Megan & Dan dated for four years, and have been married for about a year and a half. I’m enjoying the process of getting to know them and I loved the different perspective they brought to this interview. They both blog – Megan writes a food blog with my roommate here, and Dan blogs here! Also, check out Megan’s Etsy shop! She makes the most adorable things.
HMHW: What do you look for in a group of friends at this age?
Megan: I guess it’s what anyone else would look for in a group of friends. People that you can be yourself with and hang out with; people who are relaxed and not uptight.
Dan: I guess when you’re younger, you look for people who share almost every similarity with you. But now it’s more about people you can hang out with, be real with, who aren’t judgmental, who you can have fun with. It’s less about having every single similarity with them.
HMHW: Fill in the blank: I’m a closet _____ fan.
Megan: Oh man, that’s the embarrassing question. I’m a Shakira fan.
HMHW: Are you serious? I love that! Shakira was my idol when I was younger; I tried really hard to learn to dance like her. Didn’t really work!
Megan: Me too!
Dan: Hmm….I don’t know.
Megan: I don’t know, you’re kind of an open book…what are you embarrassed about liking? *insert long pause here* Dan kinda likes cute things. Like when all the girls are like “Ooh babies and puppies!”, Dan’s kinda in there with them too.
Dan: Yeah, I definitely like puppies a lot.
HMHW: Do you believe in types?
Megan: Um, yes and no. I think that if you limit yourself by saying that your type is tall, dark, and handsome, then you might never find someone you get along with or who treats you with respect or is in line with your values. I think those last couple of things I mentioned are important to find in someone, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re a type.
Dan: I think it’s just compatibility more than anything else. Types makes it sound like there’s one person for you and I guess I view it more as a choice. So compatibility is how I’d describe it – making sure you vibe with the other person.
Megan: Well, I think people are doing themselves a great disservice if they say, “This person is really nice and has all these great qualities, but they’re not my type.”
HMHW: So going off that – and I’m assuming you’ll say no – but do you believe in the one? And if you do, do you believe that they’re chosen for you since the beginning of time or that they become the one when you choose them?
Megan: I don’t believe that there is a one, because love is a choice that you have to make every single day. In the beginning, you’re dating and having tons of fun and everything is cute and giggly, but as time progresses, it becomes more of a choice that you make over and over again. As human beings, we have the capability to get along with various types of people.
Dan: The officiant at our wedding said, among other things, that we choose to love each other. It’s easy when you start dating someone to think, “Oh, I’ve found the one.” Because your feelings are strong and everything is so great…
Megan: Yeah, but you can still call them the one, if they’re the one you want to marry. In any other situation, there’s no doubt in my mind that either of us could find another partner that we’d be happy with and that we could love.
Dan: I think choice is much stronger than just holding on to the idea of “the one.”
Megan: But he’s my one.
(Editor’s Note: Everyone altogether now: awwwwwww!)
HMHW: Do you have career goals? Do you see yourself remaining in the same career for the rest of your life?
Megan: Oh, that’s really hard. I feel like we’re both struggling with this one right now. Dan just defended his thesis and I feel like I’m in the stage of waiting where I have my little business and artsy job that I like. But I also have the side of me that wants to be scholarly and maybe teach Women’s Studies at a college someday.
Dan: I feel like I’m getting ready to start what I hope will be a career. I’m just finishing up my Master’s degree, and I want to teach and publish. And if I could get to the place where I’m doing that for the rest of my life, I would love to.
Megan: Also, we’re kind of in an interesting place where we don’t care about making money, so it’s hard for us to think about what our careers will look like with regards to monetary considerations.
Dan: Well, you know, in my family my parents never had careers. And there are reasons for that, but I don’t see a lot of security in sticking with a career because you never know what’s gonna happen. I think it’s important to have a goal and to follow your passions, and that will be ultimately more rewarding than trying to find a well-paying career. You’ll probably be poor, but you’ll be a lot happier.
HMHW: What do you know now of marriage that you wish someone had told you before you got married?
Megan: We actually get asked that question a lot since we’ve been married about a year. But we dated for so long, that I didn’t feel like there was anything new that we discovered in marriage.
Dan: Yeah, we had such a close and intense dating relationship too that we learned a lot of stuff about each other in that time that maybe other people learn in marriage.
HMHW: How has marriage changed your friendships, if it has at all?
Megan: Oh, it definitely has. I struggled a lot when we first got married. I felt abandoned by all my single friends. I had one moment when I was crying and talking to my dad over the phone, and he wasn’t very encouraging. He basically told me, “You’re just dead to your single friends now that your married.” So that was really hard, but I’ve made a lot of great friends from living in Fort Collins and being a part of a new church.
Dan: I didn’t experience it as much, but before we got married I had moved to Fort Collins from Greeley. And I had pretty much said goodbye to my friends in Greeley. So I didn’t feel quite the same time but I did notice that there was less time to hang out with friends – and it wasn’t all because I was married, there were other factors like school and work as well as being married. But I think it affected Megan more than it did me.
