What a week it’s been. Obviously, here, it’s been quieter than a mama crawling through her toddler’s room’s trying not to disturb nap time (admit it: you’ve done it).
But in “real” life, things have been hopping up in here. Which, come to think of it, is why the blog has been ringing eerily with the ghosts of blog-posts past.
Tuesday was Shaun’s and my 10th anniversary, you see. So, we tagged a little trip onto the beginning of a work trip he had to California and spent 5 glorious days driving down the Pacific Coast Highway, making stops in picturesque little towns along the way and eating (way too much) ridiculously good food. Theo was along for the ride, of course, and if you’ve been following along on Instagram and Facebook, you’ve gotten to see lots of his cute little mug in the past week.
I have several posts about the trip planned, but until then, I thought it might be fun to do another round of marriage Q & A a la last year’s 9th anniversary edition.
I’m including this post in our ongoing series called The I Do Chronicles, and if you want to see all of them in one place, you can here.
So, without further ado, here are the questions and answers that you didn’t even know you were dying to find out (but still were, I’m so sure).
1. How has having six kids in 10 years of marriage affected your relationship?
SHAUN – It gives you so many shared experiences–both enjoyable and challenging–and forces you to become more selfless (assuming that you go that direction instead of the resentful/annoyed route), which definitely helps your relationship. And it makes you really appreciate the times when you can get away, just the two of you.
ABBIE – I feel like it’s forced us to be very intentional about working on our marriage and putting it first (well, second, behind the Lord), even before our kids. We really do get along so much better when we’re carving out time for ourselves, even in very small ways (like that hour or so after we’ve gotten everybody in bed and before we go to bed ourselves, and we kind of just collapse on the couch to catch up on each other’s days). And the more connected we are, the nicer we are to each other and, by extension, to our kids too.
2. What is one thing you love about how he/she interacts with the kids?
SHAUN – I love it when she takes a moment out of a day when she’s got so many other things she could be doing to play/read/google something random the kids are dying to learn more about.
ABBIE – Ha! Yes, I’m the queen of: “I have no idea how fast an elephant can run. Let’s google it!” For my part, I love it when Shaun rolls around on the floor, playing “tickle spider” and giving horsey back rides. The kids adore him, and it’s not hard to see why.
3. What is one thing that surprises you after 10 years of marriage?
SHAUN – I am continually surprised to discover how selfish we’ve been and how, as we’ve let go of certain things, we’ve ended up getting closer and closer. And the self-centered desires that seemed so important just kind of fall away and don’t matter anymore.
ABBIE – I’m surprised by how much more I like my husband than I used to. Don’t get me wrong, I always liked him. A lot. But I assumed that the early giddy/fluttery tummy stage was going to be the height of my interest, when, in actuality, the more we become one, and the closer we get, the more I just love having him in the room because he’s honestly my favorite person.
4. How has he/she grown in the last 10 years?
SHAUN – Okay, so this is Abbie answering for Shaun because, as it turns out, when I asked him this question, he had already answered it in depth with his anniversary gift (which I hadn’t gotten yet). I’ll elaborate more on that in a post soon, but suffice it to say that he was really nice and said that I’d grown in lots of things–from patience to compassion to beauty and more. Yeah, like I said. NICE.
ABBIE – I’ve seen him develop so much as a dad. Shaun is naturally good with kids, but it’s really hard for men to relate to so many of the more mundane, daily tasks we mamas are so used to–like bottom-wiping and meal-prep and car seat buckling and tantrum subduing and…and..and…
More and more, I see him giving credence to these things and taking them on himself to lighten my load or just because they need doing. I don’t think I have to explain in detail to any fellow mamas out there just how ridiculously attractive it is to see your husband bending down to your child’s level to buckle a sandal or kiss a boo-boo. I’ve also seen him grow as a spiritual leader, and I’m so excited that my boys (and girls) have his example to follow.
