Today’s featured Spouse Date couple is Brian and Denise.
Brian and Denise have been married 9 years, but have known each other for 19 years. They are from Long Island, New York and have three wonderful and spirited young boys, ages 6, 4 and 1. Brian is an account manager for a building controls company. Denise is a teacher and also a blogger at Fun Family Dates.
How did you first meet?
Brian and I first met at the tender age of 15. We went to the same high school, but up until the day we met had never seen each other before (our school was huge). While on a school trip to Washington DC, we met while browsing through a museum. We were both instantly smitten. We spent the rest of the trip talking and laughing nonstop. From the moment we met it was like a magnet drew us together. I remember feeling as if I was floating on a cloud. It was a real life boy meets girl love story.
What was your first date? What encouraged you to keep dating?
We went to the movies for our first date to see the original Toy Story. It is hard to believe that was nearly 20 years ago. His mom picked me up and drove us to the mall. We had a bite to eat at the mall’s food court and than caught our movie. I remember feeling completely comfortable together, like we had known each other our entire lives. We were young and it was magical. It was my first date ever with anyone! I got lucky that my first date was a keeper.
What was your best date ever and what made it so outstanding?
Our best date ever was when Brian surprised me with tickets to the Broadway show Wicked. We had just had our second baby three months prior and I was up to my head in mommy overwhelm. We got all dolled up and headed off to the theater. When we arrived there, I was presented with yet another surprise…front row seats! It was an incredible show with an incredible husband. Afterwards, we strolled around Manhattan and found a lovely place to enjoy a quant dinner. Even though we could have taken the train home, we made the most of our date by staying over night at a fancy hotel. I felt like a queen. That little getaway was something we both needed.
How do other people describe you as a couple?
To help with this question we asked some family and friends how they would describe us. Here is what they said:
- Respectful of each other
- Complement each other well
- Best friends
- A team
- Supportive of each other’s goals and decisions
- Good listeners
- Great parents
What’s one of the biggest challenges you have faced as a couple and how has that challenge affected your marriage? How would you encourage other couples that may be facing this challenge?
When Brian and I discovered we were expecting our third baby, we quickly realized that our little starter home was way too small to comfortably stay in. Unfortunately, we bought our home in 2006, right before the housing market crashed. Our original plan of buying a starter home, selling it five years later and using the equity as a down payment for our forever home was not going to happen. There was no longer equity in our home, so we needed to come up with a new plan. We were very blessed that my parents offered to have us stay with them for a year, while we saved for a down payment for a new home. We decided that taking my parents up on their offer and selling our house to live with them would allow us the opportunity to save at a much faster rate.
We made the decision together and knew that ultimately it would be temporarily uncomfortable and challenging, but the reward in the end would be worth it. Luckily, Brian and my parents get along well and we made it work. We sold our house right before my third son was born. Our family moved from our beloved first home when I was 9 months pregnant into my childhood bedroom. There was an extra room where the boys slept and we basically took over my parents’ basement as a playroom. It was tight, but the year went fast. Exactly a year later after we moved in with my parents we bought our dream home. It never would have been possible without the generosity of my parents and the strength of our marriage. We learned from this experience as a couple we are able to make short term sacrifices to reap a greater future for our family. Brian and I learned to look past our immediate desires, practice patience and take a leap of faith.
What are some marriage resources that have helped you build a better marriage?
There is no doubt about it I am a definite personal development junkie. I love learning all I can about growing as a person, wife and mother. Brian is not as interested in consuming this type of information, but is always ready and welcome to listen to and discuss any nuggets of wisdom I bring to the table.
I highly recommend any work by Brene Brown. My favorite book of hers is The Gifts of Imperfection. She writes a great deal about love, connection, belonging and ultimately what it takes to be a wholehearted person. Much of what I have learned from Brene Brown I translate into my everyday relationships, including my marriage.
Tell us about an “Aha!” moment that you have had in your marriage and how that has helped you become a better spouse.
A major “Aha!” moment in our marriage came soon after we brought our first son home from the hospital. Brian and I were sitting down to dinner when suddenly it fully dawned on us that we actually did it. We brought a life into the world and our lives would never be the same. We were thrilled and terrified at the same time. It was an incredibly beautiful and vulnerable moment. It was right then and there that a new level of connection was established. We discovered that all we needed was each other’s love and support to help guide us through this new uncharted territory of parenthood.
When you think about your future together, what are you most excited about?
Brian and I are both excited to watch our children grow, thrive, discover their passions, and develop strong meaningful relationships.
We are also very excited about traveling and exploring the world. Bring on the adventure!
What is your idea of the ideal date?
The ideal date for us at this juncture of our lives would involve:
- Arranging to have a family member watch the kids
- Getting take out and a good movie both of us want to see
- Comfortably relaxing in our own home. We would be able to fully enjoy each other’s company and most notably be able to talk without interruption.
As simple as this date sounds, it is actually quite novel for this stage in our lives where having an adult conversation and a house to ourselves is a rare gem.
Be sure to visit Denise and her family over at Fun Family Dates!