HMHW: What’s your definition of guarding your heart?
Dan: I’m torn because I don’t want to just give the Christian answer that I grew up with.
HMHW: Well, I already know the Christian answer. I want the answer you believe!
Dan: Yeah, I don’t really believe in that answer anymore. I find the phrase “guarding your heart” to be kind of strange because it appears like there’s something indescribably pure inside of you that needs to be protected. And the way I view life’s events is that it’s all experience and data which you sort through after it comes into your life. I don’t see it as a process of guarding your heart, but more as a process of sorting through what’s happening in your life and deciding what’s good and bad, what you’ll repeat again and what you won’t.
Megan: I immediately think about relationships, and with any relationship whether it’s friendship or otherwise, there’s a process that you go through to get to know them. And I think it’s important not to just lay yourself out there the first time you meet somebody because you’re just opening up yourself to get hurt. But at the same time, you need to be open enough to let people get to know you. And if you discover in being open and trying to get to know someone, that they won’t be a good friend for you, then it’s okay to back away from that. But I don’t like the phrase “guarding your heart” because people can take it too literally to the point where it limits them from developing new relationships.
Dan: I don’t think that’s the way God intended for relationships to be. It’s not even the way our relationship with God is.
HMHW: How do you make decisions about your future in this season of life? Has that changed from before?
Megan: It has changed in the sense that we spend a lot more time thinking about things before we do them. We spend more time in prayer now than we did before.
Dan: There’s more to consider now that we’re married. Even when we were just dating, I could decide to go on tour full-time with the band I played with and it would be my decision, if I wanted to be that kind of jerk. But now that we’re married, we’re kind of one person now instead of two people. Our choices influence each other a lot more than before; there’s a lot more that we have to decide together.
Megan: I think that decision-making is the aspect where people who are in a serious relationship or thinking about getting married, fear that they will be tied down. They think they will be unable to make their own decisions and so that freaks them out.
HMHW: That’s me! I’m terrified of that.
Megan: But it’s more of teamwork and less of a shut down.
Dan: I don’t feel like I’m limited in what I can do; I don’t feel tied down. It’s just that you get to take this person along with you if that’s the decision you decide to make. Marriage is a lot of fun; don’t be terrified of it.
HMHW: Oh, I’m very terrified of it. Very excited, but very terrified.
HMHW: What’s the best/worst advice you’ve ever been given on the topic of love and marriage?
Dan: The worst advice I’ve ever been given on the topic of relationships came from Joshua Harris.
HMHW: Haha I Kissed Dating Goodbye?
HMHW: Yeah, that’s not how you end up getting married.
Dan: That took every awkward thing I had as 14-year-old and just magnified it by a million.
Megan: I think the best advice was probably given at one of our showers or parties before we got married – but it was to never go to bed angry at each other. Because it’s still there when you wake up. And we don’t fight very often, but we can still hurt each other’s feelings.
(Editor’s Note: And at this moment, some sweet older lady who’d been sitting by us throughout this interview interrupted to say that after thirty-four years of marriage, it’s still amazing and not going to bed angry is still excellent advice. I love people who just shamelessly insert themselves into conversations 🙂 )
HMHW: What’s your perception of the differences between masculinity and femininity? Do you think it varies by gender or by person?
Megan: Definitely person to person. I definitely believe that gender is a social construct; I don’t think it exists outside of our imagination. I think sexuality does – it’s something that you’re born with. But in terms of gender, I think we kind of define it ourselves.
Dan: I would definitely agree. And it depends on many different things. For me, I’ve had a hard time viewing myself as masculine because I’m not very interested in sports. But every guy I know loves sports and there are people who definitely think that men are built to run and throw balls and eat meat. I like to run, but I don’t do any of those other things. I guess I don’t feel un-masculine, but I definitely know where I diverge.
Megan: It’s really hard when you’re not in line with what the culture says is masculine or feminine.
HMHW: How do the societal definitions of gender challenge your masculinity and femininity?
Dan: For me, feeling like I’m one of the guys has been challenging. Especially with the things I’ve already mentioned, like sports and cars. But I don’t think there’s a way to be masculine; I’m very suspicious of overarching definitions of things. Being comfortable in who you are is most important. Someone could be stereotypically effeminate but still masculine based on the way they carry themselves.
Megan: I’m not really sure. I know this sounds cliche, but I view myself as a strong, independent woman. Honestly, when I think about femininity, my mind goes straight to things like make-up and dresses. And that’s not necessarily what it’s about – I think it’s more about knowing who you are. Knowing who I am to God, to Dan, and in my community has been really important. I feel like I’ve grown up to know Megan instead of grown up to just be like every girl.
HMHW: Were you scared of the commitment of marriage even though you loved each other?
Megan: I already felt committed to Dan from the beginning.
Dan: I guess the only kind of fear was in the fact that we didn’t live together beforehand or anything, so figuring out how we’d live together was maybe a fear. But I was never afraid in the sense that I ever doubted getting married to her. I was pretty certain that she was the one I wanted to marry.
