How long have you been together for?D: Well we've been married for 1 year, and it would be 4 years that we've actually officially been together. H: Oh it was 4 years in September... was it? D: Yea, but 4 years since I was living in Australia in January. H: Oh I don't really know!
How did you end up together? H: I was friends with Don's family because they moved here from the States for a little while. Don came a bit later and we were all just really close. So the first trip he was here I wasn't interested, and then the second time he came back I was like 'Oooohhh'. D: She went on the prowl.
Went on the prowl? Like a cougar or something? H: Oh my goodness! Hahaha. D: That's exactly it. Those aren't my words but... H: Hahaha so anyway Donald came back and I basically...*giggling* D: Yeah so when I came back I was staying with Ez and Pete and at the time you two weren't married (Ezra & I) so ya'll were hanging out and Elizabeth was hanging out with ya'll and Hannah was hanging out with ya'll so by the fact that I was living with them I was also hanging out with ya'll.
Wait a second, I don't remember you living with Ezra? D: Yeah, it was only for like 4 weeks or something. H: I do because you came out of the shower with no top on and I was like 'Wooo woooo!' *everyone cracks up laughing* D: Huh? H: Oh nothing let's keep going. D: Apparently the first Sunday I was here she saw 'this guy' that was near the front talking to people and she was like 'Ooh, who's that?'...
H: 'He's pretty cute!' I thought, and then I got closer and I was like 'Oh it's Don...welcome back!' Hahaha and then there was nothing I was like 'Oh it's just Donald' like 'Yay he's back' more like buddy buddy. And then we didn't hang out the whole 6 weeks he was here until that last weekend when we went on a road trip, and I fell for him on that road trip. D: Yeah so went on that road trip... H: And he had no idea! No idea haha. D: So on the road trip to me, there was never a chance that there was going to be anything beyond friends because I just thought that I was the brother of my sisters friend. H: Not for me! D: And then, it was actually Ez, Han and I watching rugby and we were chatting and apparently Hannah said this is when she just completely fell head over heals.. H: *giggles* D: You tell this part.
H: We were all talking about what tattoos we would get, and we were all just being stupid and then Don said - Well I would get this bible verse about....well I forgot what the verse is..but it's like heaven and earth will fade away but My word will remain forever. He was just talking so sincerely about how God had changed his life, and how much that verse meant to him. I was like 'Oh my goodness, that's what I would want my husband to be like' and I fell for him then and there.... in that lounge room hahaha... anyway.... D: From there we hung out in groups I think, but I pretty much left a week and a half later and someone threw a going away party at this strike bowling thing. H: Yeah so I don't like going to group things like that usually but I knew Don was going to be there because it was his going away..obviously. So I went with all these people I don't normally hang out with just because I wanted to talk to Don. And then he got locked out of the place because he didn't have his ID! D: I was about an hour and a half late! H: He was like, ages late and then he finally did come in and then he bowled the ball and fell over haha. D: Haha because I hadn't put bowling shoes on yet so I went up to go and throw it but I took 2 steps and my shoes stuck so I fell and the ball went flying up haha. H: I didn't see it and when I finally knew he was there I came around and he was like 'Oh I'm so embarrassed' hahaha he told me about how he fell over and I was like 'It's not that bad' and anyway I was the last one to leave with Brenno and a couple others, and I just gave him a really long hug before he left ....I know right! But he didn't catch on. D: Na, yea so then I went back to the States and I had this realisation that the only person I had been talking to every day since I had got back was Hannah. And so I stopped and was like.. hold on, what message am I sending in messaging her? So I went to my mates place Andy, and told him what was going on, and he was like 'Dude, you guys are dating man' and his wife's like 'What do you mean you don't know? You and her have been emotionally dating for a month!' And I was like 'What do you mean?' Haha and from that point I started to just analyse what was going on and my own feelings and thinking 'Well if that's me messaging her.... H: Basically after he left we were just in contact every day, and it took him about a month to realise 'Ooh something's going on here...' Haha D: I tried to get off Elizabeth (my sister) what was going on, but she played it really cool. So that made me second guess and think 'Maybe I'm just over analysing this'. H: And then it eventually got to the point where something had to be said and so we both said that we liked each other, and we started dating over the phone. Long distance for a good few months (5-6). And then he eventually moved to Sydney which is closer than the States, so a year in Sydney and then he moved to Melbourne after that.
D: So yeah, moved to Melbourne and then we got married .... H: You proposed on July 4th, you surprised me! I told him 'You're not going to be able to surprise me, sorry there's no way!' and he did! D: I took it as a challenge. Haha and so that year when I was speaking with Han's parents about proposing, I made a bunch of challenges where I would plan these different date days and a couple of them she thought I was gonna propose - but I didn't. And then I made her think I was gonna propose in the States, but I didn't...
That's the worst! Haha H: I know! We were on the top of this mountain and he started just fiddling and he was like 'Hey come over here for a sec' and I was like - this is it! And then he just hugs me and says 'This is beautiful isn't it?' I was like, are you serious? And it never came. Anyway he proposed on July 4th when we were with our friends so I definitely didn't see it coming. Anyway, sorry, let's keep going..what are we up to?
Ok, so what do you love most about each other? D: Like features or characteristics? H: Whatever comes to you. D: I really like her eyes, she has beautiful eyes as well as her humour. But also one thing that I've always liked about her was having a sense about how faithful she is in everything she does. H: I like Donald's abs. Hahaha, which he will have forever. Seriously, they just never go away. Abs that don't quit. D: They'll be under something, they'll always be there but maybe under a few layers H: And...he's got a lovely smile.
