Oh friends, today is SO GOOD! You all are hearing from our precious sister-friend, Dana Peddicord, one of the fabulous owners of PinkLouLou Design Studio. There were about 100 different times tears welled up in our eyes as we read through her words. Hearing her talk about her husband as a daddy and the way it's made her heart grow for him all the more.. amazing. So get excited y'all, this is yet another incredible testimony to why marriage matters and we are overjoyed to share this feature with y'all today.
MARRIAGE MATTERS | DANA + MICHAEL
1. Tell us a little about yourself & your spouse. Give us a brief history of your all’s story and how long you’ve been together: When I think about our history together I first think about our friendship. We started out as friends that eventually led to flirtation and then a relationship. We met in a bar, just how all classic romances should begin. Michael was home for the summer from school, he attended University of Dayton, but always came home for holidays and summer. I was out with my roommate Emily and she introduced us. We got to chatting and I asked for his phone number. I had NEVER asked for a guy’s phone number before and he said “No”. I was absolutely mortified and that resolved to we would never speak again because I wanted to crawl in a hole and die. Emily, my roomie, decided this humiliation was the most hilarious thing she had ever seen and as such offered to give Michael a ride home when we left. “Kill me now” I thought. So we rode home making polite conversation and such. We finally went to drop Michael off and he asked for my number. I said “hmmm no thanks” and just figured we’d never really speak again unless we found ourselves in an accidental social situation where I’d have to pretend I was taking a phone to call to escape further embarrassment. A few weeks later, we ended up in the same bar yet again… You all may remember it as Avio from our time… not sure what the kids are calling it these days. It was summer and it was $10 all you can drink on Thursdays and we had a limited budget, so don’t judge. Anywho, our paths crossed again and this time we joked flirtatiously about our last encounter. He asked for my number and we finally exchanged digits. We quickly became friends and that friendship grew over time to flirtation, and flirtation grew to like, and like grew to love. That process was not quick. We dated other people during our friendship phase and we always maintained our friendship. Even though sometimes we didn’t always like or agree with the other persons choices in who they were dating, we always tried to be friends. Eventually, we knew that the reason our friendship had always stayed important to us was because wanted to be more than friends. And it became so. I always knew in my heart that Michael was the person my soul wanted. Even when we first became friends I remember standing in my parents’ kitchen and telling my mom I knew I would marry Michael Peddicord one day. Even though at that time I didn’t know we’d ever even date, I just had a feeling about him. Now Michael and I have been married 5 years and have a precious little girl, Elliott Grace Peddicord, who we adore and two rousty puppies, the Bean and Elizabeth! It’s crazy how amazingly life works out. Even if it takes longer than expected or if the path to get there looks differently than you think it should.
2. What’s your favorite memory from your wedding?: My favorite memory from our wedding day has to be being on the dance floor with Michael and remembering that we were going on the best vacation ever the next day for our honeymoon! Honestly, it’s easy to forget about the honeymoon because you are so busy with planning the wedding. The next day it was finally just us. We got on the plane and he was my husband. I remember feeling so much joy for the fact that I got to call him my husband. We re-watched the slide show he made for our rehearsal dinner. Pictures of us as babies, as teens growing up, and then us as a couple flashed across the screen while we flew to our first of many trips together as a married couple. I was so grateful to be in that place with him. I was grateful he was mine for always.
3. What has been the greatest joy and the hardest challenge you’ve experienced as husband and wife?: Our greatest joy and hardest challenge is the same answer… being parents. It’s crazy how one tiny human being can turn your life upside down and make you insanely happy all at the same time. Of course like any couple we disagree on things and we argue about things that matter and about things that don’t. I don’t really consider that a challenge so much as a hazard that’s just part of marriage that you work on every day. Merging 2 lives can be messy especially when you are both stubborn. Creating a 3rd life, now that’s a challenge. We are lucky in that we were able to get pregnant quickly with a healthy baby girl. God is truly good. Those first 6-8 weeks as new parents were certainly a life change. We struggled to figure out how to do things and what was best for her and how to put her on a schedule. Things seem much more difficult when you are running on limited to no sleep and when you’re wearing an adult diaper. New moms… you feel me. We had to find our new normal. Once we got in a groove it was like “how did we ever live before her?” Every day we learn something new about being parents. I can honestly say that although there are days when you want to punch each other in the face because they didn’t put dishes in the dishwasher, or they purchased a frivolous amount of candles from Target… there are far more days where we find ourselves saying “I love you” or “thank you”. If you think you love your husband now, just wait until you see how he talks to his little girl. Or when you watch her face light up when she sees daddy. The giggle she gives only to daddy is the best sound I’ve ever heard. It’s amazing how much your love can continue to change and grow in ways you never knew existed. The human heart has more depth than I ever really understood until recently. We say often that we’d never want to be on this adventure with anyone else. As with any adventure, having the right partner to travel with makes all the difference. He’s the one God created for me to do life with and I am so grateful.
