In most of our blogs we give advice about weddings based on our experiences. We don't like to focus on ourselves as our job is to provide you with a venue space, stay behind the scenes and make your day run smoothly. Today (August 13, 2021) John and I are celebrating our tenth wedding anniversary. I look back and can't believe how much we have accomplished for our businesses, grown as a couple and created a family. Things have not been easy and sometimes we didn't like each very much.
First, to give a small background about each of us. John grew up on a dairy farm about five miles from Eron's Event Barn. His family eventually sold the cattle and has owned an equipment dealership for 45 years. John helps them crop farm in addition to creating his own custom harvesting business. He harvest alfalfa and corn silage for other farms. I (Melissa) also grew up on a dairy farm, but in Minnesota (yes, I am is still a Vikings fan). I always thought I would come back and help my parents run the farm, but God had other plans. Taking a job in Wausau after graduating college lead me to cross the river permanently. John and I were introduced through my co-worker at the time whose dad was the local fire inspector. After meeting each other, neither of us thought we would last - I was after all a fan of the red tractors, Case IH, while John was an avid John Deere lover. Needless to say, ten years later we are still together and have two children. To me, ten years is not very long when you compare it to couples who have over 50 years together. How to did we survive the first ten? Here are ten tips that we try to focus on for our marriage.
Play to each other's strengths: I'm pretty sure the only thing John can actually cook is frozen pizza and scrambled eggs. He is however a grill master. I do the cooking, housework and kid raising. John is great at repairing heavy equipment. From the Eron's Event Barn standpoint, John is always busy building or working on projects while I handle the marketing, emails and daily interactions. We have found what we are good at and fill in where the other is not as strong.
Be patient: I will admit, I am not a patient person. Having a husband and kids sure tests this concept many times during the day. I like to jump in, answer questions and solve problems immediately. John likes to think about the best way first, but sometimes this takes time. While I am still learning this concept after many years, it teaches me that sometimes the best things are worth waiting for.
Forgive: This is an integral part of every relationship. No one is perfect. Everyone will mess up. No matter how long you have been together, you will discover some flaws along the way. I have a great memory, but that is not always a good thing. Part of a strong marriage is realizing when you are wrong and communicating with each other.
Learn your love language: We read the book, and while I won't share our love languages to the masses, we learned how we can show affection to each other. It has also been fun to discover the love language of our children as they are so different from each other.
Date each other: This can be easier said than done. Now that we have kids, finding a babysitter is sometimes a struggle and it is just easier to either stay home or take the kids with. Date night doesn't have to be an elaborate event. It can simply be watching a movie together or even sitting together while your kids play on the swing set. Make a point to spend time together. One our struggles is in addition to being husband a wife, is that we are also business partners. Sometimes it is hard to focus on ourselves because we love our business.
Have some alone time: While I just said to spend time together, we also need time apart. I definitely need my alone time, usually when the kids are in bed at night or early morning. It helps me recharge and prepare for the day. Be sure to give your significant other some time to themselves occasionally -- they will come back grateful.
Laugh together: Having children makes this easy - they are always doing something crazy! Having a good chuckle daily is good for your relationship and personal well-being -- it just makes you happier.
Like each other: I look back at our wedding pictures and think "wow we looked so young". Our bodies change over time (hello childbirth!), and so does our relationship. With both of us very focused on running Eron's Event Barn, our farm, harvesting crops and raising two kids, we don't have much of a social life. I sometimes complain that I would like to talk to a person other than a computer or a 5 and 7 year old. You realize that the person you talk to the most is your spouse.
Celebrate: Take time to celebrate accomplishments, big or small. While this may seem a bit childish, it is still nice to feel appreciated. Be sure to compliment your spouse. Go back to the please and thank yous.
Reflect: Writing this blog has given me time to reflect on our marriage. Being an entrepreneur has its struggles, but it also lets us work together each day, raise our family, and lets us meet so many new people. I encourage you to look back at your wedding ceremony if you are married. I remember our pastor saying we were a "match made in Heaven". God chose us to be together and with lots of prayer we have survived the first ten years together. If you are engaged, think about why you want to marry your fiance. Realize that it won't be easy, you will have disappointments and tragedy. You will also have someone there for you during difficult times and to celebrate the best times. Don't be afraid to lean on each other for extra strength.
We are blessed to be celebrating ten years together. We never thought we would own a wedding barn when we got married, but are grateful for all the people we have met along with way. There are so many memories in both our businesses and personal lives and we are excited to see what the next ten will bring us.