5. If you didn’t know us, you’d still be able to tell we’ve been married for a decade because…
SHAUN – While my goal would be that we still act like newlyweds, I’m pretty sure the fact that we burst out with the same phrases or recollections when we see or hear certain things and have a habit of finishing each other’s sentences would be a dead giveaway of how long we’ve been together.
ABBIE – …of the way I’m constantly grooming him (eyebrows mostly), and he just lets me (after a bit of side-eye with a mock frown). He knows by now that resistance is futile.
6. Any big plans for the next 10 years?
SHAUN – Well, six more kids, obviously (laughs…then groans a little). But seriously, I’d love to do some fun road trips as a family. And develop some more family traditions that our kids can look back on fondly.
ABBIE – I would love to travel more as a family too! I’d also love to see our family do more service projects and gospel outreach. I’m not exactly sure what that looks like, since it’s hard to find situations that accommodate so many kids, and we’re likely to be blessed with more. But I’ve already seen the Lord be faithful to honor this desire with opportunities if I’m open to them, and I know He’ll continue to do so.
7. What are 10 adjectives you would use to decribe him/her right now?
SHAUN – Beautiful, creative, talented, loyal, honest, beautiful, fit, funny, selfless, generous, lively,and beautiful… did I already mention that?
ABBIE – Funny, kind, servant-hearted, playful, observant, patient, encouraging, understanding, hard-working, and hot (and I don’t mean the temperature, y’all).
8. Describe your perfect date these days.
SHAUN – A period of time with no kid-distractions, where we’re relaxed, we’re not using our phones/computers, and we’re just spending time together. Doesn’t matter what we’re doing.
ABBIE – Honestly, it’s so much trouble to find babysitting and get all gussied up for a night out that an evening at home cooking a yummy meal together after the kids are in bed with our Mostly Martha “soundtrack” on in the background, taking breaks between meal prep to dance in the kitchen, and then chatting over a leisurely dinner is kind of my holy grail of “dates” right now.
9. Name 10 things you love that he/she does.
SHAUN – I love the way she 1) Has a way with words and cares how they are used (read: grammar geek). Yes, I actually like this; there’s something wrong with me too. 2) Tells a lively story. 3) Takes opportunities to teach our kids what it means to be Christian and why it matters. 4) Does all of her many and often thankless jobs with so few complaints. 5) Let’s me take a remote camping vacation with my Dad and brother when it means she will be left to watch all 6 kids by herself for 9 days… and makes me think she’s genuinely happy to give me the opportunity. She’s amazing. 6) Cooks. Good. Food. 7) Can do foreign accents surprisingly well. 8) Surprises me randomly in the middle of the work day with a plate of warm, delicious cookies. 9) Wears her hair the way I like it even when it’s not exactly her style. 10) Makes our house look and feel like home but doesn’t care about it so much that it keeps our family from enjoying it.
ABBIE – I love the way he: 1) sticks his tongue out when he’s concentrating, 2) is always willing to play chauffer, even for hours upon hours of driving 3) takes the kids on rides on the lawn-mower when he’s doing yardwork 4) always notices when I wear my hair his favorite way, 5) can talk me down from any anxiety ledge, usually when I am complaining about my “many and often thankless jobs” 6) does Bible reading with the kids in the morning 7) tries so hard (and usually fails) to get matching outfits for the twins on Sunday mornings 8) grabs a towel and is standing there waiting to help with bathtime if he’s home 9) makes silly/clever puns out of just about anything 10) can build anything he sets his hand to
SHAUN – Food. Like most men, my heart can be reached via my stomach, and she uses this to great effect. If I’m having a tough day I will often find that, after a surprise treat and special note or one of my favorite meals, things don’t seem quite so tough.
ABBIE – Those puns I mentioned definitely always put a smile on my face. He’s very quick, and a lot of times, his turns of phrases catch me by surprise and make me laugh out loud, even (or especially?) when I’m having a down moment. He’s also really good at being sympathetic while poking gentle fun at whatever’s bothering me, which helps put things back in perspective if I’m being dramatic.
And there you have it. 10 questions. 10 answers. 10 wonderful years.