I don’t post a whole lot about my private life or relationships, more specifically my relationship with the Boss. As an adult I have learned that real relationships are difficult and sometimes ugly. I’ve never wanted to mislead anyone into thinking we are this fairytale couple but I also didn’t want to share the details of all the good, the bad, and the ugly so I have left the details out for the most part. This year is shaping up to be one of our best years as a couple. I am so excited to be in such a good place with Bret and to be learning how to more effectively communicate and progress as a couple. I asked the Boss if he would participate in a post for Valentine’s Day to share what we know or what we have learned about relationships thus far. My hope is that you will take away at least one thing to strengthen your own relationship and that you will know that relationships are really hard but incredibly worth it when you work at it.
Q: What made you fall in love with Bret/Becki
Becki: I always want things I can’t have and Bret was pretty good at playing hard to get. I’d say my initial attraction to him was the chase but I actually fell in love with him when I realized what a family guy he is and how hard working and disciplined he is. Good boys are hard to come by.
Bret: I was immediately attracted to Becki because she has just the right amount of self-confidence; she wasn’t a brat but she wasn’t insecure about herself either. She was always and still is the spark in every room. I fell in love with her passion for life. She gives herself 100% to whatever activity she undertakes. I fell in love with her creativity and her passion to help those around her. She easily loves others and sees the best in people and sees the best in me. Her spunk and creativity are exactly what I need to complement my personality.
Q: What’s your favorite thing about Bret/Becki?
Becki: The man is dependable! His brain functions like clockwork. Even though sometimes that makes me frustrated I know things will always be taken care of and he keeps me grounded.
Bret: Well, besides being drop-dead gorgeous, she has a huge heart. I must say my most favorite thing about her is her desire to love and serve those around her.
Q: What’s your favorite thing about being married?
Becki: Having someone to create a family with. It’s still pretty mind blowing that we made little humans together and will be responsible for them for the next few decades.
Bret: The first thing that comes to mind is SEX! Am I allowed to say that? Yeah, I’m a typical guy I guess. But for reals though I would have to say the companionship of having someone by your side through thick and thin.
Q: What’s your least favorite thing about being married?
Becki: I’m still getting used to sharing decisions with someone else. I like my independence and doing my own thing whenever and however I want. Now that I am married it’s more of a team effort and I don’t just get to change my mind or switch gears completely whenever I want. My choices and actions effect the whole family now.
Bret: Not getting to have sex. My real answer though is that Becki and I are both pretty stubborn so when we disagree about something it is frustrating for both of us. We are definitely still learning on this one.
Q: How do you overcome disagreements?
Becki: In the past I had two strategies, the first is to stonewall (not much of an argument if one person refuses to talk). If he keeps pushing me my second tactic is to go nuclear. You get me fired up enough then my arsenal of words will assault him until he retreats or his argument crumbles to ashes. Since then I have learned to refrain from getting defensive right away and actively engage in the “discussion”. The more I listen and repeat what he is saying the more I help to make him feel like his feelings are validated and he knows I care.
Bret: In the past there have been many failed attempts to overcome our differences. I am learning though that it’s all in the approach. Becki is a delicate flower and if I come at her like a hammer then she will just get crushed. I have realized I’m quick to criticize when I really should just hold my tongue. Words really can hurt people. It’s all in how you present your idea. I have to build that relationship of trust and we have to be in a secure zone in order to overcome disagreements.
Q: What do you do to keep the fire burning?
Becki: In reality the two of us get so busy that the flame is sometimes barely a flicker. With two stressful jobs between the two of us my mind is so busy thinking about all that needs to be done that I don’t even think about romantic things. I am discovering that I have to be able to relax enough to empty my mind of the day to day things that otherwise distract me from feeling in the moment. I have found that when I make time for the bedroom he is a lot more willing to make time for the day to day things and that’s what lights my fire so it’s definitely when we both give and take that flame is the hottest.
Bret: I think it’s all about the little things that show you truly care about each other. I have learned that if I stop thinking about myself and focus on what I can do to make her happy then that makes all the difference. I may not be able to solve all her issues (which us guys want to naturally do) I just need to show her that I genuinely care. I have also learned that she is like an oven in that she takes some time to warm up. She loves her hot bath every night and I’ve become pretty good at giving massages.
Q: How do you forgive and forget?