HMHW: Do you feel like you’ve had to sacrifice parts of yourself that you didn’t expect in marriage?
Megan: I feel like we complement each other really well. I mean, there are really small things like music, for example. Dan listens to heavy metal and I listen to more bluegrass, folky music. So sometimes I don’t really wanna hear anymore metal. But I don’t think Dan has ever felt like he’s had to sacrifice parts of himself. He still goes to concerts and such. We kinda just do our own thing together, and it works.
Dan: Yeah, I’ve never felt like I had to sacrifice myself. It goes back to the idea of having someone going along with you, instead of holding you back.
HMHW: What would you say is the most important lesson you’ve learned in the last year?
Megan: We definitely need to be involved in a community on purpose – seeking out friends on purpose.
Dan: I think I’ve also learned how to balance everything between graduate school and work and being married. One of the things we were told in marriage counseling was that we needed to be intentional about making time for each other. Because if we don’t, then we end up being just two people who live together.
Megan: Along with that, a lot of the time we find ourselves in the same room doing different things. He’ll be writing and I’ll be working on my business stuff, and that’s great. But we have to remember to put our computers and phones away when we intentionally hang out, otherwise we’ll just end up on Facebook and our blogs and not spend real time with each other.
HMHW: What are your opinions on joint bank accounts?
Megan: I think that it’s person by person; I don’t think that there’s a set way to do it. For us, we still have our separate checking accounts because when we got married, we had jobs that direct deposited into those accounts and it was just easier that way. But we do have a joint account that we use for bigger stuff. And we’ve been thinking about going down to one because right now money is tight, and it’d be nice to get to see it all in one place. But that’s never been a big issue at all. We still view the money in our separate accounts as “our money”. If I’m gonna go get a coffee, I don’t need to ask Dan. If I’m gonna go spend $100, then we both need to know about it.
Dan: And it might change when we get to a point where we’re able to make bigger purchases more frequently. But right now we don’t spend a lot of money so it’s not that big of an issue.
HMHW: Do you think you made the most of your single life?
Dan: I would say so. I’ve tried to make the most out of my life in general.
Megan: I guess I don’t really know what that means. I would say I made the most of my life, period. I don’t think I’ve needed to separate single vs. dating vs. married.
HMHW: Most embarrassing dating story.
Dan: I nearly crashed her car on our first date.
Megan: Oh yeah. We were in Greeley, and it was blizzarding and he was turning the corner and almost slid into a light pole or something.
Dan: Maybe that was more embarrassing for me than it was for us.
HMHW: Do you believe in the ability to be ready for marriage? Did you have factors that indicated your readiness?
Megan: I think a person is ready when they don’t feel like there’s any reason not to be married. I don’t think there’s a sign. As far as being prepared, I would recommend marriage counseling to anybody. Even if you already feel like you know all about the person you’re going to marry, someone else’s perspective is really beneficial.
Dan: This will sound vague, but you’re just ready when you know you’re ready. It isn’t about a checklist.
HMHW: What are your opinions on pursuing/being pursued with regards to gender roles?
Megan: I honestly don’t think it matters at all. There are some men who are so shy that they’d never ask someone out on a date. If you like that guy, ask him out on a date and get to know him. Or you know, you could just ask them to hang out. I sort of went about it by being Dan’s best friend. I asked him to hang out whenever I was doing something and for about three months, I think that drove him absolutely crazy. He was like, “I think this girl likes me, but she never acts like she likes me.” And then finally he called me and asked me on a date. And I was like, “It worked! I win!” And there were times where I was totally in doubt – I really like this guy, we hang out out all the time, but who knows if he likes me back?
HMHW: STORY OF MY LIFE!
Megan: Everyone goes through that. But I think it depends on the people. If you’re dead set on never asking someone on a date, you might never get asked on a date. Or you can also make sure you’re being open enough so that people actually feel like they can ask you out on a date. But there’s also a line between putting yourself out there with every guy, making every guy think you like them, and just being open.
HMHW: Well, I’ve talked to a number of people and guys especially say that they have no idea when girls like them and girls definitely feel the same. So no one knows and we’re all confused and I don’t even know how marriages happen!
Megan: They happen when people are honest with each other, and refuse to play games. You have to be ready for rejection, and it’s okay to be rejected. You can’t let it define your worth.
HMHW: What’s the hardest part of being a twenty-something?
Megan: Not being taken seriously. I feel like our generation is not taken seriously.
Dan: Since I’m on the downward slide of being a twenty-something, and I’m looking at other people who are in the same place, I see that a lot of them are buying houses and settling into careers and stuff.
Megan: I can’t even imagine buying a house!
Dan: I feel like there’s this cultural expectation of acquiring material possessions that I don’t really buy into. There’s nothing wrong with it; it’s just not us.
Megan: Yeah, watching the other people around me kinda makes me feel younger, like my growth has been stumped. But we’re thriving in our own way.