Describe your personality, strengths, and weaknesses:
I might be one of the few people in the world that actually likes my personality. Prior to my mission for the LDS church, I was somewhat introverted, I didn't really like opening up and talking to people that I didn't really know. On my mission, however, we were required to do at least 20 hours of door-knocking a week. By doing this, I was able to adapt better to talking to people whom I had just met. Now, I feel like I'm much more outgoing and I like talking to people about pretty much anything.
Secondly, I love to make people laugh. I have frequently been told that I should forget medicine and go into comedy. Even when I was a kid telling my totally lame jokes to friends on the playground, I remember that I felt happy when people around me could laugh along with me. Even today when I'm interviewing patients at the clinic, I always feel like if I can make them laugh just a little, then maybe they'll see that we're both regular people and that they can feel safe trusting in me.
I feel like my greatest strength is my ability to put myself in other people's shoes. Growing up with some fairly emotional older sisters, I often saw that their battles with friends or teachers were always based on some sort of silly misunderstanding. I also see that so much political and religious debate is based on little misunderstandings between people. I feel like the best way to avoid those misunderstandings is to try to relate to the other person's perspective, and try to argue in their favor instead of trying to argue against them. I've always felt that if you can't understand your enemy's perspective, then you are likely the one who needs to apologize.
My greatest weakness is probably related to what I've listed as my strength. There have been times when Danielle has come to me with problems she's having at work or when someone has said something hurtful or insensitive and instead of being the support I should be, I instead try to argue for what the other person was likely intending. As you might imagine, this doesn't always make Danielle very happy. As we've gone on in our marriage, I've been trying more and more to see that when people come to me with their frustrations, they're not always looking for solutions-- they may just want someone to listen. But, I am trying to overcome that inclination.
Describe your hopes, goals, and aspirations: One of my first goals relates to my career. I remember when I was in a biology class in high school, we had a government-issued exam that every high school student is required to do. Our teacher also took the exam every year so that he could make sure he was teaching us everything that we needed to know to do well on the exam. About a week following that exam, he announced that I did very well and then came down from his desk to personally shake my hand in front of the entire class. I remember how special he made me feel by doing that. I asked him later if he thought I should pursue medicine, to which he replied, "I think you could do anything you wanted!" From that point on, I decided that I wanted to become a doctor and to help people with something so basic as their health.
Another goal I have is to have a family. Now being 30 years old (which is so surprising to me-- I still feel like I just turned 20), Danielle and I have watched many of our friends start having children and changing their lives to accommodate those children. Although I had never set a time in my life to start having kids, I couldn't imagine being in my 40s and 50s and never experiencing the joy of having kids in my life. Although I hate using the term "biological clock", I think that I have noticed lately that our family feels like it is missing a few people.
Two more goals I've had are: 1) to get my pilot's license-- I've always dreamed of flying, and 2) to teach high school physics-- I don't know why, but I love teaching, especially something as cool as physics!
Describe your spouse's personality, strengths, and weaknesses:
Danielle is the type of girl who is basically unwavering. She is the type of person who wants to help other people regardless of who they are or how well she knows them. One example of this was on a flight we were on from Milwaukee to Minneapolis last summer. There was a woman who was covered in tattoos with two kids, one a toddler and the other a small baby. As we boarded the plane, the woman was struggling to get her children in their seats. She was holding up the line of people trying to board the plane, and you could start to hear people moan and groan behind her as they began to complain that she was delaying everyone. Instead of adding to the complaints or just ignoring the situation, Danielle gave me her carry-on bags and immediately went to help the woman with her children. She helped put the baby's diaper bag in the overhead bin and then held the baby as the woman tended to her toddler. I don't think anyone else on the plane really cared about what Danielle had done, but I was impressed. To me, Christ's entire message could quickly be summarized in two words: "Be nice." On that day, she didn't just join with everyone else in complaining about the minor inconvenience that this lady presented, instead she became part of the solution and helped the woman no matter who she was or whether or not she was invited to help.
So, in short, I think that Danielle's greatest strength is charity. Ever since we've been married, Danielle has longed to have children. In the early years of our marriage, I was fairly hesitant to have children. I instead desired more to start my career and get well-established in life before bringing kids into the mix, but she knew better.
Danielle's greatest weakness was probably her fear of confrontation. When Danielle would visit her sibling's homes who were already married, she sometimes would hear them disagree and it would lead her to think that something was wrong with their relationship. Since being married, though, Danielle and I have both learned that it is perfectly normal for couples to disagree and that some of the tiniest disagreements can turn into some of the most ridiculous arguments. Luckily, we learned early in our marriage that being married does not imply that everything will be perfect, but rather that marriage is all about compromise and trying to do what is best for both of you rather than always getting your way.