Loving each other even when it's out of character.
Lovespiration from Sean and Joseph
While both Sean and Joseph laugh about recollecting the first time they met, it was no mistake that a simple Facebook post on Joseph’s wall would become the start of forever. Although Sean and Joseph are two completely different people when it comes to their personal habits, the two share the same goals and interests. While their journey together has been filled with long distance and stressful times, Sean and Joseph have learned to embrace each other and grow every day as a couple.
1. How did you first meet?
Sean: We both went to UT and we met through the Asian American Campus Ministry sector. It was technically at a retreat at the beginning of the semester. I don’t remember actually meeting him there. We really talked and met downtown in Austin. I saw him at a bar at the beginning of the night and recognized him. He came up to me at the end of the night and asked me when we were going to hang out. A week later I didn’t hear anything, so as a joke I posted on his Facebook wall “when are we going to hang out.” From there, we started talking through Facebook and instant message. We got lunch and that was our first unofficial date/hangout.
2. What is something you wish you knew when you first started dating?
Joseph: I wish I knew how selfish I was. I would rather have started very self-aware and know like these are the things you need to do, rather than have everything come crashing down. That crashing down period is very painful.
Sean: I wish I knew how not picky you were. I feel like I could have saved so much time not worrying like “oh he’s not going to like this”, when he doesn’t care and I could have spent half of the time just picking something.
3. What was it like when things “came crashing down”?
Joseph: I think there’s a level of pride going into a relationship and being in a serious relationship is very unique in a sense that that person is able to see a side of you that you don’t know. Even your friends won’t challenge and call you out in the same way someone will who you’re in a relationship with. It was this realization that I wasn’t everything that I made myself up to be. She was the pressure test of who I was as an individual, and that is really sobering. When that comes up you can either choose to soak it in and become better from it or you can run away from the relationship.
Sean: We did long distance for two years, which was rough. He was in Arkansas and I was in Austin. We only got to see each other about once a month. I think when you’re doing long distance you realize your selfishness a lot. In those points it was just stressful. With him whenever we would have arguments, it was very different. Even though we were fighting, he would always reassure me. That was very comforting.
4. What advice do you have for couples who are experiencing a long distance relationship?
Sean: I think it’s good to lay out your expectations at the beginning. You know what is good for you. It is kind of trial and error too. I think you have to realize you have to be very intentional. Facetime is your best friend.
Joseph: There isn’t a good way for long distance. Everyone’s needs are different. Everyone responds a different way. Something that helped was scheduling times to see each other in person. Having those things to look forward to is helpful.
5. What is something you do for each other that means a lot to you?
Joseph: When she responds graciously it means a lot to me. Knowing that in times when she would normally lash out and responds graciously, that’s something I value a lot.
Sean: When he does something because he was listening to what I was saying means a lot. Normally I’ll cook and I hate doing dishes. But he’ll do the dishes and vacuum and do things that help me a lot.
6. How did you start talking about harder topics such as money?
Joseph: I think what’s helped us start talking about it is the very real realization of the consequences of not talking about it. For something like money, the consequence of not paying attention to it is real. When it comes up, the person who doesn’t want to talk about it, won’t talk about it. It’s important to set the stage before the conversation starts.
Sean: Whenever he does have to bring up those harder conversations, he always prefaces it with “I’m not mad at you, but I want to very seriously talk to you about this because it’s very important to me and to us.” So I think that helps set the stage.
7. What is the best relationship advice you’ve ever received?
Joseph: The one that I’ll have is that you win you both win. The biggest thing is time. In the scenario where we both win, is that we both value the time we spend together and the effort and time she puts into caring for me. How do I get the most out of this.
Sean: For me, it would be to be honest and communicate. I don’t like confrontation. I let things build up and let him know when I’ve had it. What’s gotten better in our relationship is that if there is something that is bothering me, then to tell him. He very genuinely wants to change. He takes criticism very well and has the desire to get better. When I am honest with my feelings, then he’s very open to listening and correcting it.
8. What is something your partner does that makes you proud?
Sean: His desire to be better, especially in areas that he’s not aware of. That shows tremendous maturity. Even though he knows he’ll never reach perfection in any area, he still strives to be the best version of himself.
9. What is a favorite memory you have together?
Sean: For my 22nd birthday he had already graduated and moved here to Arkansas. My birthday is always over labor day weekend and so I was really sad that he wasn’t going to be able to come for it. That Friday of that weekend I was a small group leader and had to drop by people shuttling people. He was in the car behind me and got out and I was like “What are you doing here you told me you couldn’t make it”. That was a good surprise.
Joseph: My favorite memory was when we were in Chris’s car and this was the second time we had hung out. It was late and we grabbed a bite to eat at his bar. In those four hours, you learn a lot about someone. It’s fresh, it’s meaningful, and you’re not just sitting there watching a movie or something. For me, I do recall leaving there and being like “I really like her”.
10. What do you wish you did more together?
Sean: I wish we went on more dates. If we go out to eat together it’s because we don’t have food to eat at home. They aren’t intentional dates, ya know. Everyone keeps telling us we should keep going on dates. But sometimes life gets busy.
Joseph: I wish we got out more. We spend time maintaining the house. I wish we did more things and tried more things. In general, I feel like we spent too much time being unproductive. I wish we spent more time seeking God together. You have someone to keep you accountable and for you to be on common ground with that in that space is really valuable. It is a very intimate space. As ultimate a marriage relationship is among humans is still unmatched with your relationship with your creator.
11. What are some of your favorite things about each other?
Sean: I appreciate that he doesn’t take everything too seriously. I get really stressed out easily and everything feels overwhelming. I appreciate that he brings me back down and reminds me that this is a small hiccup whatever it is.
Joseph: She is much more considerate than I am, which is good. Sometimes I’m in my own world and doing my own thing.
12. What’s a characteristic in your partner that you hope to learn from them over the years?
Joseph: She’s better at following through than I am. If she asks me to do something I’ll do it halfway and in my mind it’ll be done. But then she’ll tell me it’s not done. She was a better student than I was too. If there are things that need to get done she’ll be like we need to do it.
Sean: I need to be more patient. He’s way more patient than I am. He’s very cool as a cucumber. He’s very good about being level headed and calm. Even when I get upset about something, he’s very patient with me when he responds.
Beautiful photos were taken by the talented Victoria Liu, not only are her photos beautiful but so is her heart for capturing a couples unique love story. If you are in need of photography, we'd highly recommend you shoot her a note ;)