Gerald and Michelle have been married for two years and live in the Washington D.C. metro area. Gerald is in product management in the software industry and Michelle is an interior designer at an architecture firm. They recently started an awesome and exciting small business, Date to Door, out of a need they saw to support dating within marriages.
How did you first meet?
We met in college within a Christian organization called Cru. We knew of each other through friends in common, but we first met on a short mission trip to inner city Chicago.
What was your first date? What encouraged you to keep dating?
Our first date involved several stops. We started in Barnes and Noble getting coffee and checking out different books. I had a silly idea to put little inspirational notes on strips of paper in some of the self-help books. Later that night, we climbed the lights to the football stadium in our college and star gazed for a couple of hours. We realized during our conversations over stargazing that we had a lot of similar goals and ambitions for life. That really encouraged us to keep dating, which eventually led to marriage 🙂
What was your most memorable date ever and what made it so outstanding?
The day I proposed to Michelle was my most memorable. We went on several little dates throughout the day that tied in different memories from our relationship. We ended up back on top of those lights, for a second time, for the actual proposal. I’ll never forget when she said yes.
How do other people describe you as a couple?
We are outgoing and complimentary to each other. Michelle makes up for all of my bad qualities and is slowly making me a much better man. And I am only highlighting her great qualities. So maybe she is just a good match for me!
What’s the biggest challenge you’ve had to overcome as a couple and how has that shaped your marriage? How would you advise another couple facing a similar thing?
Our biggest challenge has been managing expectations. We’ve realized that all of our arguments and disagreements stem from mismanaged expectations. When we don’t communicate our assumptions and expectations to each other, we have a much larger possibility to be disappointed. So we’ve taken steps to make sure we communicate better for big things, small things, and everything in between. Now, I will know exactly what I need to do in order to meet her expectations for things like a weekend trip or a run to the gym. And the same goes for her.
What marriage resources have helped your relationship the most?
We took a test and marital counseling through a program called Prepare/Enrich. It basically lets you know what your strengths and weaknesses are as a couple and as individuals. They don’t call them weaknesses though. They call them growth areas, which is great because that’s what they are. Then you go through your test results with a certified Prepare/Enrich counselor for a couple of weeks. We want to do that every five years because of the value we got from it. And we are always changing as people so it will be helpful to get the new snapshot of where we are in our marriage.
Tell us about an “Aha!” moment that you have had in your marriage and how that has helped you become a better spouse.
I feel a little redundant, but we both had an aha moment when we realized we could eliminate so many arguments by making sure we both understood each other’s expectation better from the beginning. For example: I would always say I’m ready to go to bed soon sometime around 10 at night. Sometimes, that would mean in 15 minutes. Other times it would mean in an hour. I definitely disappointed Michelle when I showed up to bed an hour later. Soon is too relative. I had to be more specific to really set her expectations appropriately.
What is something you are most proud to have created together?
That would definitely have to be Date to Door. We’d become so busy that our date nights had turned into dinner and a movie every time. So we created Date to Door in order to help marriages like ours out. Date to Door plans a new creative date every month and sends all of the ingredients for the date in one box.
What is one of the most inspiring or rewarding experiences you have ever had together?
Starting a business together has been really hard work, but it’s been really rewarding to see tons of orders come in. That sort of validated our assumptions that this product was needed. Then it became even more inspiring knowing that we are really helping out relationships with Date to Door.
What would you do for a last minute date night together?
Bottle of wine. Thrown together pasta. Settlers of Catan (a board game). And a relaxing night on the back porch with one more glass of wine together.