One year ago, Austin and I were married in the middle of a vineyard on a sunshine and laughter filled fall afternoon, surrounded by the people we love.
One year later, I don’t purport to be an expert at marriage, or in a credible position to dispense advice. I do feel, however, that Austin and I are very good at our own particular marriage. I’ve spent some time thinking about why our marriage works so well. And because I love reading the insights others share about their relationships, it seemed useful to put my own in writing. With a heavy grain of salt — I offer some thoughts at one year of marriage to Austin about why it’s my favourite thing. And why, I think, our marriage has so much light.
No scorecards – I’m usually met with looks of disbelief (surely I’m lying) when I say Austin and I don’t fight. I believe people for not believing me, but we really don’t. In the three years we’ve shared a home, I can count disagreements on a hand or less, ones that we worked out over cups of tea and some conversation, and the benefit of time.
Now, I believe that husbands and wives can fight hard and have a healthy marriage, but I’m glad we don’t. The biggest contributor to no fights, I would contend, is no scorecards. We just do for one-another what needs to get done and never keep score. Austin vacuums and I do the laundry. Why? Because we’re better at those respective tasks. We cook together because it’s our time to be together. Some nights, I do the dishes, some nights Austin does, some nights together. Austin makes us breakfast and reconciles our budget each month. I handle our insurance and keep our toiletries stocked. Austin books the plane tickets and hotels, and I plan the itinerary. And on and on and on. But we’ve never uttered “it’s your turn” or “last time I did this.” It’s not in our vocabulary.
Giving thanks – As simple as that, we give thanks for one-another every single day. When we wake up, in texts and gchats and as we turn to go to sleep. We are always thanking one-another for who we are, what we do and how we handle each other with care and love. We take time to invest in giving that thanks each day, actively, intentionally. I sometimes chuckle that we married over Thanksgiving weekend, because thankfulness is first and foremost our marriage’s theme.
Creating adventures – I love the word adventure for all that it captures. And Austin and I are hardcore adventurers. By this, I mean we devote time each day to creating adventures in our life together, big and small. We’re two introverted people (Austin more moderate than me, no doubt) but we don’t sit on the couch. We love figuring out the next class we’ll attend, or dinner we’ll chase down, or tasting we’ll take part in, or plane tickets we’ll book. And we do this every day, not once in a while. I jokingly call Austin my “fun enforcer” because he’s always on the lookout for our next adventure. It’s a good quality to have in a husband.
Bragging about each other – My husband is the best person, plain and simple. I tell everyone this. People probably tire of us saying nice things about one-another, but as Austin’s wife, it’s my role to be his booster, the person who is most proud of his intelligence, his accomplishments, his dashing good looks, his hard work… I could go on. I wish others would brag about their spouses more! It feels great to listen to how much someone loves and appreciates their partner.
A default place of “yes” – Years ago, I heard the smart advice that in most areas of life, it’s better to come from a default place of “yes.” That is to say, to make it my first reaction to agree to something, versus saying no, whether it’s a project at work, a new challenge or a favour for a friend. There’s been a lot of talk lately, as we societally become so possessive of our time, that we need to say “no” more often. But I think this is silly, and selfish, advice. Especially in our marriage, saying “yes” first to each-other makes most sense. And when we have to say no, we do so with careful consideration, versus out of habit. “Can you pick up the dry cleaning on your way home?” Yes. “Would you like to go for a walk?” Yes. “Sit with me and review these interview questions?” Yes. You get it.
As someone who never assumed I would marry, let alone be married this early in my life, co-creating a marriage that is supportive, respectful and just totally fun is a gift. The sum is greater than its parts is cliche, but true. At Austin’s side I am a better version of myself — I am kinder, smarter, more inquisitive and easier. I am softer. I make my husband better, too, and this knowledge is empowering.
So, on October 12 — our anniversary — our Thanksgiving (and every day), I give thanks for Austin and the ways he’s broadened and deepened my worldview, and my appreciation for life’s adventures, big and small. I clink glasses to many more years of learning from him, and getting even better at our marriage.
(Photo credit: Every Little Wonder Photography)