What is a pet hate or bad habit your partner has? H: Oooh let me think, I've got to think of one, it doesn't come straight at me but there is one, I'm sure of it. Do you have one you're thinking? D: Sometimes when I'm in the middle of a story, or I'm trying to explain... H: Oh yea I do I interrupt D: ...a concept or thought... H: Ooh like that! I just did it! D: ...she will just interrupt.. H: Hahaha D: *Silent* H: Bahahhaha D: Exactly...exactly like that! H: I do. D: But there's times where she will even try to finish what I'm saying and it's completely like, completely wrong! H: And he gets annoyed at me cos he's like 'I wasn't even going there' I was like 'Well you're taking too long to say it!' Haha sorry Donald keep going. D: I'm done haha. H: Well probably mine would be that you take too long to say something. Hahaha yeah, sometimes you express yourself a lot when you could have said it real quick.
What is one of your happiest memories together? D: I think besides our wedding day probably one of the coolest memories is actually Hannah being able to go to the States and meet my extended family and just see a little bit more of Texas. We were able to go to a really close friends wedding, and she was able to meet a lot of my extended family. I think that for me, was one of the happiest times outside the wedding because home is Melbourne for us, but she go to see a part of my life she wouldn't normally see. H: Yeah I probably would have said that trip too actually. Just having like a surprise engagement party in the States as well. It was just really fun getting to meet his family, it was a once in a lifetime trip sort of thing.
What's one of the hardest things about being married? H: Communication probably, for me. D: I reckon, yeah part of it would be communication, I think also learning how to live... H: Ooh learning how to cook, cos mum did it forever, just learning how to do everything on your own. D: I'd say it's learning how to live with a person that thinks and operates differently, has different experiences or expectations, and learning how to... H: Ooh he's got really high expectations on how to fold socks.
Are you joking? D: Yeah she is. H: No, I'm not joking!
What's one of the best things about being married? H: That you're together all the time. Instead of having to say goodbye every night, your're just together all the time and can chat about things and yeah, one of my favourite things is at the end of every day just coming home and as you're going to sleep talking about your day and praying together, it's really good. D: Yeah I reckon it's being able to build your life with someone. It's not just 2 separate parties that are cohabiting for a period of time or you meet up and go on dates. You're literally 1 now, and you get to build a life with someone, day in day out, but it's more than just being in a relationship, you actually build a life.
What are you looking forward to in the future? H: Buying a house, having kids. D: Getting a dog. Experiencing more things.. H: Like? D: Just life experiences I reckon. H: Going in a hot air balloon...I'm just throwing hints out now...skydiving.. D: That's a good one.
Do you know each others love languages and are they your strengths? D: Hannah's primary love language would be getting presents. H: Yeah mine would be gifts and quality time, and then yours would be words of affirmation...right? D: *shakes head* H: WHAT? D: Well it would be one of them. H: Oh what's the main one? D: Ummm physical touch... H: Oh yeah that's right. Oh yeah because he always says to me ...hahhaa... he's always like at night if I just do this (scratch his back) or whatever he's like 'Oh that's so good' and then I'll be like 'Eh I'm tired' and go to sleep. But he does it to me a lot and I'm ticklish, it tickles me so much I can't handle it. It's just natural for him to do that. So yeah mine would be gifts and his would be physical touch and words of affirmation, and they both definitely don't come naturally to me, so that's something that I need to work on. And Don you're good every now and then at getting me little gifts, but you know, you could always just increase that! Hahaha there's room for improvement...from both parties.
What's one piece of advice you would give someone starting a relationship? H: I would say be honest, honesty is huge. To just be yourself. D: I would say go in knowing what your convictions are and actually having it written out so you can know how you're going to live before actually getting to moments of having to make those decisions. Write it out so you can't say someone else told you how to do it or told you that you should live like that, but you're the one that's put pen to paper. That's what we did.
Is there anything you would change from your dating days that you think you could have done better? H: I think we did pretty well! Like I think the whole long distance thing set us up really well because for 6 months we had no physical touch, none of that distraction was in the way, it was all just really getting to know each other and working on the communication which is still a continuing process, but just to have that basis of communication first before anything else gets in the way was really really good. And we also put boundaries in place. D: I would say one thing though looking back that would have just been good would have been to speak up more about dreams or future desires. We did speak about it but I just say that in the sense of being able to know more at that time how to champion her and what she wanted to do.
Question from Jai & Stacey: How do you navigate the seasons of marriage and life, and keep the friendship alive? D: Well I think we're still learning how to navigate the seasons of life, but in regards to keeping the friendship alive its making sure we're actually planning times to invest into things that we enjoy doing. Making date nights or date days a priority, and actually knowing that those are things we hold really valuable. I think at the end of the day not taking ourselves too seriously all the time. In the midst of everything else going on just learning how to navigate through the seasons of life is looking at what has happened in the last season and thinking 'how can we do that better' or 'how can we invest into the next season more effectively than we did before'. H: I think the main thing of how to navigate through the seasons is if you are always putting God at the centre, He's going to help you. Something practically we also do is with our diaries every couple of weeks we will sit down and go through what's coming up, what we want to invest into and the people we want to be with. So we have a plan, a time, and I think that helps navigate the season so we don't get really flat out with stuff on every night. So planning together really helps us with balance as well.
Question for the next couple: What advice would you give your kids/future kids to make the most out of their relationships from the start, things you possibly could have done better?