Friday, October 26, 2012

What Have I learned From Those 8 Years? marks 8 years for us. It is hard to believe that I was only 19 when I met my future husband. Stu swears that he knew he wanted to marry me when he first laid his eyes on me. He claims that I lighted up the room with my aura of my smile. I always shake my head and roll my eyes with a smile when he says this to me while I secretly jumps up and down internally. Stu smiles and kisses on top of my head then proceeds to tell me how lucky he is to have me in his life. 

So....8 years

It doesn't really feel like it though. I believe it is because we have a really great friendship on top of our relationship. I can honestly tell you that Stu is one of my best friends. I think it is why we are able to get through our rough patches. I wouldn't want to give up on a best friend even if going gets hard. Fortunately, we have far more wonderful time than bad. It is funny because when I am trying to be mad, see the key word here: trying, and Stu looks at me with a smile on his face and says, try to say that again without smiling....and I fail to do so every time. I love that we are able to hold hands, and never find that old even after 8 years. 

As young as we were, when we first started dating; we were able to grow as individuals and as a couple. I transferred to Ripon College during my sophomore year, and met Stu there. It was your classic love story of a frat boy that met a sorority girl and fell in love...well, with a twist. You see, I am Deaf and do not speak. So, he totally learned ASL (American Sign Language) just for me. I knew he was a keeper when he signed to me, Will you go to my formal dance with me? I loved that we both came from drastically different backgrounds; Stu came from a farming family, and my family lived in a city. We weathered long-distance relationship for nearly 2 years when Stu did his stint with army ROTC training, and when I was attending a graduate school in Washington DC then interned in Minnesota. After I graduated from graduate school, it was just matter of time before we got married. Stu finally proposed to me on July 17th of 2009 right after I came home from my vacation in Hawaii. It was no brainer that I said absolutely yes. Two years later, we got married at Green Bay Botanical Gardens. A year later, we had our baby boy, Forrest.

So....what are our secrets to a long lasting relationship?

1) Never be too proud. We apologize when we are in the wrong, and accept our responsibility of causing hurt to one other. Forgive. Then move on.

2) Communicate. It's cliche, but true. Better have things to be said than kept in and stew until it cannot be contained anymore. Besides, more often than not, the solution is a quick fix.

3) Focus on strengths instead of weaknesses. We don't compare our relationship to others. Other relationships may seem perfect and awesome. The other couple may have more money, bigger house, more vacations, or nicer things, but like everybody else, they do have their share of problems. The other side is not always green. We count our blessings, and say I love you as often as we can.

4) We don't air our dirty laundry. Period. Never I would want to make Stu look bad just because of one silly argument. People have a tendency to focus on the bad if you air your dirty laundry constantly. Besides, it is disrespectful to one other.

5) Have fun. Really. Go out and go mini-golfing. Without your kids. Hang your hair loose. Play. Eat. Dine. Date. Watch a movie. Do whatever that tickles your fancy. Seriously. Try to do this once a month and it will do wonders for your relationship. It has for us. Most of the time, our "date" is watch our favorite TV shows and cuddle on the sofa while eating from a big bowl of popcorn while our son is sleeping for the night. It's free, and doesn't require any effort especially with a little baby on the board.

6) Do things together and apart. It is good to share same interests and want to do things together. But too much of togetherness can be suffocating. Go out with your girlfriends for margarita night or huddle with your guy friends in front of TV to watch football/baseball. It is healthy for both of us to spend some time apart, and makes our relationship stronger because it gives us a chance to miss each other, and remind us why we are together.

7) Support each other. This is why I encourage Stu to coach in the fall even though it means long hours without seeing Stu, a lot of weekends by myself with our son, and less quality time with Stu. It takes some sacrifice on my part seeing that fall is my favorite time of the year. Stu does the same for me by making sacrifices for me. This makes us feel supported and loved and safe.

That's what I learned from those eight years with Stu. Time really does fly while you are having fun.




  1. You DO light up a room.
    And your baby does too! And I bet Stu does as well! Your home must shine out and light up the whole block! Does your street have street lamps?

    Happy Anny Mommy and Daddy Russ!

  2. happy 8 years :) you guys are madly in love :)