Olive & Ivy Scottsdale, Arizona

The dinner conversation that allowed us to fall straight down the rabbit hole. Are you ready?

If you are currently in this moment wondering what my husband and I talked about before marriage well then read on. However, please know that these are our thoughts and you may not agree with them. Although, I do hope that if you are currently in a relationship, engaged, or married and want to ask these questions, then I encourage you to do so. It was a conversation we will never forget, and yes in the middle of one particular question, tears were slightly shed. I blame the wine.

When these questions were asked, Zach and myself were at Olive & Ivy in Scottsdale, Arizona (our favorite special occasion restaurant) celebrating valentines day. At this point we were only one month away from marriage, and with some wine in our systems we went head first down the rabbit hole. Mind you, some of these we already knew about each other, but never assume your significant other “really knows”, thus it being so important to sit down and have an actual conversation… without your phones. I’m serious, put them away.

  1. Do you want Kids?


I began initiating this question because of something that happened almost a year ago in February 2016. I went in to have a regular “lady doctor” check up and received a call two weeks later. “You have abnormal cellular change.” I had no clue what this meant, but apparently it meant a biopsy to rule out, or in, what was happening. With my biopsy done, I was sitting in the office waiting for my doctor to KINDLY AND NOT IN A SCARY WAY, tell me the verdict.

Stage 3/4 pre cervical cancer. I was 23 years old.

My mom was sitting in the corner in a chair, and I could tell she was more shocked than I was. I think she was crying, but I was too busy listening to my doctor scare me practically out of pregnancy, when I was already skeptical about it before this happened to me. “You will have to be very careful if you become pregnant because the baby will potentially be pre term, this could result in a C-Section, or you might not be able to have a baby and..” blah blah blah blah…

While her voice was the white noise in my head, I thought about Zach and the fact that he was in a relationship with someone who could not have a baby. I cried in my old bedroom when my mom and I got back to my parents house and held my phone in my hand. I dialed, it rang, Zach answered. He, just like my mother, was more shocked than I was when I told him. To fast forward, about 20 minutes later, he came through the front door after leaving work and came to me in the kitchen. Normally when I don’t know what to say I will fumble around with something, in this case, I was organizing the pantry. He held me tightly in the pantry for what felt like an hour while my every other word recognition found its way out of my mouth and with half of his shirt emotionally soaked, because when I cry, it pours, we parted and sat. “I am scared to have a baby and I don’t think its in the cards for me.” The Queen Of Hearts AKA my doctor had ripped the deck. And I knew that he had always known what to say, just like the scene in a movie where the guy offers that mic drop line that girls tend to swoon over and beckon that “they want a guy like that.”

“I will always accept you.”


We specifically talked about why I was afraid to have kids. He wasn’t interrogating me, he just wanted to understand where I was coming from. As it was possible, just very difficult. I told Zach plainly that I was not even sure why. I just knew deep down that being a mom was something that I might not want to do for a number of reasons, and I could not count them like Alice did her 6 impossible things. He expressed other aspects of the silver lining of not having kids like: we get to travel, binge watch Netflix at our leisure, adopt more four legged children, etc. According to him the possibilities were endless, and I was relieved. After all, I told him this before he even proposed. He could have run, but he didn’t.

2. Where do you see yourself in 5 years? In 10 years?

These questions were slightly more upbeat and transitioned nicely from the first question. As we were on the subject of looking into our future, it was a perfect opportunity to ask small goals first, and then long term goals. For one, if you cannot accept where your partner wants to be in the future, then is there really one for you two?

We had talked about our dreams, but this question was different as it honed in on a realistic timeline and this also acted as a sense of security for us. In five years I saw myself still teaching in order to put my degree to use, but also having a little fun starting a blog, traveling, and saving up for something for us to do as a business together (food truck perhaps). Zach wanted to move up in his company at PF Changs so he could make enough money for me to possibly full time blog or do something else If I did not want to teach for more than five years. Also, he wanted to travel while we were still in our 20’s because aren’t we supposed to have fun while we are young?

At this point it seemed as though regardless of our own selfish wants, were were inevitably including each other in our plans, which made this conversation fun and easy as it seemed we were on the same page. Not to mention when we started talking about our 10 year plan, we both were not hesitant on stating that we would eventually love to save up enough money to do something together. These two questions definitely paved the way for more fun questions, yet still equally as important as the first to answer and have a conversation about.

