In the grand scheme of things, I’m sure four years still falls solidly into the “newlywed” category of marriage. That’s exactly why it’s so jarring to me to realize that, although I can play back crystal-clear memories from my wedding day in my mind, the bride who walked down the aisle to Dave Kirk feels so different from the person I am now. This may still be the beginning state of our marriage, but so, so much life has happened in these four years: our first apartment, our first house, our first child, leaving jobs, launching a business, passing the CPA, starting jobs. Parenting a baby who turned into a toddler. Celebrating a second pregnancy and mourning its end. Every experience has tested us and stretched us and turned us into slightly different people than we were four years ago today when, honestly, life felt pretty simple.
One of the greatest gifts of getting married young has been that, along with experiencing all of these life moments that define our 20s together, we’ve had the opportunity to grow as one. Dave has been my rock through all of those things our vows promised we would someday face together: better, worse, abundance, lack, sickness, health. There have been moments when we could literally look at each other and say “This is what we vowed we would love and honor each other through.”
Marriage isn’t always easy, but gosh, loving him is. Because although he’s a little different now, he’s also the charming 21-year-old I was smitten with in the mountains of Austria and the boyfriend I FaceTimed with every night for over a year when we were long-distance and the groom grinning at the top of the aisle. I wake up every single morning a little bit in awe that I got to marry the man I didn’t even to dare to ask God for, but who I have been head over heels for since day one. My prayer is that in all that lies ahead, we only continue to grow together, leaning into the ways that stretches us and finding joy in each day of it.
In honor of our anniversary, we asked people on Instagram to share their marriage-related questions for us! Obviously, we’re far from experts, but here are a few that we enjoyed sharing our two cents on.
Did you include anything special in your Nuptial Mass?
Lisa: We loved personalizing our wedding Mass through the readings and music we chose, and spent so much time praying about them. We selected each reading based on hopes and prayers we had for our marriage. Here’s the breakdown. First Reading: Tobit 8:4b-8 (for the line “I take this wife of mine not out of lust, but for a noble purpose”–swoon!), Psalm 103 (our favorite), Second Reading: Hebrews 13:1-4a, 5-6b (so much goodness packed into this reading of what we hoped to prioritize and live out together), Gospel Acclamation: 1 John 4:12, Gospel: Mark 10:6-9 (“what God has joined together, no human being must separate”). I walked down the aisle to “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing” on the piano. The song for the Presentation of the Gifts was “Be Thou My Vision” and the Communion Hymn was “What Wondrous Love Is This.” We processed back up the aisle as husband and wife to the traditional Mendelssohn’s Wedding March on the organ because I bawled hearing it during our meeting with the music director!
How do you celebrate your anniversary each year? Do you give each other the traditional anniversary gifts?
Lisa: It has varied! So far, we’ve serendipitously ended up being able to take a trip on or near our anniversary. We spent our first anniversary in Singapore, our second in Charleston, and are headed to Charleston again this weekend. Partially because we direct our budget toward traveling and partially because our anniversary falls right after both of our birthdays, we have actually never exchanged physical anniversary gifts. I honestly don’t expect to until our tenth anniversary, when I want a fancy right-hand ring ;) So no, that said, we don’t follow the traditional gift suggestions.
What are your favorite books on marriage?
Lisa: Is it bad that we don’t read many? If I do read a marriage book, it typically centers around the theology of the body and St. John Paul II’s teachings on marriage, so I love Love and Responsibility and The Theology of the Body for Beginners. Dave is on a Fulton Sheen kick and bought Three to Get Married, which we can’t wait to dig into!
What are your best tips for conflict management?
Dave: I am slightly better at this than Lisa…Lisa is, let’s say, a little bit stubborn :) But my top tip for all conflicts in marriage is to remember who you’re arguing with. If I think of a snarky comment that might “win” the argument but will hurt Lisa’s feelings, I try not to say it and take the L instead. Remembering that it’s my wife who I love that I’d be insulting helps me bite my tongue. But I have to say, it’s hard to lose sometimes!
What are your favorite at-home date ideas when you can’t find a babysitter?
Lisa: Weekly pizza night! We also love picking out a bottle of wine at our local wine shop and drinking it on our screened-in porch during the warmer months.
What are your favorite out-of-the-house date ideas, on a budget?
Dave: We have not figured this one out, to be honest. We both love good food and drink so our dates usually end up revolving around those, which are expensive. We save a little bit of money by going on dates when our parents are in town and can babysit. My favorite date night on a budget, which is sort of out of the house? Sitting on our back porch splitting a bottle of grüner veltliner and just talking.
Are you two similar or opposites?
Dave: A little of both. We’re opposites in that I’m more extroverted and Lisa is an introvert, and I’m very numbers and logic-oriented, while Lisa is more verbal and emotional. That said, we agree on most things and have a solid foundation built on our faith, which I think is the most important thing.
What is the silliest thing you always argue about?
Lisa: What a fun question! Our silliest arguments all seem to be food-related. Dave complains about the price of my favorite cereal and the added sugar in my favorite peanut butter every single time I buy them and it drives me NUTS. Considering we are talking about $3.50 and 3g, I think he needs to shut it once and for all :P
Dave: Lisa has a bad habit of confirming to me that this time is different and she definitely has all the ingredients on her grocery list…until we are making dinner and one of the ingredients was definitely not bought.
How do you love each other well?
Lisa: The best way Dave loves me is that he always acknowledges and affirms where I am, while, at the same time, encouraging me to take everything to prayer. He has done that for me in the trenches of life with a newborn when I was in tears every night, when I turned to him before bed and said “Hey, I have a kind of crazy idea…I think I’m going to email Gal Meets Glam and see if I can do any freelance writing for them,” and every single time that I feel overwhelmed or not good enough for what is ahead of me. He also wakes up 20 minutes before me every day to make me coffee in the Chemex so it’s ready when I wake up…the value of which cannot be overstated :)
Dave: I always tell Lisa that she is most attractive to me as a mother. She loves me well by loving our family well, whether that’s reading to or playing with Charlie or working on about five different side hustles during his naps, I love the way she cares for us and she shows it every day in whatever that day might look like.
How did you know he/she was the one?
Lisa: If you know a little of our story, you may know that we first met when we were both dating other people…perhaps not the most ideal time to meet your future spouse! I knew Dave was special right away because when we were together, it just felt magic. Our setting (the mountains of Austria and the places we traveled to together throughout Europe) certainly didn’t hurt, but it was more than that…we connected on such a deep level and I felt more myself with him than I ever had with anyone else. Very long story short, it took us three years from that semester to finally get together, but once we did, there was literally not a doubt in my mind that he was the one. The moment I finally saw him again after all those years, I felt like the wind had been knocked out of me–I knew immediately that I was going to marry him.
Dave: God always aligns things in just the right way. I think it was less than three days after I had the internal realization that I needed to let go of my own will for my life that Lisa and I reconnected. When you trust in His will, the truth becomes abundantly clear. A few weeks after that, I knew I’d marry her.
Happy four years, Dave! I love you more than ever.