Updated: Sep 8
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A lot of what we'll talk about on this page relates to what we have experienced in our own lives. I must emphasize that we are NOT perfect; we do NOT have the perfect marriage, we do NOT know all the answers. We don't have the perfect home that is always sparkling clean, we don't always look our best (most of the time I'm in PJ's with a messy bun), we don't always act our best, or say the best thing. We are on a journey through this life just like everyone else with our own struggles and our own achievements.
We are also here, to be HONEST. Honest about what we've been through in our lives, choices we've made (good or bad), honest about how we feel. That honesty isn't always pretty, or appropriate. But we feel that honesty is the only way to be real.
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So where did it start? Ron and I grew up in the same small town in Utah, but we didn't know each other. Ron is older than me so we didn't go to school together. We met through mutual friends at an Aerosmith concert in Salt Lake City. Ron didn't even want to go to the concert and I was there to hook up with another guy. (My late teen years were kind of a train wreck). That night we ended up staying up all night talking (I did not hook up with that other guy), and each of our friends at the time started dating that night. Because of that, we started hanging out together a lot and getting to know each other and eventually dating officially.
We dated for about three months when I started to feel smothered and overwhelmed. I broke up with Ron (which he never lets me forget), and we stayed apart for about six months. Obviously we got back together, and within a little, over a year we were married.
About three months after we got married, we left our small town and moved to San Diego where Ron attended graduate school for four years. This period in our marriage was challenging. Neither of us had ever been that far away from our families, and to move to a city where we didn't know a soul was very hard. This was made even worse by our crazy schedules. Ron was in graduate school full time and working full time; I was working a full-time job and a part-time job. Needless to say - we saw very little of each other. It was early on in our marriage that we got used to being apart.
Ron's dad, Bob, had struggled with heart disease for many, many years. Bob passed away somewhat unexpectedly while we were living in San Diego and it was one of the biggest life-changing events for both of us (although I wouldn't realize its effect on me for years to come). Let me put this out there - I did not handle this event well. I was young, dumb, and selfish and I was NOT there for Ron the way I should have been. Well, something started happening with Ron around this time that would change us both forever. (We'll save the details of that story for later). What it comes down to at this moment though, is that Ron started changing and I hated it. He became a completely different person than the person I had married and I did not know how to handle it. This is the beginning of a period in our marriage that we refer to as "those years we hated each other".
Ron graduated with his doctorate in 2006 and at the same time the company I was working for was bought-out; so I was soon to be out of a job. We moved back to the Salt Lake City area and started a new chapter in our lives.
Ron continued down his new path and dug deeper and deeper into it (which by the way was making him a better person - don't get the impression here that he joined a cult or anything) while I got more resentful and distant. Although we lived in the same home, we lived in two completely separate lives. Was it bad all the time? No. But it was never very good. Our communication with each other, when it happened, was usually in screaming matches. We fought over everything and then argued about the fights we'd already had. Our sex life (yep) was basically non-existent. By 2009-2010 we were headed for a divorce. To be 100% honest, I think we both would have left the marriage if we could have afforded it financially. I was hoping that he would cheat on me or do something so egregious that I would have a good excuse to leave him. I know he felt the same way.
We went to marriage counseling one or two times and I usually left more resentful and angry than when we started. But slowly something started to change. I think I realized that I was causing my own misery; I was choosing to be mad at Ron, choosing to be unhappy in my marriage, and choosing to fester in it. I realized that I had to start to let some things go. I would get so angry with Ron if he didn't load the dishwasher, or if he did load it and he didn't do it the way I would do it. Little things like that would cause our huge fights because we were so disconnected and holding so much resentment towards each other. I realized that these little things just don't matter, and some things are not going to change. I have to change the way I react to them. We've had a dishwasher for the entire time we've been married and if Ron hasn't figured out how to load it just like I like it by now, then he probably won't. Is that something I want to ruin my marriage? What if I just let that go. Sure I may still roll my eyes and shake my head at the way he loads the dishwasher, but it just doesn't matter in the scheme of things.
We'll delve into this issue and this point in our lives in more detail later. For now, let's move forward. So slowly things started getting better. We started making small efforts to fix our relationship and how we communicated with each other. We were more mindful of our words and actions and tried to treat each other more kindly.
Not too long after this, we had another life-changing event. (We'll discuss this topic in more detail in a future post, so hold tight). I had a faith transition and now for the first time in 15 or 16 years, Ron and I were on the same page with our faith. Not only was it life-changing to be on the same page, but for me to realize what true grace is and what unconditional love is, changed the way I looked at the world, and especially my spouse. I truly believe that this transition softened my heart and created happiness in me that I had never felt before.
Our relationship continued to strengthen and we grew closer than ever before. Our sex life started getting better and we felt more connected to each other. Were things always great? No, but we were so far past where we were in 2009-2010 that it almost felt like a whole new relationship.
In late 2017 Ron's mom, Lena, passed away very unexpectedly and under very difficult circumstances. Comparing how we handled the passing of Ron's dad with the passing of his mom was completely different. Of course, it was devastating, but the difference was that this time we could lean on each other to get through it.
Fast forward to today and our relationship is STRONG! It is better than it has ever been before. It's not perfect - it never will be. But we've been through some hard things and weathered through them. We understand better how to love each other, how to show up for each other, and how to deal with challenges. We've learned how to have grace with each other and to continue to get through things with humor and sarcasm! (This article by the Huffington Post - 50 Really Funny Marriage Tweets is so great - we can easily relate to nearly all of the tweets shown!) We hope that our relationship continues to grow and strengthen and that when we're old and dying - we're holding each other's hand in our rocking chairs.