We’re all caught up!
I have been posting my musings from a different newsletter on this site, so those reading have been getting book recommendations and stories from months in the past. This is the first post in a while that is current, and moving forward, they should all be current thoughts, recommendations, and stories.

Let’s start this off with a couple book recommendations and then my attempt at words of wisdom are after the books.

Book Recommendation:
Play Hungry– Pete Rose
My amazing coworker – Matt Gibson – turned me onto this book and I found it very enjoyable. Granted, it is probably best that you know a bit about baseball to really enjoy this one, so this could be alienating some of you based on the sports topic, but it was interesting to get Pete’s perspective on his historical life and meteoric fall from grace. 

I gained a lot of respect for him after reading this and who knows, maybe you will too. 
If you’re not into sports, I have a recommendation for you as well:
The Body, by Bill Bryson. 
I’m a nerd when it comes to anatomy and physiology. Back in college, I was studying to go to Medical School. All I had to do was take the MCAT and apply before some other things in life moved me to where I am today. This book’s full title is The Body: A Guide for Occupants and it is one of my favorite reads for this year. Bill Bryson has several books like this where he breaks down each system in great detail including functions and interesting facts about our bodies and how they work. 
Words of Wisdom 
I’m actually writing this in a hotel room. 
My wife and I are on our annual birthday/anniversary trip.  

We got married 2 days after her birthday because we were determined to get married as soon as possible, and the earliest reasonable date was THE day after my last college final for that semester.  

My goofy man-brain thought, “this is a great idea! Now her birthday, our anniversary, and Christmas are all within 2 weeks of each other! Think of how efficient this will be and… I will be much less likely to forget one or both of those important dates.” 

12 years later, we both concluded yesterday that we should’ve waited until the spring.  

Given that we live in Utah, it is usually freezing cold and snowing during her birthday and our anniversary. But… 12 years ago… she just couldn’t keep her hands off me and wanted to get married as quickly as possible, so… it is what it is.  

Can you really blame her, though? I mean… have you seen my writing? She’s a sucker for a good read.  

We tend to take a big trip every 5 years to Hawaii or somewhere cool (really just Hawaii) and then the other years are more localized trips around our state or neighboring states. This year, Park City is the destination and there is a lot of ice, snow, and cold temperatures here.  

She is currently exercising down in the hotel gym while I stacked a paper plate as tall as I could, deftly balanced it all on the way back up to our room, and am now typing away in between bites from the “Complimentary Hot Breakfast” that was neither complimentary – our room rates more than paid for it – nor hot, but the lukewarm omelet and bacon did their job and I am no longer hungry.

Maybe the fact that I am here eating while she is exercising explains why she is in remarkable shape, and I am, well, not in shape.  

Nah… must be genetics. 

Lessons from marriage 
12 years of marriage means I’ve got to come up with 12 lessons I’ve learned over the past dozen years. This should be easy, right?
(My wife helped me come up with these and has read all of them, so know that this is a joint effort) 

1. Never – and I mean NEVER – flush a toilet, or start laundry, or turn on any faucet in the house while your wife is showering. 

The shriek and screaming that follows, while it can be hilarious, usually isn’t worth the moment of panic that you experience after you have just flipped the handle and can’t take it back, along with the dirty looks from your spouse all day as she plots her revenge. 

I accidentally did this 12 years ago and have never made that mistake again. 
She “accidentally” does this to me almost weekly. No joke, she’s done it twice this week. Which leads me to…

2. There is a clear double standard.
I’ll admit, I’m not the tidiest person on the planet, but my untidiness is harmless. It is not uncleanliness, I just sometimes leave my shoes on the floor by my side of the bed, or I don’t hang up all my shirts because my hangers mysteriously get stolen – and I get some heat for this. 

But take one look into her car vs my car and there is a CLEAR double standard happening here. It’s like she is one person outside the car – put together, tidy, aware of any object out of place – and a complete lunatic once she enters a car. 

And I know, the response is going to be, “Erik, she has kids to worry about in her car and it’s impossible to keep a van clean with 3 kids.” 

Okay, I’ll give you that. I agree. So, let’s move over to my car and notice the difference between the driver’s and back seats vs the passenger seat (where she sits). 

There is a cup holder/storage compartment in the passenger-side door that I can’t see into from the driver’s seat, but any time I open that passenger door from her side and look into that door compartment, it’s like a wrapper hoarder lives in my car. 

I don’t even remember her eating while we were driving! I legitimately think she sleepwalks out into the garage at nights and puts random wrappers and junk in my passenger car door. 

