Being in Eric & Megan’s home was a delight. This project has been a little more scattered, and a little more varied, but two things that we’ve wanted to do was to talk with couples from different life stages, and to be in their home. Seeing the home that two people create together is beautiful—the way it reflects them, the way that they fit into it, the way that settle into on their own couch together. We were in town for work, and the Eisinger family hosted us in their beautifully self-remodeled mid-century modern house. We did their 15-year anniversary photo shoot, and then we were lucky enough to get to stuff our faces with Thai takeout while we heard their story and the kind of advice that makes you want to jump up and live life.
Eric is a lawyer, and Megan is an artist & a photographer—together, they’ve created a life, a home, and five happy children. Their whole surroundings just ooze with a peace, excitement, and order. Their children are emanatingly thriving, and blond, and they’re a little bit of a magazine family—except that they’re delightfully real and their children light fires and eat cheese and give their dad piggy back rides. Their family culture just reverberates—it was so inspiring and encouraging, especially being there while pregnant with our baby boy.
Eric & Megan met when she was 16 and he was 19. Eric was a big shot, and thought Megan was a prairie muffin. They both had pretty big attitudes, and somehow got married in the middle of all that.
Four years later, they ended up boarding at the same family’s home. The cleaned the kitchen together, and started getting to know each other. She seemed aloof, but he called her dad, asked for advice, and lo and behold, she liked him!
Their early married years looked a lot different: he’d just finished law school, got a job at the courthouse three blocks from their podunk little house, and they had $20 a week to spend on groceries. He walked to work for two years, and they didn’t even have a shower. They’d buy a $6 bottle of white wine and share a chicken breast for a treat. Watching them remember those hard, well-worn, well-loved memories together was like seeing a color-movie of “for better or worse”. They had a blind faith, a “of course it’s gonna work!” attitude, even when he got a new job and they moved four hours away when she was 8 months pregnant.
MARRIAGE IN ONE WORD
“Oh darling, let’s be adventurers” hangs in their bedroom. And they’ve intentionally brought that concept into their life together. They even have “adventuring rocks” (also known as aventurine).
In their words:
There’s an author to your story. Like in a movie, when bad stuff is happening, it doesn’t mean it’s over, or that there will be a bad ending. As you get through hard, scary, crazy stuff together, the time will be sweeter because of the harder stuff. It’s easy to think it will never change: there are weeks, months, and years where you feel stuck in a too-hard part of the story. But don’t get stuck there. Don’t forget that there are a lot more pages left, taking you places you never expect. Don’t forget to watch for Gandalf coming down the Helm’s Deep hill.
And later, remember the times you were desperate, and you thought things wouldn’t change, and then they did.
KEEPING THINGS FRESH
With five kids, the first one to get to Eric when he gets home from work wins. So they’ve had to be purposeful with time together. He’ll send the kids off and have Meg time. They take walks, cook together (with music & a drink!). Eric: “I don’t know, that probably sounds boring”. Megan: “Sounds fresh to me!”
Anything can be fun, because you’re together. Even going to Safeway for a gallon of milk. When they started out, they were too poor to go on dates—they’ve had Friday night pizza/movie night for 15 years. He’ll put the kids to bed, get dinner, and they’ll hang out with candles and a bottle of wine.
They’re often good cop/bad cop—and she, they said, is the ball buster. Learning to understand the differences in their children has helped them to understand the differences in each other. “You can’t be formulaic when you have five kids!”
Well, it used to be “get fabulously wealthy”, but they decided that was a depressing goal. Now that they’re established, and making money, they aren’t thinking about the money. They’re just enjoying life together.
They’d been dreaming of their next home—they’d thought about building, but Megan saw the potential in this big, 70’s house. They loved the ugliness of it, and remodeling it into their home has been a huge project together.
Understand your spouse’s love language. It prevents miles of fights & misunderstandings. If you’re speaking German and he’s speaking French, it’s not going to easy. “We didn’t get this memo until year 12!”
It’s unhealthy to avoid all “fighting” at all costs. It can be exhausting to hash out things, but it’s worth it in the end. They’ve gotten through so many things, that many of the ugly fights are streamlined.
FAVORITE THINGS ABOUT MARRIAGE
His: Sleeping in the same bed. Snuggling. “You’re still here”.
Hers: Companionship. Sharing everything. Being together, even if he’s paying bills.
UNEXPECTEDLY AWESOME THINGS
How good God has been, how compatible they’ve been. They started out thinking, “this will be great!”, but had no idea how perfect of a fit God had really planned. Their strengths and weaknesses play off of each other in a way that makes them both more complete people.
HIS ADVICE TO WIVES
Don’t crush your husband’s roar, his optimism. Trying to control him leads to sapping the strength out of him. If he’s defeated at home, he won’t be ready to go out and do battle in the world.
HER ADVICE TO HUSBANDS
Sometimes husbands think they’re listening, but they’re not. Slow down, pay attention. Don’t assume you understand.
FAVORITE THINGS TO WATCH ON NETFLIX
Cooking and travelling documentaries! Portlandia. Chef’s Table.
WHO IS THE MORNING PERSON?
Him. Only. As soon as the alarm goes off, he jumps out of bed (no lingering to snuggle). Megan, on the other hand, isn’t even a night owl—she just loves sleeping. Eric: “Have you ever seen the sun rise..?”
Talk to people whose opinion you trust and respect, and who know you. Don’t get all your information from blogs and books.
Enjoy the moment for what it is. (it’s not always AMAZING). Leave expectations behind, and live with and love them where they’re at. When things you wouldn’t expect or choose come up, decide: this is what we’re doing—let’s find joy in it.
God has a smiling face toward us—give your children the same, so that they can start to understand God’s heart for them too.
Tell them that you enjoy them! Kids want to be with their real parent. Be knowable, and approachable, and just be with them.