1,095 Days of Wedded Life / 3 Means to a Connected Marriage
Today, our marriage resume reaches 1,095 days of experience in wedded life. We knew each other for ten months before we got engaged, which was enough to know that this #TeamSachs duo was meant to be! When standing before our Wedding Officiant Steve Turnbull on a dreamy Spring day in Downtown Minneapolis on Saturday, April 4, 2015 we felt whole. We felt at peace knowing our love was the lifelong kind and that we were only just getting started.
Today will be our first wedding anniversary that we celebrate at home. In 2016, we traveled to Ubud, Bali where we spent Easter traveling to the Bali Spirit Festival to enjoy various forms of yoga practice and allowed ourselves to free dance (with scarves flailing from our arms) among kind strangers under a bamboo tent. What a freeing experience! In 2017, we tried something new yet again and enjoyed Boulder’s High West Oyster Fest at the Boulder Theater. Tonight, we’re taking it back to the basics of which we’re most grateful for - each other, our home in the mountains, and the opportunity to cook a healthy meal together and connect over good conversation.
During each anniversary, we reflect on our wedding day and would love to do it all over again, but perhaps that’s why we only get one wedding day. It’s a powerful moment in time, meant to create lasting memories with closest family and friends to positively influence the years to come. It is our job as individuals and as a couple to honor that day and nurture each day to be a better and new version of life together.
We’ve personally witnessed wedding ceremonies that emphasize how difficult marriage can be. And while it’s naive to think marriage won’t bring challenge, we believe the positive influence of marriage deserves strong recognition. Our wedded life experience has shown that it’s not marriage that is hard, it’s life in general. The difficult influences that enter our world can alter our disposition, snag our focus, and distract us from staying connected to those who care about us most, including our spouse. What’s “hard” is when we fail to lean into each other. If these influences and our corresponding reactions go south, marriage can certainly get difficult too.
Inspired by our own marriage, we vow to create a more positive conversation around couples and married life (#couplesarecool). We currently do this by supporting couples in their journey to marriage with our expertise in designing an authentic wedding day built around what is most important to them. We also do this in leading by example in our own life while striving to share more content that helps couples nurture their relationship proactively.
In honor of our 1,095 days of marriage, we’ve reflected on three qualities that lend to a successful marriage and in reality, these same topics relate to any committed relationship.
A Teamwork Mindset
“If you want to go fast, go alone; if you want to go far, go together.” - African Proverb
Teamwork in marriage proves over and over that it is the lifeblood to a connected relationship. We see one another as equals in the relationship in that we’re equally committed to contributing. Teamwork is a mindset we both embrace, because we know how good it feels as individuals to feel like you’re part of a team and to know your partner has your back consistently.
There are many ways teamwork has played out:
1. Always Giving our Best to One Another
Ok, reality proves that some days are more draining than others and our energizer bunny doesn’t always tick to the beat of a consistent drum. But, no matter the situation, we strive to give our best with what we’ve got at any given time. It’s simply not fair or productive otherwise.
2. Doing Before You’re Asked
Many times, we’re not mind readers, but Chris and I try to be present and take heed to what the other is thinking or going through and find the best way to support before we’re asked. Sometimes our emotions are wrapped up in our head, so having the other willing to talk and provide constructive feedback can change out mindset and create a winning path forward. As we continue to practice this, we get better at picking up on signs and being more proactive in supporting one another.
This focus has helped us lean in to one another when needed, so that we can ultimately give the best to our other commitments AND to each other simultaneously.
3. Alternate Chores
We used to do all of our grocery shopping together. It was a fun date! Now, with Chris in Grad School at Leeds School of Business at CU Boulder, we agree his spare time is better spent in other ways. Thus, I’ve been managing the meal prep, the grocery shopping and the cooking and in recognition of this, he’ll always help me bring in the groceries from the car and do the dishes. It’s a fair compromise and when the time comes, I know I may need to lean on him to take my place in the grocery aisles.
4. Goal Setting
We have both individual and team goals that we set each year. (More on our #TeamSachs visioning below). In discussing and challenging these goals, we arrive at the priorities we’ve set as a team making it much easier to align our daily lives in favor of these goals.
Shared Decision Making
Both Chris and I have a healthy independence in our personal and professional lives as well as our family life and value strategic development of both. When making small or large decisions about commitments outside of our family time, we naturally consider the other and discuss before making the decision. For example, both Chris and I can be overzealous and tend to over commit. With this realization, when we connect about a decision, we’re now able to lean on past experiences that have caused more stress than needed and help one another weigh the decision from a place of personal experience.
Chris loves nordic skiing, triathlon and mountain biking, so in 2015, he signed up for three iconic races that year including the American Birkebeiner (February), Boulder IRONMAN (August) and the Leadville Trail 100 Mountain Bike race five days after Boulder IRONMAN. The plan sounded fun, but when the daily reality of training + moving across country and switching jobs set in, in retrospect, it wasn’t the ideal balanced situation we strive for.
By consulting with one another in decisions, often the ultimate decision is a better one because we reviewed together. We approach decisions with sometimes similar, but often new opinions that have led us to explore the options, exhaust our resources and feel confident in our final choice. With being considerate of the other’s take on the decision, we both know we’re heard and appreciated for our viewpoints.
