A great marriage isn’t something that just happens; it’s something that must be created!

My life isn’t perfect. Nor do I try to portray that it is. I do not have all the answers. I don’t think I am better than anyone else. (I do think that at this point in my life, I make better choices than I used to.)

What a lot of people will not be able to tell by looking at me and my life NOW is that I was not always this way. I was not always this person. For the majority of my life I was lost, trying to figure out who I was. I was trying to find a place to belong. I hated the person I was. The thought of myself, made me so sick, that I couldn’t stand to be alone – alone with my thoughts. I always had to be around people and always had to be in a relationship because I couldn’t even stand myself. Staying busy distracted me from having to face myself, face my demons, and actually DO something. 

I’ve hit rock bottom more time than I can count. I felt low and worthless and wanted to die so many times, I’ve lost count. I never shared this pain with anyone. I masked it all. I put on a front. I was raised, that you keep your life private because it was no one else’s business. Growing up, my parents talked about everyone and judged their life, their character and had an opinion about everything. I assumed that everyone was like that. And in all honesty, when someone asks “How are you?”, they really don’t want to hear a long sad, sob story. 

I labeled myself as a failure and because of that I definitely made sure I lived up to the person I thought I was. I hid my inadequacies. It appeared that I was a happy person who liked to have fun. I played the part well, but from time to time, it was tiring to keep up the charade. I always seemed to find relationships and friendships based with people who needed me (aka total wrecks) this insured that I was valuable to them, therefore decreasing the chance of abandonment and  that I became valuable to them. These relationships were not based on give and take. I was constantly giving. Whenever I needed something, they were never there for me to help pick up the pieces or just listen. And because I’d always kept up the act that I was strong and could deal with whatever came my way, most people that were in my life were totally clueless and had no idea how to help me, the strongest person they knew, fix my problems. This again, left me feeling alone, a feeling you just never get used to. 

Often, people who criticize your life are usually the same people that don’t know the price you paid to get where you are today.

Often, people see others success and assume it was easier for you to achieve than it would be for them. So they don’t even bother trying.

Often, people think success is completely out of their reach, especially if they have failed in the past.

Often, others compare themselves to others and allow their mind to convince them that they are inadequate. 

Other fellow coaches, are always asking me how I got Ryan to be supportive of my decision and involved in the business. I am always quick to tell the story about how I jumped his shit the first time he said “You ordered P90X…You know NOBODY ever finishes that, right?” and how I established from the beginning that I was NOT asking his permission. He’s said before, “Geez everyone must think I am a total pussy and you run the show!” I am sure there may be some men out there who wear the “HEAD OF THE HOUSEHOLD”/”MAN OF THE HOUSE” pin with pride and wonder why Ryan is letting his wife wear the pants in the family. So be it. 

But what the truth is, which is what I told Ryan into his statement about what others probably thought about him & our marriage:

#1 Who cares what people think? People with small minds, who think like that, will never see it any other way or will find fault in anything I say. 

#2 Actually, people are constantly telling me that they follow me because they are intrigued by our life and the stories I share. People want to know what our secret is to a relationship they admire.  

#3 Our story shows a person (me) who didn’t believe in myself, but wasn’t afraid to tell my husband, (the person I needed the most) what I needed & expected, which was for him to believe in me. 

#4 He readjusted his thinking, provided what I requested and even though he does NOT want to become a working coach, he doesn’t belittle me because I established from day 1 that this was important to me, therefore making it important to him. He attends all the Beachbody events with me so that he can understand what it is I am doing and so that I do not feel alone, even though he’s made it clear this is not something he wants to do career wise. (I told him from the beginning, that this is what I wanted to do and I shared with him and my girls what my goals were and how it would effect our family. That way everyone knew this was about US, not just me. I told Ryan from the beginning, that I’d rather him go with me to the different events throughout the year, but if we were going to make the investment, then he needed to attend the training sessions/seminars/etc WITH me or else I’d need to take one of my coaches in his place, that would benefit. I set my expectations from day 1 and let him make the choice.) 

#5 It shows a strong marriage, one that can withstand the test of major life changes and personal growth where both people are moving in two different directions career wise, yet have maintained the ability to work together as a team, moving in the same direction towards one common goal, yet not doing the same exact thing.

What is ironic, is that strangers or new people in our life, look at us and are envious. They want a relationship and a love like ours, while others who knew us well, have critiqued it and picked it apart. 

What people don’t see is the many years behind our relationship that led us to where we’re at now. 

Our relationship started when we were young. We were both in very dark places. We were both very broken. We started off in the wrong way, when we were still already married. We both justified that we were both miserable. I don’t believe you a third party can ever break a truly, strong marriage, so  We brought lots of  emotional baggage to the table. His family didn’t like his selection in a woman. My parents didn’t say anything, but never approved of any person I chose to have a relationship with. We became our small town scandal (until a new one popped up). We were doomed to fail.

