I answer to a lot of titles―mom, wife, author, entrepreneur. But at the end of the day, I'm just a human figuring it out as I go. And, this is the space where I share my experiences with you.
with love, Becky
In a lot of ways, it feels like, “Wow, we are here! We made it!” Yet I can’t help but also feel like we are just getting started. We celebrate 10 years of marriage this year. Two babies, several businesses, lots of great times, lots of hard times. Being the teacher that I am, I took the opportunity to reflect on our marriage by identifying and sharing 10 key lessons we’ve learned together. Find the full version of each lesson on Facebook or Instagram.
Lesson 1: Keep things exciting! Try new things, take risks and enjoy the ride. In 10 years of marriage, and as a husband and wife business team, we have learned that business, marriage and life ebbs and flows. Keep things exciting and hang onto your seat because the risks you take might go in totally different directions than you thought.
Lesson 2: Shared Dreams. Having shared dreams is important and keeps you in step with one another. In order to have shared dreams, you have to SHARE your dreams – make sure they belong to the TWO of you. This means outlining your expectations, goals and plans – putting it all out there to make sure you’re on the same page.
Lesson 3: Share the load. (from Noah!) Give your wife a break. Naps matter – especially in the days of pregnancy and babies. Do the grocery shopping and meal prepping. One hour of your time in doing any one of those things can mean the world. Just take one thing off her list, and don’t expect anything in return.
Lesson 4: Parenthood and business can happen at the same time. I always thought that being self-employed meant that I wouldn’t need childcare. And while towing the kids along with us in the early days made for some fun photos to look back on, childcare ended up working out best for us. It’s all possible – figure out what works for you. It’s probably going to look different than it did for us, and different than it does for your neighbor. As long as it looks good to you – and FEELS good – you’re doing the right thing, and you can do great things.
Lesson 5: Take Vacations. It’s so easy to get caught up in kids, work and day-to-day tasks – so much so that days can pass you by before you realize how long it’s been since your last conversation about something other than what the kids ate for lunch today or what that client needed yesterday. So – take a vacation. Just BE together, even if it’s just for a weekend. Everything will be there waiting for you when you get back, and you’ll be ready to tackle it head on, together.
Lesson 6: Turn your greatest “failures” into your greatest LESSONS. Here’s ours. We spent 18 months going to town board meetings in order for the township to pass our first land development project. That’s 18 months of engineers and attorneys and planning. We were all in on this. And then we couldn’t get the funding to put the road in. The project was dead. It was going to be our big break as entrepreneurs, the thing that kicked off our home building business – and it was stopped before it even started.
As hard as it was to pick ourselves up after that, looking back now, I’m sure glad we used it as a lesson – found out what DIDN’T work – because from there we found a whole lot of things that did. Stick with it. Find the lesson in what feels like the failure. God has a reason for everything.
Lesson 7: Mental health matters. Becoming an entrepreneur and not having the safety and security of a job (or a vehicle) was mentally and emotionally scarier than I thought. There was a year I was so deeply depressed. I’m sharing it now because it’s something we went through together, and it’s an important part of our story. We learned to be there for each other in entirely new ways, and learned the real meaning of “in sickness and in health.”
Lesson 8: Always be learning.As a teacher, I’ve always known that the same message can be received and interpreted in completely different ways by different people. I see that in Noah and me, and that’s why it’s so valuable for us to learn things together. It’s like the next level of having a second person at the Doctor’s office with you to make sure you heard the instructions right and asked all the questions.Early in our relationship, we took half a dozen real estate courses together. As life partners and business partners, it was key for us both to participate.
Lesson 9: Know your limits, know each other’s limits. There was a while where our catch phrase was, “Oh, just puttin’ out fires!” Day. After. Day. After a long period of that kind of hustle, here’s what we learned. “Puttin’ out fires” should NOT be your whole job. We reached our limit. But it forced a positive change in our business and in our lives. And now we know just how many fires the other can handle. Our personalities complement each other’s enough so that we know when to pick up the hose and jump in front of the flames the other is fighting. Keep your health and love at the center of everything you do. By doing that, you’ll know when and how to help each other when the limits have been pushed to the max.
Lesson 10: Keep the Love Fires burning. We’ve overcome many statistics not only last year when we hit our 10 year mark in business and now this year we made it to 10 years of marriage. We are so blessed in marriage, family, life and business. We are so blessed to have each other. Here’s how we keep the fire burning in our relationship:
5. Always say, “I love you.”
4. Hold hands
3. Laugh often. Even when things are hard.
2. Take a walk together
1. Couples weekends away. This is our FAVORITE! We don’t really do date nights, we do date weekends. We just love getting away from our business and getting a change of scenery. It’s so great getting to have adult conversation, go out to dinner where we get to sit together at the same time and eat while the meal is still warm (for those of you with kids, you get me) and just enjoy each other’s company. And that’s exactly what we are doing to celebrate 10 years of marriage.