Becki: I have a hard time letting go of things so this is still something I struggle with but I am realizing that you can’t live in the past and the present at the same time so if I care about moving forward and progressing the only option is to forgive and forget.
Bret: I heard a quote years ago that said “women are like spaghetti and men are like waffles.” It’s easier for me to compartmentalize everything while for Becki if there is just one thing bothering her then everything is bothering her. I think the key to forgiving others is to remember that both of us are not perfect and both of us will make a lot of mistakes. Part of this life is to love and support each other with our flaws and weaknesses. Ultimately, we have to rely on Christ to allow Him to heal us to forgive others and love others as He does.
Q: What do you do when your spouse is angry?
Becki: If I am being honest I am the one who is usually angry so even when there is an incident where he is angry with me I find a reason to be angry at him to deflect his anger. Yikes! Kind of a bad and selfish pattern that I am for SURE trying to escape from.
Bret: I try to run for cover! Actually I usually push back which doesn’t help the situation at all. Something I have learned recently is that anger is usually a cover up for other root emotions like disappointment or sadness. If Becki is angry the best thing I can do is NOT to get angry back, but rather be patient and understanding and focus on the issue and not her emotions.
Q: How do you deal with being extreme opposites?
Becki: In the beginning I know there was a lot of anger and frustration and even more pushing for the other to change. I finally figured out that it is entirely impossible to change anyone but yourself so I have been more focused on how being opposites can be a good thing. We were both pretty extreme in our ways and I am just now starting to see how he is helping me to gain balance and learn to adopt discipline and structure which in the past were really challenging behaviors for me.
Bret: One thing that has really helped me lately is to better understand our personality types. I recently did a personality exercise called “Real Colors.” I highly recommend it for all couples to go through. I am very Gold (organized, direct, prefer routine, like to be in control, etc) then Green (analytical, data-driven, studious, etc) whereas Becki is very Orange (creative, talented, spontaneous, fun-loving, etc) then Blue (emotional, seek to make sure others are happy, sensitive, etc). Understanding this and the goal to become more well-rounded people helps me to be more spontaneous and flexible as well as seek to be more in tune with her emotions.
Q: Does marriage get easier or harder?
Becki: I think that marriage is a roller coaster. I used to think that finding the right person and then planning the wedding would be the hardest part of marriage but now I know that staying married is the hardest part. Sometimes things are really beautiful and great in marriage like the honeymoon stage or a new home or baby, and other times are much harder like really long hours at the office or financial struggles. I think the key is really make the good times count so you have something to get you through the really crappy times. When things are really sucking I just remind myself to think that if things are this bad right now then it just means they will be that much better during the next positive streak.
Bret: I think it depends a lot on the relationship between each couple. Becki and I have definitely had our struggles, but through all of it we have both learned a ton about ourselves and about each other. We have realized that we can’t do this alone and need purposeful, planned activities that will bring us together and build positive momentum.
Q: How do you communicate effectively?
Becki: Both of us tend to fly off the handle pretty easily so we are finally learning to take important conversations really REALLY slow! Like kicking an egg back and forth without breaking it, we gently pass ideas back and forth between each other as opposed to our old method which was hurling opinions at each other and sidestepping their ideas or blocking comments. If things start to get heated we know to slow it down or take a break for a while.
Bret: Again, it’s all about the approach. I have to choose my words wisely and make sure the timing is right to bring up important issues. We started to keep a family planner and that has helped a lot with our crazy schedules.
Q: What have you learned about marriage and relationships.
Becki: It’s unrealistic to think that a marriage license is the final ticket to your happiness. Marriage is really hard and sometimes painful and it definitely isn’t always sunshine and roses. When you plant a seed it doesn’t grow to full maturity over night and it certainly doesn’t blossom without a little rain and thunder. There’s a lot of commitment and time required to cultivate a lasting relationship and you have to be willing to get a little dirty and occasionally endure getting pricked by a thorn or two before you reap the beauty of growing flowers. The more time and effort you are willing to put into your marriage the more beautiful and bountiful it will be.
Bret: I used to think that Becki and I had all the answers and that we could figure it out on our own. In reality, we all need as much help as we can get. We should seek out to find tools and resources that will help better understand each other and ourselves. The bottom line is we must lean on God for His love, His understanding, and His spirit to help us and guide us. As we draw closer to our Heavenly Father we inherently draw closer to our spouse. The opposite is true as well.
photography by Sarah Waggoner PhotographyBack to Blog