4. What’s surprised you most about marriage?: What most surprised me about marriage was how our relationship changed immediately after being married. There was something special, important, and very present about how differently calling Michael “my husband” felt. This also made everything feel bigger. The love felt bigger, the differences felt bigger, the life together felt bigger. I guess that’s why people tell you the first year of marriage is difficult. I never understood why people said that. Well, we were learning how to be married. How to respect each other, how to love each other, how to be a spouse to someone else where before you were simply being a part of a relationship. Ultimately, you have to be conscious of being a good spouse for the other person and being true to the vows you made… not just expecting the spouse to be good to you. It works both ways. I think when I focus on being a good mommy and supportive wife and Michael focuses on being a happy daddy and loving husband we are putting the other person’s happiness first. That’s what we agreed to do when we said our vows. It’s amazing how putting those words into action on days it would be easier not to can totally change the course of your relationship. It’s not by accident that those words are repeated hundreds of thousands of times a year all over the world in different ways or languages but all with the same goal… to unite you. Remembering more to put those simple words into action is certainly a marital goal of mine.
5. What has been the best source of support and encouragement for you all?: Our parents and Michael’s grandparents have been great examples to us in marriage and in life. Their willingness to give to each other, to their friends, to their community, and to our family has been a wonderful example of how to live. When it comes to family there are no boundaries for what you are willing to do to help them, to love them, to forgive them, to learn from them, and to simply be with them. Now, with our baby girl it’s even more incredible to watch them as grandparents and great grandparents.
6. Are there any books or other resources you would recommend to other couples?: We did pre-marriage counseling with the priest who was marrying us prior to getting married. At first, we saw it as a requirement in order to be married in the Catholic church. As we got further into the process, we discovered how helpful it was to understanding the other person. It allowed us to have conversations about how we grew up, what we hoped for in marriage, even how to argue in more fair terms when we disagreed. We learned so much about each other and about what made us tick as individuals. This really helped us come together as a couple in marriage with more patience and understanding for the other. I would definitely recommend pre-marriage counseling to any couple. Whether it’s part of your faith with a minister, etc or even just with an unbiased 3rd party or couple you admire. It was truly beneficial for us.
7. What are some hopes or dreams you have for your family’s future?: I often dream about holidays and vacations together as a family and the fun stuff that Michael and I have enjoyed as just a couple for years now, including our little person. I can’t wait to see how the traditions we’ve created together evolve to include Grace and to grow those with her as she grows. It seems we hope and dream for her life now more than our own really. That’s the thing about being parents, we see so much of the world now through her eyes and it’s exciting to dream with her, for her. We talk a lot about what we think she might be when she grows up. Will she dance? Play baseball? Will she love to sing? Who will she be? Will she be kind and giving? We try every day to teach her what it means to be “good”. I guess more than anything I dream for our family to leave a legacy of goodness in the world with her… and maybe even with more babies in the future.
8. If you could change anything about your all’s story, would you?: There is nothing I would change about our story because it is what makes us…us. There are however things I would change about the way I may say something in the heat of the moment that I don’t mean, or being stubborn in situations where it didn’t matter. That’s just something I try to work on every day. I didn’t always fight fair when we would disagree when we first got married. I think for me I had to learn to be calmer when I didn’t agree with someone and try to be more understanding of another person’s position before I spouted off my own opinion. I’ve gotten more cautious over the years but there is always room to improve.
9. What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given about marriage?: To respect each other. Michael’s grandparents have always demonstrated a deep love and respect for the other person in their marriage. I think respecting your spouse is a great way to show love for them and it helps you to put their needs before your own and to try to treat them as you’d like to be treated as well. I don’t think I’ve ever heard them raise a voice to each other and they can’t tell a story without the other one finishing part of the other’s sentences. I truly think that comes from having always respected the other person and allowing them to feel significant and important and loved.
10. Why does marriage matter?: To me, marriage matters because as humans we weren’t intended to live life alone. Innately, we were created to exist with the partnership of another. God didn’t intend us to be alone. That is why He crafts the perfect partner for us. Each of us. Whatever that love means for you, however it looks in your life…. Embrace it. Sometimes we run from taking a chance with our own happiness. We try to avoid it for fear it may not work out, instead of just enjoying it and believing we deserve it. In a world where so much is going on between injustices, violence, politics, etc…. having this man… this partner… this life and love of another person is essential to finding balance and hope. Where there is hope there is always possibility for tomorrow. I truly thank God that we have this life together. I wouldn’t want to do life with anyone else.
How wonderful was that?! So wonderful, right? Dana & Michael -- we love you deeply and are so thankful for your lives. Thank you for sharing your hearts with us today and letting us get a peek into your marriage. Cheers to y'all and many more years of learning, growing, and loving! XOXO