Article originally appeared in Thought Catalog
The first time my parents came to Barcelona from the United States to meet my soon-to-be wife, my dad pulled me aside and said, “never come home”.
Growing up, I had always believed that prior to settling down and starting a family, that it was not only important, but mandatory, to get certain things out of your system and to be financially secure in order for a marriage to work. To say that when I met my future wife, I had accomplished these things, would be a huge understatement. I had just moved to Barcelona with no real plan, and I was just starting out in a new career. At the age of 31, I was back at square one and just beginning the baby steps of trying to figure out “what I wanted to be when I grew up”.
Despite this, nature took its course and things began moving very quickly. A part of me was apprehensive about starting a relationship since I was not yet the person that I thought she hoped or expected me to be. But it did not take me long to realize that this type of thinking was not only wrong, but flat out ridiculous. It turned out that what was missing from me becoming the person that I wanted, was her, a pretty little girl from Catalunya.
I read a lot about productivity and coaching, but I rarely see the advice to “find the perfect partner”. Below are just some of the reasons why when it comes to my career, and my life, my wife is my ultimate “life hack”.
1. I AM BETTER AT KEEPING IN TOUCH WITH PEOPLE:
Around the time of my 35th birthday I was in a rut. I will spare you the details, but it had begun to take a serious toll on our relationship. Instead of confronting me about the problem, knowing that history has a way of repeating itself and it would most likely only provide a short term solution, she decided to do something about it. She spent the next few weeks contacting not only my family, but also my friends in America (many of which she had not met at the time) and she put together a photo album of my life. It included not only pictures, but messages from all the people that cared about me. I was blown away.
The messages from my friends and family immediately put things in perspective as to what was important. And of course, so did the girl sitting in front of me, hoping with every ounce of her being, that this gift of showing me how many good people I had in my life would snap me out of my funk and make me smile. With one present, my wife turned my life around, by not only telling me that she cared, but by showing me.
2. MORE CONSCIOUS OF THE LITTLE DETAILS:
My wife has absolutely no interest in what kind of car you drive or what type of purse you are carrying. Material things really do not matter to her, at all. She smiles when she is with her friends and family. She smiles when she plays with our boy, or anytime she sees him for that matter. She smiles when I tell her that dinner was good. She smiles when I hold her hand and tell her she is beautiful. Best of all, she smiles when someone else is smiling.
It is the little things that matter to her, and since we are around each other for the better part of the day some of these things have rubbed off on me, and I find myself enjoying the small details of each day more.
3. A BETTER JUDGE OF CHARACTER:
The problem with people who do not want something in return is that by nature they are very good judges of character. My wife does not keep score, and she wants nothing out of a relationship other than trust and laughter. Put this all together and it is very hard to pull one over on her.
Each and every time she gave me a subtle warning about someone or some project, she was dead on. She does not waive it in my face with a “I told you so”, but she does make it clear to be more careful with people who put their agenda miles ahead of my own. When my wife says tread lightly, now I usually find myself running, for the simple fact that I now have two more eyes, and two more ears listening and watching out for me.
4. I EXERCISE MORE:
I cannot count how many times the solution to a problem I was working on came to me when I stepped away and exercised. After this happened so many times you would think that I would not need someone to motivate me to exercise more, but I still do.
My wife can tell the second she gets home from work whether I have gone to the gym or not. It is written all over my face and all over my body. Every time I complain about something or I am stuck at work her advice is the same: get up and do something. My wife knows that I do not look forward to exercise, but she also knows that I do my best work, and more importantly, I am more fun to be around, when I do.
5. I EAT BETTER:
Jim Rohn said, “you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with”. I agree with this statement, but I agree with “you are the average of the five things you eat the most” even more”.
Prior to meeting my wife I never put too much thought into the cliché that “you are what you eat”. Fast forward six years and I now know that what I decide to put into my body is the most important decision that I will make each day. If I eat horribly, I feel sluggish, and these feelings trickle down to affect the work that I do, and ultimately how I end up treating others. In my previous life, I ate what was most accessible at the time, and more often than not, that meant either fast or frozen. Since meeting her I am much more conscious of what I eat and since the majority of evenings when I come home I find my wife and son together in the kitchen making “suc verde” (green juice) and a healthy dinner, it is safe to say that this will not be changing anytime soon.
I was once warned by an editor to keep my posts at around 900 words. Anything over shows that either I have no point, or too many. When it comes to my wife, and all the incredible things she has brought into my life, I think it is safe to say that she has given me more than enough reasons to validate the breaking of this rule. She is not only supportive of what I want to do, but she gives me the courage to do some of the things that I thought I was never capable of doing in the first place by her simply being her.
The person who coined the term, “It is better to travel than arrive”, obviously has never met my wife.