I have never fought with someone like I do Ryan. 
I also have never fought so hard to make it work with someone like I do with Ryan. 
People said we’d never last because our personalities are so different. I am was a total control freak and he was a bit of a loose canon. 
People said Ryan is Ryan, you’ll never get him to change. People didn’t think he’d be able to deal with my overly organized, anal ways. 

I saw a quote from Gaynor Janes, a deceased physician, ” “There are two kinds of people: Everyone is either an escape artist or a control freak.” If you think about it, it’s true. Escape artists and control freaks usually marry one another.  Escape artists are those who hate conflict. They avoid confrontation at any cost. Control freaks move toward conflict, often to get it resolved. Both escape artists and control freaks are driven by fear. This is so us. 

In the beginning, I remember having doubts, thinking, “They’re all right. There’s no way this is going to work. I’ve never had so many problems in any other relationship, especially not right off the bat. If it’s like this in the beginning, it can’t get any better. I’ve never fought with anyone else like this before.. How can this be true love? Am I that damaged? Am I just not capable of having a successful relationship?”

I can now look back and say that of course, it wasn’t like any other relationship. And I wouldn’t have wanted it to be because those didn’t last. I see now that all of the obstacles and trials we’ve been through has only strengthened our marriage and we’ve both grown together and fixed our problems and faced our own personal demons TOGETHER. When things got rough, when no one would’ve blamed us for throwing in the towel, when the easiest thing to do was to walk away, the times that we thought “sometimes love just isn’t enough” – we didn’t take the high road. We didn’t take the easy way out. We didn’t run away.  So many  times people blame the person they are with and bail out. Instead of taking the time to figure out how BOTH parties have contributed to the problem so that they can fix something that is broken, instead of just throw it away. (I also see this with single people, who complain that they’re still single & can’t seem to find a good relationship, justifying that there are no good people left out there anymore. Instead of taking time to look at themselves, to see if they are too busy trying to find their right man/woman to actually focus on making sure they are a good candidate as someone else’s right man/woman.) I’ve found that even a control freak and an escape artist can make a life together. We’ve actually learned to balance each other out. He’s a little more organized and predictable and I am a lot more easy going and spontaneous. I have helped him stay grounded and he’s taught me how to be able to enjoy life and learn to take risks. 

We still have our ups and downs like anyone else. We just don’t see each down as a fatal blow to everything we’ve worked for. I could list a million and one things that drive me crazy about him. But like I always say – You have TWO choices in life. It’s in your POWER and it’s in your CONTROL to choose. Today, I chose to focus on WHY I love him instead of all the other things that drive me crazy and this is what I focus on everyday. 

This morning, after tons of things had not really gone right, I walked out of Rebel’s School to find that I had a flat tire. All I had to do was call and tell him “My car has a flat!” You could look in every corner of the house and see little piles of his stuff laying around (think shot gun shells, other ammo, nails, screws, wrapped, wires, you name it) that will take 6 months for him to pick up. But all I had to do was call and tell him “I have a flat!” and his response was “Where are you at?” and the next thing he said was “I’ll be right there!” I don’t love him just because of what he can do for me, but because even if I can’t rely on him to pick up his socks, I know I can always rely on him to take care of me. Even if he sometimes forgets important dates, he will still drop everything to make sure I am not stranded or put out. 

I share all of this with you, so that you learn that 

#1 EXTRAORDINARY things don’t or success can still be attained based on something that seemed doomed for failure from day 1
#2 Obstacles are put in our way to see what is worth fighting for
#3 Never compare your life or relationships or level of success to someone else. You don’t know what they overcame or how hard they fought to get where they are now.
#4 You can choose to focus on the positive and all the good things or you can choose to focus on the negative and what you are lacking
#5 Just because something isn’t like the rest, doesn’t it ‘s not perfect. The last thing you should want is what’s ordinary
#6 Never let anyone else’s opinions about YOUR relationship get in your head. Plenty of people are going to tell you that they don’t think they’re right for each other, but only you know. (Most of the time peoples opinions about YOUR relationship are based on experiences from THEIR relationship. Your relationship is not the same as theirs. Know the difference. Venting to a friend is one thing, but I’ve learned to NOT go to a friend for advice, especially not someone who has been hurt in the past or is bitter because they are alone.)

Like our tattoo’s symbolize – Where there’s a will, there’s a way. Find someone that’s worth fighting for. Communicate with one another – Don’t be afraid to share your feelings and expectations with one another. Find something to share with together that adds value to your life and helps you find a common goal to work towards TOGETHER. Focus on the good and what they bring to your life. Don’t worry if not everyone accepts or acknowledges your relationship. Do what makes you happy. Those who matter will be able to see it. Don’t just fake thru life and make it look good on the outside for others to see, because what matters is that it feels good on the inside to you!

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