Some of your most successful endeavors are when partnerships are formed to achieve something greater than either single person could achieve on their own. You hear about different businesses, large and small, where each person brought their own unique gifts and skill sets together to do some incredible things. You also hear about how certain partnerships inevitably hit major hurdles, setbacks or storms. Some of those thrive and come out even stronger. Unfortunately, some ultimately wither away.

Six years ago today, I entered into a partnership with my best friend. Not a business one (I talked about that a while back) but a bigger and more impactful one: marriage.

Megan and I have had the odds stacked against us being together from the start. By the time we were at the point where we were ready to make things “Facebook official,” I had already signed a lease for an apartment in Chicago and she still had two years of school left at Western Kentucky. I wasn’t going to have a car up there with me to drive down whenever I wanted and the closest airport was over an hour away from Western’s campus. We didn’t even share a mutual hometown, with each of our families living on opposite ends of Kentucky.

Most people would’ve seen the odds of a relationship like that having a chance of surviving and just called it while they were ahead. Megan and I are both stubborn in our own ways. Too stubborn to throw in the towel.

So for two years, we dated totally long distance. She came to visit me in Chicago in some of the worst weather times of year possible. When I proposed to her, at the time, it was assumed we were going to be spending the first part of our marriage living up there. She hated cold weather (still does) more than anything. Yet, despite potentially living in a climate that she hated, she still agreed to marry me.

Fortunately, I found a job in Atlanta a couple of months before we tied the knot. Much warmer than Chicago 😊

Almost immediately after we got married (like literally 12 hours after “I do”) we hit snags with our honeymoon travel plans. Then a blown tire trying to drive to our alternative destination. Then daily (literal) thunder storms while we were planning on spending a lot of time outside. Obstacles right out of the gate.

Then things settled down. We both had good jobs in Atlanta, got a dog, lived in an apartment in a cool part of town and things seemed to just “work out” for a couple of years.

Those years we were able to establish roles in our partnership. We figured out what each person did best in terms of making a home. We got to go on fun trips, eat at amazing places, build an extended family of friends in our church and just enjoy each other. Even professionally working in the same industry, we were able to encourage each other and provide guidance around each new career step. While I didn’t recognize it at the time, those years were fairly easy.

The last two years have been far from it. While we’ve had huge blessings (i.e., welcoming our first little girl into the world), we have hit life challenges one right after the other. From experiencing loss to obstacles to times of total uncertainty, we have probably aged a lot in the last couple of years.  Even most recently, (long story short) we faced a lot of water damage in our home, which has led to a lot of paperwork, negotiations, all five (Megan, me, Campbell, dog, cat,) living in one room in our house while fans were going and us likely moving out into a hotel for a month while things get repaired.

Of the top major stressors that a person (or couple) can face, we have faced nearly all of them in a remarkably short period of time. What we’ve experienced could legitimately create fissures in a relationship.

However, while we’ve faced challenges, our relationship is stronger than it ever was. Those obstacles have actually brought us closer together rather than divide us. We’ve had to learn a lot about ourselves and each other along the way to weather each storm.

The best partnerships are ones where all parties are all in. I’m lucky enough to be in one with an absolutely beautiful, out-of-my-league woman who is all in with our marriage. We both know that failure is not an option, that our marriage is a partnership bigger than each of us individually. Because of that, even the hardest challenges can bring about moments of absolute joy.

I’ve been blessed to be in a wonderful home, raising the most beautiful little girl in the world (I’ll fight anyone who disagrees 😉), have two awesome pets while also experiencing other amazing things along the way with my best friend.

It’s been a six year journey so far. In some ways it feels longer than that. In other ways, it seems like I was just at the altar kissing the bride. I want time to slow down but also can’t wait to see what the future holds for us and our family.

I love you Megan. Happy anniversary!