It’s been 365 days since we got married, in our backyard in Colorado, where we have made an amazing life. It’s been quite the year indeed!
We’ve bought two investment properties, sold one and have the biggest project for our company Happy Homes ltd. to date in front of us.
We got Avalanche certified , skied and explored countless mountain towns together, in every season (Crestone, Jacksone hole, Steamboat, Crested Butte, Salida, Fort Collins to name a few!) and survived a backcountry ski accident together, where our patience and trust for each other was put to a test.
We’ve ridden mountain biking trails, hiked to Alpine lakes, skinned up hills and skied down sky chutes.
We’ve drank at countless breweries, enjoyed hundreds of home cooked, garden grown veggie meals, where both our strengths came together beautifully, him growing the food I’m cooking.
Our year has been productive, full of adventure, with times of frustration & sadness sprinkled in….but most of all, the year has been full of happy.
I married “late” in life, waiting until I knew myself a bit more, until there was no doubt in my mind that the person I was joining forces with was going to be a true partner. Now, I’m not naive; there are no guarantees in life and for things to work well, you have to work at them. So, in reflecting on this past year, here are a few lessons I’ve learned (and am still learning) about being married…
- The relationship you have with yourself is the most important, so make sure you know yourself and nurture your passions. Far too often I hear of women putting their needs aside for their family, their husband, sacrificing their own wants because they don’t want to appear selfish, they are busy taking care of everyone else’s needs to bother with their own. Well, I think that is horse shi#£. And I say this because I too am guilty of it. For turning down a dinner with a friend because I feel I need to cook dinner for Mike. For not going for an afternoon swim, because I have laundry or cleaning to do that Mike hasn’t offered to do. For not going to that Sunday morning yoga class cause maybe we’ll do something. It is ok to put my needs first sometimes and Mike is almost always fine with whatever I plan for myself, and often encourages it! Don’t make excuses for not pursuing your own stuff. I’m not saying you should give in to every whim you have, say ‘screw you’ to your family responsibilities, but when you make time for you, and those things you love, well, I know I’m a happier, more productive person and bring that to the marriage table.
- Know and appreciate each other’s strengths and recognize each other’s weaknesses (and don’t use them against each other!). I’m not a patient person. It’s a weakness for sure, one that I’m actively working on. I also have a major case of FOMO (fear of missing out) so often get so wrapped up in wanting to do more, make each day epic, that I can miss what’s in front of me. But, I’m organized, great at planning, and have a knack for cooking. Mike can get lost in the moment, a perfectionist with certain things, so can take longer to do tasks and can only handle one at a time. But he can fix and build anything, is a master gardener and loves to do yard work. We each bring our own set of goods & not so goods to the table, but where I may lack, Mike picks up & vice versa. He may never plan a trip, and definitely needs a lesson in housekeeping, but he packs the car after I’ve laid it all out, and brings me fresh grown kale for salads. I’ve learned not to throw his weaknesses at him (trial and error for sure!) because I know our individual strengths make us a better team & we need to flaunt them!
- Use your words. There have been times I’ve not said I was annoyed, but was, times I’ve not wanted to go down that run, but did anyway, times when I’ve gone silent because feelings are stupid. I’ve found out that if I’m annoyed, I need to say something, explain my side and why and let him talk through his. Mike is not a mind reader, nor should he be, and my feelings and perspective (expressed in a respectful way) should be considered. If I remain silent, then shame on me. Confrontation sucks and it can be unpleasant, but the times when we did talk through things have turned out much better than the times we didn’t.
- You can have different play books as long as you’re on the same team. We are individuals, handle things differently, approach situations with different perspective. As long as you’re on the same page about the objective, goal or end result (and communicate along the way) be open to, and patient about, how the other person is accomplishing their task at hand. Just because you wouldn’t do it that way (and your way is most definitely better) doesn’t mean the job won’t get done.
- Take care of, and responsibility for, your own sh$#. I can check the air pressure in my own mountain bike tires, can change a flat on the bike if needed, and can get it in and out of the truck myself. I used to just expect Mike to do it, so let him. Then I got a flat on a trail, without an extra tube, and something clicked. I need to take responsibility for the things I participate in….the good, bad and annoying. This goes for Mike as well. I’ve stopped folding his clothes (unless I have time to) have stopped packing for him, and don’t usually stock the house before I leave for a business trip. We are both adults and have the capability of taking care of ourselves. This is not to say we don’t do things for the greater good of the partnership. When I cook a meal, I don’t just serve myself. When I clean the house, I don’t dust around Mike’s things. And when Mike plants and nurtures our garden, he is proud to share the fruits of his labor. It is not about what you won’t deal with or do for the other person, I think it’s more about having mutual respect for each other and the things that you partake in.
- Be honest & patient with yourself and with each other. If I’m being truly honest, I am not that good of a mountain biker (yet) but I want to be at Mike’s level, so instead of picking the trails myself, I’ve let him pick. I’ve also not been putting in the time practicing or strengthening during the week, so halfway into our ride, I’m usually frustrated, feel like crap cause I can tell Mike is frustrated, and my confidence is shot. That’s no way to get better! This past weekend, on our anniversary trip (to Grand Junction, which I’ll write about!) I was honest and said I should probably stick to green trails, maybe head to some blues, and once I did that, we both had a better time. But, I did need to ask for Mike’s patience as I get better, as my ACL heals (although I do use that as an excuse) and know I need to put the work in. A similar patience needs to come from me for Mike. As an example, our current Happy Homes investment property is taking a lot longer due to the scope of the project and frustrations around lack of movement on his end, for not having a project to keep him busy, has been spewed towards him. We finally discussed it calmly (after the yelling of course) and I realized he had done as much as he could at the state the project was, and he already felt frustrated with himself about things, so my harping wasn’t helping. Patience, honesty and communication poured out from both sides was the best remedy.
- Be Happy. It’s just that easy, huh? Yes. I truly believe you have a choice in dealing with things, especially the hard things. If you have a sour attitude, think only of the bad, focus on the negative, you will only attract the bad, the negative, the sour. If you focus on the happy, the abundance, the good, those things will flock to you. You attract what you put out into the world and if you greet each day with a grateful, happy heart, well…happiness will find you. Life is precious and the love I have for our life, for my husband, makes me happy. Everyday with each other is a gift, so treat your partner with respect, love and happy.
It’s only been a year, and I’m really no expert on relationships, but with happiness and hard work on our side, I feel the next year of our marriage will be just as amazing!