A Better Plan
(Disclaimer: this story goes down in our wedded life files big time for the hilarity of the situation, but also what it taught us). We were on our honeymoon in Costa Rica in April of 2015 about to leave our second destination within the country, Playa Hermosa. We planned to drive from our current hotel to the port where we’d drive our car onto the ship and coast across the bay en route to Manuel Antonio. Being it was our honeymoon, we certainly didn’t want to feel rushed so we ate a leisurely breakfast on our porch before packing up.
Once we got into the car, gas was low and we realized we didn’t have any spare time. As we approached the first town, we assumed it would be no problem to find a gas station. We also didn’t speak Spanish so we weren’t successful at reading any signs. After minutes of aimless driving, I asked Chris if we could stop and ask for directions. Flustered by how difficult it was to find what we thought would be an easy find, Chris reluctantly went into a store to ask, but again, we didn’t speak Spanish so this was no help. I then had an idea. The GPS system in our rental car had navigation so I suggested we search for the gas station symbol to take us there. That worked and we were finally able to refuel for the drive, yet the underlying frustration ensued.
As we realized we’re definitely racing against the clock, Chris sped along the two-lane freeways to get us to the port seconds before they closed the gate. As we drove in, we also realized we didn’t have enough cash to pay for the cash-only ticket. While rummaging through the back seat to see how much we had and how much we needed, the boat began to drift away. “Why on earth would they let us through the gate and not wait for us?” Now my feistiness was setting in and I was mad. At least we would be first in line to load the next ship.
I proceeded inside to the ticket counter to sort out money - kicking myself for being a naive traveler unable to speak Spanish. I got back to the car and Chris and I sat there in silence, both processing what had just happened. And then, I had to go to the bathroom. I went inside to find I was being asked to pay. With my cash now back in the car, I vented to Chris curious why I needed to pay to use the restroom and while I was used to that during a previous trip to Cuba, this timing wasn’t jiving with me.
The next ship would depart in an hour and a half, so rather than starting the journey to our next destination, we waited in the concrete outdoor space reading our books and trying not to let those occurrences set the mood for the rest of the day. In time, we began to see cars flooding in through the gate, on the opposite side of where we were told to park. We were no longer first in line (insert one of the only times Lindsey swore). Chris went to move our car and eventually drove it onto the ship. Finally, it was time to set sail and “hopefully” laugh about it all.
As Chris parked the car on the lower deck, I snabbed a prime spot at the front of the boat in the first row. I was happy to get a front row seat with unobstructed ocean views. Chris found me on the upper deck only to say “Babe, let’s go to the front of the ship, otherwise we’ll be facing backwards.” I had thought I was at the front of the ship (although it was facing backwards at the time). We moved because I thought Chris must have been right. By this time, many more had boarded and had the very same idea. We went to the “front” of the boat and scored second row seats, with obstruction and noisy passengers. While not totally pleased with our placement, I conceded to remain more positive as we certainly didn’t need another road bump.
As the ship took off, it began to turn as it aligned for its path across the port. Yup, you guessed it! The ship turned leaving us at the back of the ship. I’ll never forget the moment Chris looked and me - we’re both about to burst out in laughter or tears and said “Welp, who needs a beer? Let’s have a beer.” We went to the onboard bar and grabbed a cold Costa Rican brew and found new seats.
As we opened the conversation again, we pulled out out phones and created a new Note titled “A Better Plan.”
It was in that series of moments that we realized the power to change the situation was entirely within our grasp. We needed to be more mindful of the time it took to get to the port (early) and not at the last minute, allow extra time to find a gas station since we don’t know the language, understand the currency needed for the ticket, and the list goes on.
During the situation, we were never mad “at” one another, we both found frustration in the situation. From that time, we identified that we desire to live in Quadrant 2 where things are important, but not urgent. This is a space to focus on prevention, planning and improvement.
To aid in living a Quadrant 2 lifestyle, we communicate constantly. We don’t plan for life in a vacuum. This often means we identify our near-term priorities and assign responsibilities with a deadline. We work diligently (and not perfectly) in getting started before anything becomes urgent. This is a great way to reduce stress and let me tell you, that Costa Rica situation was enough to not hit repeat on similar situations. So much is really within our control.
We also share our Google calendars with one another with invites for both our individual and couple events and activities. This ensures we’re both responsible for understanding what’s happening in a given week and that we’re not constantly tripping over our schedules. This way, we can be more intentional about how we spend our time.
A final mainstay of our marriage thus far is our Sunday night traditions that include a home-cooked meal and time reviewing the week ahead together. We talk about what challenges we think we’ll face, what our plans are, and how we can support one another based on the schedule. This is time well spent and makes for a week of alignment and clarity.
We’ve been able to make improvements in our marriage by being present and adapting together to anything that doesn’t work for us (like over scheduling ourselves, or me cleaning up dinner before Chris has had his second serving). In three years you can live A LOT of life which is why each day in between is so valuable. They each have the opportunity to add value, experience and create a new memory. Our favorite part is uncovering it all together and navigating side-by-side from the front seat.
Marriage is a powerful gift and we don’t take one minute of it for granted! We would love to hear your thoughts on ways you're relationships have been enhanced for the better. Comment below and let us know!