3. What do you think of when I say, “In sickness and in health?”

This question had been on my mind since my diagnosis, which now is perfectly resolved :]. I couldn’t help but think of wayyyyyyyyyyyy into the future and the potential for something to happen. It is so easy to state at the alter, “In sickness and in health” although actions will always speak louder than words. I needed to know, as well as Zach needed to know, what we would do if we became sick. This ranges from the flu to the worst scenario. So, we came up with a game plan for if anything does happen.

  • Stay calm. As strange as this sounds, remaining calm when someone you care about is dealing with something can be the biggest comfort.
  • Do not state things like: “You are over reacting”, “It’s not a big deal”, “Are you sure thats what the doctor said?”, etc. None of these help the situation, even if you are trying to lighten the mood with humor… just don’t.
  • Let the person do what they need to and do not just help when asked. I had gotten alcohol poisoning (It was my first year teaching at our annual Christmas party.. do not judge me, I received honors in college and never partied) I was toilet ridden (you’re welcome for the picture) and Zach slept outside of the bathroom door in case I needed anything and never mentioned how disappointed he was in me, or judged me. He stayed awake that entire night, even when I blissfully slept in 20 minute increments when I wasn’t heaving up what felt like my soul.
  • Most importantly, never seem like this is affecting you as much as it is the other person.

4. Do you believe in, “For better or for worse?”

This question was an inevitable transition from the last question as we both knew the answer to it. YES.

When you are in a relationship you really do see that person at their worst, but you also see them at their best. And as the saying goes, “You do not deserve me at my best, if you cannot handle my worst.” From no makeup to sweatpants, from bad accidental haircuts to random hair dye jobs, from happy to cranky, and so on and so forth. Because I can guarantee you are with that person because anything “worse” will never out weigh the love.

*MORE WINE AND ORDERING BEFORE OUR NEXT TRANSITION :] This was a great time to flip the switch from heavy, to a lighter conversation, although that is not the order in which our meal went.

5.  What do you picture our home will look like?

We both had fun with this question as we both love our home, but a fun question like this can go south quickly depending on your individual visions that ultimately need to come to gather in a comparison. After all, this is the home you BOTH will be living in. The hope is to find middle ground in decor, what should be fixed, and what rooms should be what. Because he knows if I could have floral wallpaper, patterned chairs, curtains hanging on every window, and a house turned into a library I would… however my vision is not the only one that matters any more. He would love a man cave, putting green, neutral color pallet, and nothing floral, but he loves colorful patterns.

Here is the picture we began to paint for each other and our reasons behind some of them; this is called compromise.

I would absolutely give him a man cave, but I think its weird to call it that so we will make it a movie room where he keeps all of his game consoles. We picked out the couch together, and the sage green color of the room. If you guys watch fixer upper like we do, our inspiration for compromise came from Joanna Gaines.

Although, because he gets his movie room, my next compromise was for our front room to be a library. He argued that it needs to be functional as well so we threw a desk in there. I wanted ceiling to ceiling book shelves so my Pinterest dreams would come true, however the making of a home is also the making of a realistic budget. We compromised on a beautiful bookshelf that was large and came with a ladder even :D. And the compromising continued for 20 minutes just on our home. I do not want to give too much away for I am creating a blog post on “building a home vs a house with your spouse.”

Pinterest name: Brandi Marinig

6. What makes you happy?

One of the easiest questions we asked. Although, we both knew what made each other happy, it is nice to have a conversation about it, especially since it should tie into the previous questions. It also gave us room to elaborate on some of the aspects we had already brought up, such as traveling.

We both agreed that traveling was something that made us happy. We both have stressful jobs and it was nice to talk about getting away in the future. He was additionally sold on the whole traveling concept when I proposed we travel to Europe (specifically the Greek Islands). Zach had never been outside of the United States and had only been to a couple places within the U.S. We have completed one Europe trip, and plan on traveling to China next. What was essentially great about this conversation is that we forgot we were asking each other questions and enjoyed talked about things that we could plan “WE” into.

I know if you have gotten to this point, you must be exhausted. I had a lot to say and I am grateful if you have gotten this far without drowning in a pool of your own tears like Alice. But she made it out alive, and I am glad you did too :].

For more on some of these topics please stay tuned for another trip down our rabbit hole, although today was more of a peak into our looking glass ;].

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