Two weeks ago, my husband and I got matching tattoos on our arms! After researching and asking around, we settled on Birch Avenue Tattoo, which is praised all-around as the best tattoo parlor in Flagstaff.
Before I get into the actual story, I want to note that yes, Joshua & I are Christians, and we are okay with tattoos. I know a lot of people, especially Christians, have problems with tattoos and that’s okay. We just happen to like them. 🙂
Joshua and I have both been interested in getting tattoos for a while now. I hadn’t seriously considered getting one until Joshua & I started dating, and after we got married, I had hoped to get one for my 21st birthday. I was going to get a paw print on my leg in memory of my sweet dog who passed away in 2014. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to make it work due to not having the money, so we put it on the back burner until we could allot funds for it.
I’m not sure when it dawned on us, but at some point in the last few months, we thought it would be pretty cool (and sweet) for our first tattoos to match, as well as to get them at the same time to share the experience. It took us forever to settle on the design, size, and placement because I’m extremely picky when it comes to ink being etched into my skin for the rest of my life, lol. It needed to be something I really wanted, something that felt perfect; a design meant to capture our marriage.
As you can probably imagine, it took a lot of searching “couple’s tattoos” to find it. 😉 This is what happens when you have OCD and you’re unfortunately a perfectionist.
Joshua had a far easier time deciding, giving a few suggestions and then trying to help me narrow down what I wanted. He was much more easy-going with the whole process than me, haha. Finally, after months of searching, contemplation, going back and forth, etc, we finally found the design. A few more conversations decided how we wanted to customize it as well as the placement.
We settled on two hearts joined by a cross integrated in the heart pattern, with the verse Matthew 19:6 written inside the bigger heart. If you don’t know, the verse says:
“So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.” (Mt. 19:6, ESV)
When we showed up the next week at our consultation appointment, our tattoo artist easily went with our ideas for the design, but then asked us if we wanted to do it that day. Though I was excited, I was completely shocked, because I was not emotionally prepared to permanently change my skin that day. Even though I wanted the tattoo, it was still overwhelming to suddenly know it was actually happening and my skin would be forever altered. I don’t know if this makes any sense, because I still wanted the tattoo…it’s simply that, for things like this, I have to emotionally prepare myself. Without being mentally prepared for going through with something big, I tend to get overwhelmed. That’s just who I am.
We went ahead with it, because we knew we wanted it, we were there anyway, and he had an opening, so it didn’t make sense to come back another time. Also, parking is terrible downtown with exclusively parallel parking, which meant we’d already hunted for a spot and fed the meter. If we could avoid coming back again anytime soon, we would.
After we filled out our paperwork, confirmed the design with our artist, and agreed Joshua would go first (I was still freaking out a little bit), we headed to the back.
Joshua actually had an easy time with the pain, barely wincing and talking through the whole thing. It didn’t bother him very much and he made it look quite doable. In half an hour, it was done and looked incredible! He was (and still is) so excited about it. I’m pretty sure it made his week, if not month.
When it came to my turn, unfortunately, I was caught off guard because the pain affected me way more than Joshua. I’m still surprised because generally, I have a higher pain tolerance than him, since he has zero pain tolerance. (Or at least that’s what we thought.) Yet, I had a pretty hard time with the pain. You know how it feels when hot oil in a pan pops, splattering your skin? That’s how it felt to me, except constantly.
It wasn’t fun, but in retrospect, I can say it was worth it. It didn’t last very long, only about twenty minutes, and the permanence of the design is definitely worth it! Even the first week of tenderness was worth it, and seems comparatively short when looking back on it.
We love them. It was so nice to experience it together! It really warms my heart to think about how we not only got the same design as our first tattoos, but we were there for each other when experiencing it for the first time, and we’ve been able to support each other through the healing process.
We are already looking forward to our next tattoos, and we’re pretty sure we want to make it a tradition to get our future tattoos together, not the same designs, but at the same appointment to make it just as fun.
Until next time! 🙂