Today is our 12th wedding anniversary, and I honestly can't believe it...(more like, I can't believe we made it this far. hahaha) Time has flown by especially ever since June came along!
I thought I would share 12 things about US and maybe some marriage tips I have learned first hand (I'm by no means a marriage expert, but I have "survived" 12 years of it to tell about it).
P.S. For those of you who might be confused by these pictures, this was taken earlier this year when we took a trip back to Taiwan to see my family. Mainly because 12 years ago when we hired our wedding photographer we didn't actually purchase digital images for an extra $350?! What?! I know...I know. So these will suffice. Plus June is in them and she's cute.
Taiwan has these photo studios where they give you clothes and make you up, and capture these fun memories. June actually had the most fun because she was completely dolled up from head to toe with 6-8 different outfit changes! She was beaming with delight. It was money well spent -- better than Disneyland in my opinion, where she only wanted to go on the Merry-Go-Round over and over again...another story for another time perhaps).
1. First time we met...I was a freshman at Northwestern University. Craig was a junior in my dorm, but age wise we are only 1 year apart. Our first meeting was interesting because we immediately figured out he knew my cousin who was a med student there at the time. It was not quite love at first sight, but I guess you could say after our first night staying up til 3am talking about God, and what brought us here, I was pretty sure this was the guy. He had just come off of an inner city missions trip in Boston, and decided he was going to become a pastor, and I had just come back from a missions trip from Mexico, also very excited about God. I had also vowed to myself to not date until after college...hmm... I guess things don't always turn out the way you expect them to. ;)
2. We dated for 5.5 years before we could get married, and even then my parents thought I was too young (I had just turned 24 that October). Craig was attending seminary in Los Angeles, and after I graduated from college I moved to LA to attend UCLA for my MFA in costume design, and to be close to him.
3. We waited 7 years to have June. Yes, it was a deliberate decision, because we were young and honestly too scared to have kids. We traveled a bunch, watched a lot of movies, explored new places, and because he was a pastor at the time and I was a costume designer, we practically spent every moment together and loved it. Life was really adventurous, fun, and spontaneous. But that all changed when June came along...I mean the spontaneous part. heh.
4. My favorite thing about Craig...is that he is an optimist, and is extremely emotionally stable. My old college counselor used to counsel pastors and their families and offered to talk with us when Craig and I were long distance for two years. He told me that Craig has very high EQ (Emotional Quotient), which has helped us tremendously through the toughest of times. He is slow to anger, super patient with me, unconditionally loving, and is funny (sometime inappropriately so especially when I'm angry with him). Anyway, he has kept me grounded and I am forever grateful to have married my best friend. I feel like the luckiest girl.
5. Music was apparently the way to my heart. One of the first things I learned about Craig is that he's very good on the guitar. And he sings. I have terrible coordination when it comes to playing an instrument while singing so that to me was incredible! He gave me an album he made with his friends full of songs he wrote and recorded, all inspired by his Christian faith. And the summer that he went to Guatemala for another missions trip during college, I missed him so much that I listened to his CD all summer long. Like all day, every day. My sister had to kindly ask me to stop playing it, or to put headphones on. hehe.
And years later, on the day he proposed to me, he made me cry with a song he wrote for me, "Girl of My Dreams", which is still my favorite song to date, and one that I still ask him to sing to me from time to time. I still cry every time I hear it.
6. Our relationship talking/listening ratio is 90/10.
So 90% me talking/him listening, and 10% him talking/me listening. I love that. It's the best way we complement each other. I love to connect with him while we're all snuggled up, and I'll go off about my great epiphany of the day, what exciting ideas or designs I have in mind, or why my day wasn't so great. Sometimes I'll get a little annoyed because he'll drift off before I realize it, and respond with snoring.
7. He believes in my dreams, and enables them. Did you know that Ele Story started because of him? Ever since we met, we would go along the Lake Michigan on campus, which overlooked the beautiful cityscape of Chicago. We even caught meteor showers and a shooting star on occasion! While standing on those huge rocks by the lake, we would pray out loud, share our dreams of the future, and what we would want to do in 10 years. Funnily enough, 4 years ago when he was in between jobs, he decided he wanted to help me realize my dream to have my own clothing line. I honestly did not take him seriously, because neither of us had a business background or experience in fashion, but he is an optimist (probably too much of one), a go-getter, and really, he made it all happen in a short period of 6 months...(It was in reality harder than it sounds...at the time I thought our marriage was going to fall apart because there was so much stress involved in trying to get a business started!).
8. The best thing we do for each other is to pray for each other. We've gone through a lot as a couple, surviving my mom's passing, having a baby, wrestling with God through bouts of unemployment, etc, etc, after he left the church to pursue "something else". But through thick and thin, God has been the one constant. I always tell him even when I'm unable to ask for prayer, that I need him to offer to pray for me.
9. We are not perfect by any means and our marriage has its ups and downs. The first 5 years of marriage one of our biggest struggles was actually that he was not used to cleaning up or tidying up, and I am OCD when it comes to cleaning and having a stress-free environment. It wore on me year after year, and I felt a lot of resentment, telling him, "You married not just a wife, but a cleaning lady too!"
I remember when we got to five years (finally!) he said in his usual jovial tone, "Happy anniversary! Five wonderful years!" My response was, "Um...are we going to make it to 10?"...It took us a long time (like 9 years) to get to a place where he finally can tidy up and take out the trash without my asking or reminding him, and he actually does help clean. And on occasion now we also hire cleaning help, because it is SO worth it. Worth every penny. Craig is always so surprised at how happy it makes me when we get help cleaning. It is still cheaper than marriage therapy, am I right?
10. We are as different as can be. He loves to entertain himself by plopping down in front of his device and watch anime (with subtitles). I have no "relax" mode. My relax mode is cleaning (see #8 haha), so sometimes that can be an issue. But we are similar in that we are both idealistic and believe in living out out our dreams (hence starting Ele Story!)
11. He is technically the CEO of our little company, but he also works a full time job. So he tries to support me and also support our family--his job is flexible so he works from home and helps with pick up and drop off, and cooking, and Ele Story. He really does a lot!
12. One of the few things we do have in common is our DEEP love for our daughter. We bond over this SO much. Almost every night we watch videos of her and see her pictures and talk about the things she said during the day. We also keep a journal that we both write to her, recording her newest sayings and documenting our life with her. We are so proud of her and for the way God has made her. She has a compassionate heart, and I prayed for that the most for her even before she was born. That she would have compassion. She is the best gift from God we have. By far.