The first time I dated Nick Hergott was in 1998. We were 14, just young bucks. We dated on and off until 2006, our senior year at KU, when he proposed (well, kinda, he assumed it was a shoe-in (it was) and slipped the ring on my finger one night while I was sleeping. I woke up ecstatic and Sarah and I skipped class to get bagels to celebrate. Life at 22…).
On Friday, July 13th, 2007 (9 years ago today!) we were wed in front of all of our friends and family. It was a huge, lovely party done our way and we started our lives, officially together, in Kansas City’s River Market.
Since then we have had a life of adventure and laughter. He started and graduated law school, I survived a year of selling copiers. I surprised him with 2 cats for his birthday, he surprised me with a handgun for Christmas (my surprise went over better).
As we embark on our 10th year of marriage and I look at the friends around me just starting this journey (I’m looking at you, Jordan!) or about to begin it (XO, Holly & Joe, Sarah & G), I wanted to share some of my lessons on what makes a beautiful marriage:
Challenge and support each other.
- In all good relationships, both parties help each other become better people. This is especially true in marriage where you rely on each other so heavily.
- Just this year, Nick pushed me to sign up for #DK200 when I missed out on the easier Half Pint registration and he used that same inspiration to sign up for his first 50k trail run. We pushed each other to do what we thought was nearly impossible, supporting each other every step of the way.
Totally normal: you will drive each other crazy.
- No marriage would be complete without a little crazy.
- Remember: it’s normal, the frustration will pass, and nothing is perfect.
- If it’s a big crazy – keep in mind that we are all humans trying to do the best we can. Allow yourself to be vulnerable and see the person and their needs on the other side.
Know that you have to compromise.
- Compromise: an agreement or a settlement of a dispute that is reached by each side making concessions.
- Concessions suck, but you have to make them in marriage (and life) to survive and thrive.
- Some are big (Nick is taking me to Italy), some are small (I let him have the TV on in the morning), but they’re all vital to a healthy relationship.
Own different things.
- You can’t both be in charge of everything. Figure out where your strengths lie and draw some lines on who does what.
- I am a lucky woman and get to wake up knowing Nick will make me breakfast. And he gets to rest easy knowing I’ll wash the laundry and keep the house tidy.
Make time to connect.
- Connecting is a huge part of a happy marriage and it includes small things like talking walks together and big things like conversations about why we’re here and what we’re supposed to do with our lives.
- Carve out time where you can really talk. It’s amazing how much we can chit chat without ever really saying anything – make time to say the real things.
Do your own things.
- This is a magical elixir. Nick and I LOVE spending time together, but when we start driving each other crazy, we know we would benefit from some time apart.
Create your own adventures.
- If you’re going to be with this person for a lifetime, you might as well make it fun. Figure out what excites you and go do it. Make adventure a priority.
- For us that means small, daily adventures in owning our own businesses, camping, and hiking, and bigger, more exciting adventures like road trips and traveling.
You both have to try.
- Marriage isn’t easy. I think we all know that, but we take for granted that it’s just going to work out.
- For marriage to work, you have to put in effort, listen, be patient, and be a good partner. Even when you don’t feel like it.
It is worth it.
- Marriage to your best friend is the BEST! If you are so lucky to find someone who understands you, who loves you, who has your back, and who pushes you to be better – you are a very fortunate person indeed.
- All of the small nuisances are worth it for a life-giving partnership and a lifetime of adventure.
Thank you Nick for learning with me, teaching me, and making me a better person. I love you forever and always.
What did I miss? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below. What do you think makes marriage work?