Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Newlywed Q&A: Marriage, Cockroaches, Dysentery

We had a great weekend with Jeremy & Courtney, who gamely consented to our little experiment. They were busy with a wedding on Saturday, but we managed to squeeze in a few questions between the ceremony and the reception.

I have to say what a blessing this was. There was something about not only hearing their replies, but actually watching them talk all this out that was so moving. There's nothing earth-shatteringly profound here (though Jeremy gets points for name-checking Dietrich Bonhoeffer), but you could see in their responses that they were both reaching to connect in their perceptions and growing understanding. This even manifest itself in a little game of footsie that was played toward the end of the interview.

Courtney's only concern in reading the transcript was that she felt like she didn't come across as loving to Jeremy as she really feels. Trust me, Courtney, we all felt it that afternoon.


Let's start off with something light, literally. Christmas lights: white or multicolored ? (Erin McCroskey)
J: We didn’t have that discussion
C: We didn’t but we did decorate your tree together last year. We have varying styles. You use tinsel.
(Katy gasps)
K: We used tinsel when we were kids!
C: We always had the multicolored lights, with a hodgepodge of ornaments, so that’s what I like.
K: Will you start your own traditions?
C: I don’t know.
J: I get tired of the same thing year to year. Maybe we’ll have two trees. Are you willing to compromise on Christmas?
C: I don’t know.
J: I don’t know that you are either
(everyone laughs)

How do you show Christ to your spouse? (Tyler Anderson)
J: That is a tough one…we’re still in a lot of ways figuring out who we are as individuals and together. Maybe in encouraging you. I’m not good at the daily encouragement, but encouraging you to do the thing you love.
C: I think the biggest thing is patience with each other, you’ve made these big decisions and trying to maybe, die to your own desires.
J: It’s one of those things in premarital counseling that you knew would be a big deal, but you had no idea. Thirty-three years on your own, and you’re used to doing the same things you always did.
C: You have these dreams, and now there’s this whole other person who…
J: …may not have those same dreams. I don’t want to go to Calcutta…cockroaches, dysentery.

What’s something from your parents’ marriages that you’ve taken to help your marriage? (Laurie Wersching)
J: I think for me, and this is not…in our culture today, we can be swept up in romance. I think I look at my parents and I see that it’s not this great romance so much, but that they’ve worked hard at it, and I knew that we could do that. It’s not like I’ve had a lot of conflict, but I do see that they’re just so committed to each other. It’s not just about the feelings. I remember in our premarital counseling, we read this article by Dietrich Bonhoeffer, were he challenged you to be more committed to the marriage than even your partner.
C: I think some of that is the same with my parents. They seemed like they were really good friends, were really supportive of each other. There was maybe some conflict, but it wasn’t always played out in front of us. My dad was always really good about asking for forgiveness when he needed, even to us kids. And I know I’ll need to ask for forgiveness too sometimes.
J: We still don’t do the best at it.

Do you sleep with the bedroom door open or closed? And how would you react to the sound of your spouse slamming into a closed door in the middle of the night?(Kristin Fillingham)
J: We kind of leave it open, like half.
C: I always grew up with it closed.
J: One of is usually getting up in the middle of the night.
(what would you do if Courtney ran into the door?)
C: Jeremy’s response would probably be to laugh, then ask if I was okay.
J: (long pause) Probably.

What’s the biggest compromise you feel you’ve had to make so far? (Angie Lindsay?)
J: I don’t know, I haven’t really thought about it. Apparently, when we get to decorating the Christmas tree…
C: I don’t know, I typically think the big things, like where to live, naturally made sense.
J: I know…it’s that you get to drive the [new] car. Now I’m okay with it.
C: Mainly because it was replacing my car.
J: You made compromises with Katie (Jeremy's dog).
C: I feel like bigger compromises are probably yet to come. Holidays somewhat.
J: In a way, I guess I feel like all of our decisions are compromises, and you tend to go with what’s sensible, especially with the holidays.
C: Maybe the biggest thing is, he is more social than I am, and I think I would be more comfortable being at home more…making plans, not making plans.
J: I would say that’s pretty true. I could be social all day, but I think she needs more down time than I do.

What things with the wedding should we not miss? (Catherine Cooker)
C: I feel like I had the experience of being able to take it in, like, people’s faces…I can remember coming down the aisle and seeing it all.
J: I would say I really valued having the time getting ready with the guys, taking that time, it was fun, trying to figure out the bowtie. I think people are right when they say it’s your day, do what you want to do. I think one of the things was being able to connect with my parents a little bit. From their perspective, it was really nice. My dad especially was really happy for us.
C: I think some of that was the same for me. Seeing my best friend a few days early, going to get coffee, having those pockets of calmness with people I didn’t get to see a whole lot.
J: There is a lot going on, but for us, I feel like it went pretty smoothly. I didn’t feel overwhelmed.
C: I liked that we had breakfast the day of the ceremony, that we got to see each other a little bit.

After three months, what’s your favorite part of being married? (Catherine Cooker)
J: I would say, living together…waking up together, the nice little moments that make a day. Getting ready for work, we all do it, but its nice doing it together.
C: I would say the same thing, you don’t have to say goodbye. I wasn’t sure what I would think about the getting ready, I’ve had roommates before, but it is different.

What has been the most unexpected aspect of your transition to married life? (Eric Wheeler)
J: I think…I really did…it would be easier, with conflict
C: It hasn’t been THAT hard. What is he talking about?
J: It hasn’t, but that whole loss of independence, dying to yourself, even mourning that. My time isn’t really my time. But it’s all hers now, too. I think it’s that social aspect, too, knowing that I can make plans.
C: Maybe this interview should be over

For ladies: what makes you feel loved? For men: what makes you feel respected? (Shannon Kekhaev)
C: He can be really encouraging, about pursuing dreams, photography, I can tell that he’s supportive and has confidence and faith in me. Last night I was upset about some other stuff, and he just reached over and took my hand. I think that means a lot to me.
J: When she has dinner on the table and does what I tell her to do (everyone laughs). That’s an interesting question, I don’t really think about “being respected”. I think those terms more with regard to my job, but…respected…I think it’s just that it’s knowing she’s listening to me, and hearing what I’m saying. I think of it more in terms of feeling “valued”. I know, too, that there is that role for me as a husband when I don’t know what to say to her, but I know that grabbing her hand makes a difference, and that makes me feel valued, there’s a special role that I can play that someone else can’t


Pretty sweet, huh?

As for the "winner" of our favorite question: that person has already been notified and their prize will be on its way shortly. But I'm curious to know...who would you pick?


  1. I'd choose Erin (the Christmas light dilemma). Because if she won she would get the goodies and would then share them with me.
    Truthfully, every single question led me to consider waaaaay back to when Bill and I married. An enjoyable memory exercise. And every question was a good one. Congratulations to the winner!

  2. Thanks for sharing! I was hoping to hear a summary--I wasn't expecting a transcript!

  3. Now you have to interview a couple that have been together for a really long time- :) That was pretty sweet, though