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You might be wondering why I would start an article with the phrase, "5 years." Well, 5 years from this past weekend is important to the Summit of Coin household. Here are a few of the highlights:
5 years ago: My family was visiting from Nebraska.
5 years ago: My wife's family was visiting from Laredo.
5 years ago: We got all dressed up!
5 years ago: We exchanged vows and became husband and wife!
5 years ago: We sat in our car after everybody left. We were happy to start our new life together, but sad to see our family go.
5 years ago: We were running through an airport to try to catch our connecting flight to Jamaica.
It's amazing to think that five years ago, my wife and I officially started this life together. Exactly five years from today, we were celebrating our new marriage in Jamaica. It's great to look back on those memories and realize how lucky we are.
I found the woman that balances me. We talk about this all the time. Specifically, we have seen it with our parenting. I tend to be more of a 'let them try and if they fail, they will learn' kind of father. My wife, on the other hand, is much more protective and finds it hard to let our daughter explore at times.
The beautiful thing is that my wife has taught me to be less laid back and I have taught her how to be less restrictive. This is just one example of how we balance each other out. Each of us has our strengths and our weaknesses, but we love our little differences.
Here are just a few:
I like my clothes organized in a certain way, she does not.
I like to crunch numbers, she does not.
She is good at texting (in a timely manner), I am not.
She is not a spender, but I am.
For anyone in a relationship, you can relate to everything I have said. It is amazing how the person that we find to share our life with is the perfect person to balance out our weaknesses. Thus, changing the weakness to a strength of the couple.
As a couple, we have had great moments, challenging times and even wonderful times. We have shared in the wonderful moment of having a child and are anxiously awaiting our second in less than a month.
We have grown together and closer in so many ways. From parenting to finances, we are both involved and love being there to help each other out. We have formed a partnership. That day five years ago when we got married officially formed the partnership, but you don't really get into a rhythm as a couple until you spend years together working out the kinks.
Just like all relationships, we are still working out kinks here and there. Despite those kinks, we have grown together and closer as the years pass. I attribute the growth of our relationship to a couple of things:
1. We work together.
It seems like each day, we have a conversation that leads us to work together. We work together parenting our daughter. We work together on our finances. We work together creating a dream and a future for our family.
When we got married, we had multiple debts that needed to be knocked out. We spent the first couple years of our marriage working together to get out of debt and save up a down payment for our house. The early days of working together on a common goal, allows it to be easier for us to work together on everything!
Related: Teamwork = Traction
2. We have worked on our communication.
In the early days of our marriage, communication was difficult. During our arguments, I would just shut down (like most guys do). My wife couldn't stand this and wanted me to answer right away. Over time, our communication has changed and we have grown stronger because of it.
I have learned that my wife needs me to speak up when something is wrong. I don't just sit and stew on things anymore. If it's bothering me, we have a conversation. My wife has learned that I need a little grace when it comes time to respond.
This was something that took us a while to work out.
3. We treat each other with respect.
Even though, we struggled sometimes with our arguments, we have always been respectful towards each other. We don't yell and scream, but calmly communicate our points of view.
A couple years ago, I attended Dave Ramsey's Smart Conference in Houston. The first speaker was Dr. Les Parrott. During his speech, he made a statement that stuck out to me. Now, I don't remember the exact quote, but it went something like this, "Why do we treat the people we love worse than random acquaintances on the street?"
As a witness of many fractured relationships in my life, I can say I saw loved ones being treated worse than someone in the community time and time again. He is right, in most relationships, we treat the person we love worse than anyone else.
Why do we do this? If it is someone you love, shouldn't you be treating them better than you would treat anyone else. I would think so! It reminds me of a bible verse from Proverbs 15:1-2.
"A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.
The tongue of the wise commends knowledge, but the mouths of fools pour out folly."
I feel like this bible verse is followed in our everyday communication with our co-workers, family members, and anyone else that we interact with (may be some exceptions for the language used on social media). If we know how to treat people outside of our households, why do we struggle to treat our loved ones the same way?
If you are struggling with your language towards your partner, I suggest you purchase "The Good Fight" by Drs. Les and Leslie Parrott. They specifically wrote this book to help people change their language from hurtful and attacking words during arguments.
Related: Respect is the Key to Success
Okay rant over!
I'm not saying our relationship is perfect, because no relationship is perfect. Instead, I like to call it, 'perfectly imperfect.' I believe that a relationship is strong, when both partners understand that the relationship will never be perfect, but it can be 'perfectly imperfect.'
To me, 'perfectly imperfect' means that our relationship is ours. It may be imperfect as it is, but we are happy with the imperfections. Those imperfections make us who we are! I'm going to end with a quote from the lyrics from one of my wife's favorite songs right now:
"Thanks for the moon and the stars up above
Forgiveness' a sin in your undying love
Every twist every turn for the way you made sure
All my roads led to her
So tonight I will fall down on my knees
'Cause Lord knows how lucky I am
I'm gonna shout at the top of my lungs
Thank God for this woman, Amen
And thank God for this woman, Amen
She gives me faith
She gives me grace
She gives me hope
She gives me strength
She gives me love
Love without end
Thank God for this woman, Amen"
- Dierks Bentley's song "Women, Amen"
As a couple, Reaching the Financial Summit Starts with Teamwork, Communication, Respect and most of all Love!
Note: I planned on writing about the numbers (fruits) of a beautiful partnership, but I went a different direction as I was writing. However, there are more fruits than just the money when it comes to a relationship. Building a strong foundation as a couple, will reap many fruits over the course of your relationship.