We sat down on the shores to rest our feet and look out into the serene mountains and water that surrounded us. The clouds were just low enough to cover the tops of the mountains and the water was rippling into the shoreline as we sat still, listening. We could feel the peace of the wilderness as it ate away at the stress that had accumulated on our shoulders for five years.

For the last two weeks, Steph and I were on vacation in beautiful Alaska where we were constantly surrounded by mountains and the wilderness.

Over these two weeks, I found myself looking into the landscape and pondering our life. For Steph and I, this trip was more than a vacation, it was also a soul searching mission for our marriage.

This vacation was meant to be reflective so we could sit and be us, and for once embrace each other without deflecting the life events coming at us.

Our last real vacation was nearly five years ago on our honeymoon. Over the last five years, we were using our vacation time to come home and visit family while living in Ohio. While this was great and we really enjoyed our time with family, we were never able to use our vacation for actual vacations that allowed us to remove the stress from our life.

In all honesty, our vacations were never really “vacations”.

We have gone through a lot in five years. In that time we have moved to Ohio and moved back home, we lost my Grandpa the first year we were in Ohio, we decided to embark on many challenges by fostering six children, we had a child of our own, we lost a foster child that was near and dear to our hearts and Steph got her Master’s degree (Yay!). These were just a few things we have lived through in the last five years.

With all of these things, we had a lot of built-up stress and resentment. Stress had been grinding away at our marriage for several years, as it would with almost any relationship.

It was this vacation that allowed us to unravel all of that baggage and move forward. I didn’t realize how much baggage we had until going on this vacation. It was so refreshing to get to spend time with Steph and get to find our true selves again.

Quite frankly, over the last few years we have had a hard time communicating with each other and finding a way to release our tensions in a constructive way. Not just in our marriage, but with handling the stress in general.

We truly believe that marriage is work. No one was able to tell us this before marriage because we were so “in the moment” and could not imagine loving someone as being difficult. We are a very unique couple and have grown up with each other from high school through all of the transitions that come from being high school sweethearts.

Even after living through it all, I have come out on the other side knowing that I love my wife and wouldn’t want to spend my life with anyone else.

I love my wife because she is the best human being I know. She cares about everyone so much, often times drowning herself so others can stand in the sunlight on her shoulders.

I don’t tell her this enough, but she is also a great mom and I often sit in awe as I see how easy parenting comes to her with Carter.

This vacation gave me a chance to remember all of the reasons that I love her, and now I don’t ever want to forget these reasons again.

I’m not sure where life will take us in the next five years, but I am sure of one thing after these last two weeks…we will definitely take another vacation before another five years comes and goes.


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