This week I had the absolute pleasure of interviewing my amazing parents in law, Don & Angie. They are an incredible couple of faith, and I loved hearing some of their stories on how they do life together.
How long have you been together for? D: 34 and a half years. A: Probably. D: Christmas Day 1981.
And how long were you dating beforehand? D: Only for a couple of months, it happened in a big rush. A: We got engaged September 15th and got married on December 25th 1981.
Woah! So how did you meet? D: I use to work with Angie in the youth group, and we worked together for about 6 months. I went and asked her father if I could keep company with her Friday night, asked her if she would marry me Sunday night, and we had our first date Tuesday night when we were engaged. A: So it was 6 months we knew each other before we got engaged, 3 months before we got married.
And was it love at first sight? D: Oh she was desperate for me! A: Haha he has the story that I kept running after him but it's not true. D: It's alive in my memory! Haha.
So did it take you a while to warm up or you were both interested from the beginning? A: Well if you talk to Betty Anderson who was the Senior Pastors wife, she will tell you that I caught him because I was the only one that wasn't chasing him. There were a lot of single young ladies at the church that were after him, but apparently I wasn't chasing him and so he caught me. D: I had a list of things that I had been praying for 10 years for in a wife, and Angie ticked all the boxes. So when I knew I had found a Godly woman I thought, well I better grab her. A: You forgot to tell the last bit.. D: No I didn't..haha I use to say that I had a list and Angie was everything on the list I wanted - I just forgot to specify the colour! Haha... don't put that in. A: No! Put it in, put it in! Haha
Was the cultural difference ever a challenge for you both? D: No honestly, I just see her as Angie, I never see that we're different. Short story. We were teaching Cross Cultural Communication in Malaysia and all of a sudden I had a light bulb moment. Every now and then just for no reason we'd start banging heads. No big issue just all of a sudden we start banging heads. And then I realised what it was. Eastern culture banging heads with Western culture. After 25 years of marriage, haha, we figured it out. A: What really was the factor was that I grew up in Malaysia. The first 17 years of my life was in Malaysia so you can take the girl out of Malaysia but you can't take Malaysia out of the girl. D: So when she hits a crisis situation, she snaps back to Malaysia.
And what does that look like? D: Different from the West! A: But I've lived in Australia for 45 years! It's interesting.
What do you love most about each other? D: She's probably the most thoughtful...this lady would make herself sick looking after me. And at the moment because of the health situation, that's the biggest thing that we bang heads with, she's trying so hard to look after me, and I'm trying so hard to be independent. And that causes heartache. A: I asked the Lord for a man that would love God more than I did, who would not drink, gamble or smoke, and God answered my prayers, and that's Don Boots. D: Gosh he must be a nice bloke.
Any pet hates/bad habits? D: Where would you like me to start? I'm profoundly selfish.. A: No she was asking about me, not you. D: Oh haha, well I honestly can't think of one then. Honestly. A: We are with each other 24/7 and have been. In 34 years it's only been 5 and a half years where Don actually worked in a church in office hours and was paid. Other than that we worked out of our home because we had a small church and God has supplied all our needs. We work with each other all the time. D: I'm at the stage in life where I'll have a thought in my mind and she'll speak it, or she'll have a song in her mind and I'll start singing it, you know? A: It's weird but it's true!
What is one of your happiest memories together? D: I'd have to say God's gift to us of 4 sons. A: Yep. D: Just didn't want them all in a fortnight like they came! Haha.
What is one of the hardest things you have faced together as a married couple? A: One of the hardest things we've faced is probably the diagnosis of parkinson's disease 3 years ago. D: Isn't that funny, I would have said Micah and viral meningitis..that was a tough time. A: Ok...well for me, because I knew 2 years before the diagnosis, it was really hard the day that Don was diagnosed but yes, Don's right, when Micah was 18 months old, we were in America and he was diagnosed with viral meningitis, and how many children do you know that have had viral meningitis and grow up to be an adult and a father? So those 24 hours after the diagnoses were the hardest.
What is one of the best things about being married? D: We get to do life together. A: Yeah. Companionship. D: I mean everything I like she likes and everything she likes I like...
Was it always like that? A: I don't think so, we've grown close and grown together. Well we tandem teach, we take turns to preach, we just enjoy doing life together. D: It's good when people come and visit us, but it's good when they go away because we get to be together again. A: Haha
What are you looking forward to in the future? D: Living life with dignity and to the best of my ability. A: Yeah. For Don for the rest of his life to be living a life of dignity and not feeling like he is a burden to anyone, which he does feel sometimes.
Do you know each others love languages and are they your strengths? D: Ummm.. A: Yeah we do know each others love languages. D: What's my love language? A: You like touch and you want to be affirmed and told that you are.. D: Yeah see I wouldn't have said that, I would have said mine was doing things for you... A: That's right, mine for you is ... wait let's get this right.. D: My way of showing you that I love you is that I.. A: Do things for me. D: I serve you. A: And my way that would be good for you would be if I touch you and love you through physical touch and being affirmed, and respect. And I also just like to be affirmed that I'm doing a good job, and he does that all the time.
