Photo Credit: thecouplesexpertscottsdale.com
I know that there are people out there that have been married way more than 10 years and together for much longer than 14 years, but there isn’t too many couples that spend nearly all day, everyday together like Brandon and I do. With both our personal and professional lives so tightly intertwined, I feel that has created a certain uniqueness, especially within the modern day family unit. There has been so many people that will say or ask, “I don’t know how you do it,” or “don’t you get sick of one another?” I’m almost taken back by that. The truth is we genuinely enjoy one another. We enjoy our friendship, our partnership, but most important, our marriage. Many couples operate where she has her ‘things’ and he has his ‘things,’ but we just don’t operate like that. We have a lot of common interests and if there is an interest that might be more important to one of us than the other, we learn to appreciate and embrace those interests. I believe that there are many reasons why Brandon’s and my relationship has been successful, but I wanted to share a few key attributes that have really worked for us:
Choose Happy: Brandon always says, “You cannot make your significant other happy. You can only work on being the best person you can be. Ultimately, your significant other has to choose happiness.” We believe we both have our own unique path to personal growth. Personal growth, we believe, is rooted in spiritual growth. We are not put here on this earth to please anyone, but our Creator. Our purpose is to continue to be transformative and to serve and positively impact as many people as we can during our time here on earth. Respecting each other’s journey and communicating through it has definitely helped us continue to grow a stronger marriage. So often we look for external things to make us happy, when really we fail to look internally. The best way we found to grow our marriage, is to grow ourself.
Work Hard, Play Hard: I think there’s no better representation of our thoughts on work and play than by the quote from James A. Michener. He states, “The master in the art of living makes little distinction between his work and his play, his labor and his leisure, his mind and his body, his information and his recreation, his love and his religion. He hardly knows which is which. He simply pursues his vision of excellence at whatever he does, leaving others to decide whether he is working or playing. To him he's always doing both.” Ultimately, we got married to spend time together. Not just any type of time, but quality time. We see couples often mistake ‘quantity or proximity time’ for ‘quality time.’ To us, watching Netflix in the same room is not quality time, whereas we see quality time as working together towards our dreams and goals. There is no distinction. Traveling, serving others and investing into our goals, is both our work and our play.
Slot the Gap: Have you ever seen an elite basketball player give his or her teammate a ‘no look’ pass? If you are like me, you can watch the play over and over, mesmerized by their court awareness. Just like two great basketball players have an ability to read one another on the court, we wanted to be able to ‘read’ one another in our relationship. Each of us have our strengths and weaknesses. For example, Brandon is better with the finances and I am better with the calendar/schedule. We definitely play to our strengths; however, we also know how to get things done and we don’t complain if the other person needs to pick up slack, especially with things around the house. We learn how to synchronize the rhythm of our life and communicate what the other needs. I like to be independent, but I realize I can’t do it on my own, so knowing that Brandon can ‘slot in,’ creates less stress and tension in the household. I feel the more you can set goals together and align your activities with your goals, there is less discombobulation and more synchronization.
At the end of the day, no relationship is perfect. I got married fairly young, months after I graduated from college. We had a lot of growing up to do. We’ve worked really hard to get to where we are at and we are not done yet! Love is an action word. When you make growing yourself and communication priorities and not options in your marriage, you’ve already won the race. I can’t imagine going back to the way things use to be where I felt like we were moving in two separate directions. We give thanks for the opportunity to spend every day together and feel it is our obligation to help others do the same.
Brandon & Amanda