3. Just Make the Bed
Efficiency is important. Over the past 12 years, I have never agreed with making the bed. Allow me to explain…

I don’t believe that we should just leave the bed and covers thrown amok without any regard for order. That’s not my style. 
I do think straightening the bed covers up, putting the pillows at the top of the bed, and folding over the blankets on my side, sort of like a triangle fold over, so that when it is time to go to bed, I can just slide into bed, fold the covers back over me, and settle into the cozy comfort of sleep – this seems reasonable. 

Or… OR… we can make the entire bed every day while singlehandedly keeping the pillow industry afloat by covering our entire bed in decorative pillows of all sizes. Then, when we are exhausted after a long day, or cold and wanting to get warm under covers as quickly as possible, we can spend a solid 2 minutes shoveling a mountain of pillows off the bed and into a corner of the room. 

After 12 years of marriage, I have learned that making the bed because it looks better for my wife – who is the only other human who will see it decorated other than myself – is the right thing to do, no matter how impractical it is. 

I’m hoping this effort on my part eventually pays off. 

4. Selective hearing is a real thing.
I can’t claim to understand it. The explanation must lie somewhere buried in the subatomic structure of the space-time continuum or something, but whenever we’ve had kids that wake up in the middle of the night, I can sleep through it without even an inkling that the whole family was up all night. 

This was more of a thing when the kids were little babies, and they would wake up with little squeaks. My wife could hear a mouse squeak from 13 miles away, so she would instantly hear a squeaking baby and be ready to help. 

On more than one occasion, I would wake up after an AMAZING night’s sleep, lean over to her and say, “Hey, the kids did it! They finally slept through the night!” 
Only to hear her groan, “No… no they didn’t.” 

I have learned that a midnight elbow to the side is okay and, while I am awake, trying to put a little more effort into listening and helping out is probably a good idea. However…

5. We have VERY different timelines.
I have learned that when my wife asks if I would be able to do something, she means now… not 20 minutes from now, or a couple of days from now… Now. 

Hanging pictures is what immediately comes to mind. It must be buried in my evolutionary DNA of the hunter needing to go find food, build shelters, and protect the clan, so when he is being asked to decorate the teepee to look nice, it just doesn’t make it anywhere near the top of the “need to do this immediately” priority list. 

So, when I get home from work, set the keys in their place and my bag on the ground, if I am asked to hang a picture in the basement bathroom that hasn’t seen a visitor in 2 years, my answer is usually, “sure… eventually. Not now. But I’ll totally get to it.”

I have learned that this is the incorrect answer. 

6. When I say I don’t care, I genuinely don’t care. But I should.
This happens fairly frequently. I don’t have a great eye for interior design nor am I good at making things cute. When it comes time to decorate for Christmas and I am asked which of the 12 different stockings I like best, I can acknowledge, to you reading, that they are in fact 12 unique stockings, but they look like 12 identical stockings to me, and I genuinely don’t have a preference. I will be happy with any one of the stockings. Or no stocking. 

When I do have an opinion, I’ll share it. That opinion is often wrong, but if I have an opinion, I’ll share it. 

I have learned to share certain opinions to help my wife choose the opposite, better choice. 

7. When she says she doesn’t care, she most definitely cares. 
I know the classic example is, “where would you like to eat?”
Haha, Erik, funny joke. 
No. No joke. It legitimately happens All. The. Time. 

That question is always met with, “I don’t care, wherever you’d like.” 
Then the whack-a-mole commences where I rattle off 10 different restaurants ranging the globe in their cuisines, and each is expertly crunched with a mallet. 

I have learned not to ask that question anymore. Instead, I throw out a place I know we both like and say something like, “I’m feeling like Red Robin, do you have anything against going to Red Robin?”

This seems to have worked better. It’s not perfect, but it works better than the open-ended question that has every possibility on the planet as an option and then a guessing game that I always lose.  

8. There’s no avoiding the In-laws
We spend A LOT more time with my wife’s family than we do my family. After she had me locked down, I was informed of this phenomenon that couples tend to spend more time with the wife’s family, and we fit that stereotype to a T. 

I am fortunate to have incredible in-laws who are kind, generous, and helpful, all without trying to tell my wife and I how to live or raise our kids. Sure, their cooky, but I love them to death and have learned to accept this new family as my own. 

Life seems much easier with two families working together. 

9. Life is WAY simpler without kids
I look back at the days when it was just me and my wife, hanging out, two incomes and no kids. Life was simple. 