Did it take a while for you to figure the love languages out? D: No well, from the day we got married, the last thing she hears at night is I love you, goodnight. And the first thing she hears in the morning is good morning, I love you. One of the things I also did right with the kids is when they were little I said 'This is the Boots rule - you are never too old to kiss your father.' And everyone still comes up and gives me a kiss, and see I never heard my father tell me he loved me, and so whenever I'm around my kids there's never a time they don't hear their father say 'Hey I love you'. A: We sat down and worked things we didn't like from our own families, and one of the things was I never heard my father...Oh I heard my father say once that he loved me and...you can tell the story. D: We were talking one day and Angie just said, 'My dad never said that he loved me' and I said 'What do you mean? He's still alive!' she said, 'He's never told me.' So I said 'Get in the car!' Haha so we drove around and I said, 'David, Angie said you've never told her you love her' and he said, 'She knows' and so I said 'Tell her you love her.'...'She knows I love her'...'Tell her you love her.' and this went on for about 5 minutes. I wore him down and he said 'I love you.' and how many months later? A: 6 months later. D: 6 months late he died, and that was the only time. And the funny thing is, I crave that, but it will never happen. I'll never hear my dad say, 'I'm proud of you son' so I want to do for my kids what I wanted and never got for me. I use to be walking along with the boys and say 'Hey listen love'.... A: He still calls them sweetie and love! D: And the crowd of people are gonna think we're as bent as... A: But you still do it. D: Because now it's just so natural. A: But we physically sat down and said these are the things we've brought to the marriage from our own families, and these are the things we want to change. There were a lot of things that I didn't want to take from the asian/indian culture into marriage in Australia. D: I understand there's been a bit of a blow to his name, but I want to thank Bill Gothard for a lot of the things that I do in my life. He's the only single man I'd ever take advice about marriage from because some of the things, a vast majority of the things I do are from his seminars that we went to.
What is your favourite thing to do together? - they both looked at each other and smiled at this point A: Ride the motorbike! D: Yep! A: We've had lots of fun on the motorbike. We've gone across the Nullarbor 4 times.. D: Lord willing we'll do it in 2017...hey I'll be 70 then, wouldn't that be fun? That's my birthday present from you to me.
Is that Lord willing or Angie willing? D: Bit of both. Haha. A: Bit of both at the moment. Not that I'm not willing, I'm not sure that we can do it.. D: If we had to compromise what I would grudgingly agree to is we would ship it over east and then ride it back. But I'd like to do east to west. But I mean we're retired, so it takes us a month, who cares? A: We'll see.
Random question to mix things up a little: If your partner was an animal, what would they be and why? A: Goodness gracious. D: I have no idea! A: I'll be a bantam chicken I'm sure. D: I'm afraid I'm going to have to draw a blank on that one... A: Haha. I would say he's stubborn as a bull, but that's good! Because he loves the Lord and he'll never give up on it and he wanted to bring up good men of God, and he's done it because of the stubbornness in him. So it's not a negative thing it's a positive thing.. D: And it occasionally drives you nuts. A: Yeah I mean with parkinson's he's fighting every day, and that's what will see him through. So it's a good thing.
Question from Don & Hannah: What advice would you give your kids to make the most of their relationships from the start? Things you possible could have done better? D: That's easy, treat each other with respect and love at all times. And when you have an argument fight the problem not the person. A: That's right. You're not flighting against flesh and blood, remember that, very important thing in life. I would also say learn from our mistakes and don't be as tough on your kids as we were. If I had to do it again I think, although I'd be strict, I wouldn't be overly strict, does that make sense? I would be a gentle mother instead of a strict mother. D: And what Angie says is right, but you've got to understand, you're talking about 4 kids in 4 years. Every time you turn around there's another one popping out! You imagine having 4 teenagers in your house at the one time. A: Between the ages of 14 and 24 I don't think I slept a good nights sleep. And if you ask any of them they'll tell you that when they came home late I would be sitting on the stairs waiting for them. D: Baseball bat in hand. A: No no baseball bats. I made a deal with God and said that when they're going through young adulthood I want to hear them come home, pray with them, kiss them, but then I need to go back to sleep. When they became adults, it was like the Holy Spirit said 'Now you don't have to stay awake, they're my children and I'll look after them.'
D: We've made a lot of mistakes, but the one thing that I recommend that every parent does together as a family, is to memorise scripture 5 days a week. And I'm convinced because the bible says "Your word have I hid in my heart, that I might not sin against you and, your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path". Most of them went and had their little play, but the word was hidden in their heart and that stopped them from doing stupid things. So parents - memories scripture with your kids. We've been telling people to do this for 20 years now, and if 20 couples did it, I'd be surprised. But I'm telling ya, it saved our family. A: It really works, it works better than anything else. It worked for us because we have 4 sons that love the Lord. They do different things but they all love the Lord. And if I was to die tonight, I can go home happily knowing that we have brought up our 4 sons to love the Lord and done the best we could with them.
Last question just for fun: Would you say Ezra is your favourite son? Haha A: We have no favourites! D: You can't see this but I'm pointing at somebody! Haha A: No we do not have any favourites. They're all our sons... D: According to the boys, Aaron is Mamamas favourite, Ira is Nans favourite, Micah is my favourite and Ezra is Angie's favourite - the boys worked this out. A: But we intentionally have no favourites, we give gifts that are equal, we try our hardest to do everything that's equal, but they've come up with that! Haha