eye. He lived on the med school campus, which I didn’t even know was possible. But at this point in life, I thought I wanted to marry someone in seminary, so I sort of forgot about him for a while.)

On the first night of our group, my roommate and I climbed the stairs to the second-story St. Louis apartment of our leader. It was dang hot in there, and I get sweaty in social situations on top of that. We introduced ourselves and quickly pressed our backs against the wall while awkward conversation ensued. Not long after, two guys walked in. One was taller with curly hair and dark, plastic-framed glasses. The other was shorter with an Iowa look to him. And, immediately, I recognized him.

“Um, I know you from somewhere…,” I said. “Did you go to Cornerstone Church in Ames, Iowa?” The look on his face and everyone else’s: WHAT?!

I have a propensity for always recognizing people who believe they have never seen me in their life. It can be embarrassing. But this time speaking up about it paid off. We connected over Iowa as our home state. And I also quickly connected with his taller, curly-haired roommate. The four of us — Dan, his roommate, my roommate, and myself — became fast friends on that awkward, sweaty night. Now, three years later, I’ve been married to Dan for about a year and a half.

Our relationship has been the best + quickest adventure of my life. We have messed it up big time and experienced some real triumphs. There are few things I am more proud of than the way we friendshipped, dated, engaged, and married.

31days

In the next 31 days, I’m joining a blogging campaign to write a post each day on one specific topic. I’d like to write about some of the little tips and big ideas I have for budding relationships, long-term daters, we’re-tired-of-being-engaged couples, and those with a baby marriage, just like us. Please know: I do not have it all figured out.

I want deeply to be humble. I want deeply to not exclude those who are single. I want deeply to be practical. And I want deeply to be honest + vulnerable.

I would love this to be a conversation… Please challenge me when I am not holding true to what I say I want this to be. I’ll be sharing the areas of our marriage where we need tips, and if you have them, please do share!

Day 1: the sand dune: a lesson on complaining

Day 2: doing things that aren’t easy

Day 3: dating resource: 101 Questions to Ask Before You Get Engaged

Day 4: creating shared Google Calendars

Day 5: how we find date ideas

Day 6: 3 apps for marriage + relationships

Day 7: how we create time for each other

Day 8: our first date: the story

Day 9: our first date: lessons learned

Day 10: 5,3, 1

Day 11: social media, my marriage + what I won’t post

Day 12: handling disagreements: 3 statements + 1 question

Day 13: handling disagreements: whatever works

Day 14: my husband on finding work + life balance

Day 15: the art of writing notes

Day 16: missed a day — oops!

Day 17: his excitement is different

Day 18: 6 ways to save money as newlyweds

Day 19: the most important thing in your relationship

Day 20: know what triggers the yucky side of you

Day 21: 4 questions to ask when considering marriage

Day 22: when your friends have kids

Day 23: when your friends are single

Day 24: meal planning in 4 simple steps: guest post by Indy Eat Well

Day 25: how we meal plan

Day 26: not always 50:50

Day 27: the mouse + “teaching my husband a lesson”

Day 28: i’m a spender + he’s a saver

Day 29: how I thought marriage would be v. how it really is

Day 30: for single Christian men

Day 31: the marriage post I didn’t want to write