There’s actually an acronym for this, as it has apparently become more common for younger couples to forego having children. The acronym is DINK – Dual Income, No Kids. Many young couples substitute a dog instead of having kids, adding the WAD (With A Dog) acronym, meaning we have a lot of DINK WADs running around out there. 

But just like walking is simpler than driving a car, simpler does not get you to the same places. 

My wife and I are fortunate to have 3 healthy children who have changed the dynamics of our relationship. We have a lot less time to hang out as a couple, but more time to grow and play and teach and sometimes lose our minds and give up a piece of ourselves to our children. Being a dad is amazing. Having my wife as the mother of my children is wonderful. Wouldn’t want it any other way. 

We have several friends and family members who have tried having children but have been unable. We have several friends and family members who have experienced tragedies in their attempt to have children. 

In moments where our kids are acting up, or I feel bad about not having more “me-time,” I am learning to step back and appreciate how miraculous my situation really is and I feel incredibly fortunate. 

10. Don’t be too stubborn to apologize
You may be different, but our experience has been that when you live with someone and go through life together every day for an extended period of time, there will be moments where someone messes up, does something silly, hurts someone’s feelings, and a variety of other difficult situations arise. 

When I get sad or upset, I tend to go quiet, shrinking into my protective shell for a few days, and stew. It has never been easy for me to express certain feelings like disappointment or frustration. The consequences of this are that it leaves my wife in a state of confusion because she doesn’t know what’s wrong. 

After a few days, I tend to snap out of it, apologize for disappearing mentally for a bit, and we work things out. 

So… don’t be stubborn. Communicate. Apologize. Move forward. 

11. Different isn’t a bad thing.
My wife and I are very different in a lot of ways. 
When you first see us, it is immediately apparent. 
I am 6’4”
She is 5’3” 

She loves to ski. 
I have never been skiing in my life and have no desire to. 

She loves exercise – running marathons, doing a bunch of pushups, sit-ups, burpees, cycling, and the workouts that make me want to curl into the fetal position and cry. 

I, on the other hand, am like a dog. I need a ball or a frisbee to chase. I love sports of all kinds that involve throwing, catching, racquets, paddles, dribbling, passing, you know… “real” sports 😊 
My wife is not a fan of these. 

I’m a spender. 
She’s a saver. 

We are different in so many ways, and somehow, it all works. And I may be overconfident, but I think it works really well. 

We love spending time together on the things we have in common. Going on hikes, traveling, eating good food, playing games as a family, driving around and talking, watching good movies and shows, and playing with our kids. And it’s nice to know that she can pursue her passions with other adults and friends without forcing me to do things I don’t want to do and vice versa. 
12. I thought I loved her then.
One of my favorite artists is Brad Paisley and he has a song called “Then.” 
It is a beautiful song about how his love for his wife keeps growing, even when he didn’t think he could ever love her more. 

I have learned that the more experiences, challenges, successes, laughs, and memories we make, the more and more I fall deeper and deeper in love with my wife. And it’s different than the infatuation we had as newlyweds. I still think she is smokin’ hot, but we have seen each other at our best, at our worst, and everything in between that you can only experience after years of living with someone. 

To quote Mr. Brad Paisley, 
“What I can’t see is how I’m ever gonna love you more 
But I’ve said that before.

And now you’re my whole life
Now you’re my whole world
I just can’t believe the way I feel about you, girl
We’ll look back someday, at this moment that we’re in
And I’ll look at you and say
And I thought I loved you then.” 

There are the 12 lessons I’ve learned in 12 years of marriage. 

Here are 2 pictures for you:
The first is our engagements taken back in 2010 where my hair style was questionable at best. The second is our most recent family photos with me looking a little goofy and part of my head cut off (probably to hide the lack of progress towards a decent haircut) and my family looking adorable. 
­If you’ve made it this far, you are amazing and I appreciate you reading these posts.
I would love to hear any marriage or life lessons that you may have and are willing to share.

For my “real” job, I run a YouTube channel and we are closing in on a major milestone of 10,000 subscribers. Our goal is to hit that before 2023.

If you are feeling super generous and would like to give me a Christmas present that won’t cost you anything, consider subscribing to that channel here: 
YouTube Channel

It’s a channel about Medicare, and given that 11,000 people turn 65 every day in America, chances are you or someone you know needs to learn what on earth is going on with Medicare.

Alright, that’s all I got for this one.
Have a wonderful holiday season!

If you found this post fun, exciting, beautiful, helpful, or any other positive adjective and would like to see more of these, feel free to subscribe!

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