The Secret to Staying Married

IMG_6639Alright pay attention.  This question, perhaps more than any other, is the one I get asked more often than most (yes I realize that was a redundant statement).  The questions is, “what’s the secret to making your marriage last?”  The answer is simple.  Flossing.  As in my teeth.

Yep that’s it.  In the likely event that you’re confused, let me add some clarity.  I’d venture to guess that there aren’t many of you that can honestly say you floss your teeth everyday?  Maybe I’m wrong, but I don’t think so.  Now we all know that flossing has proven benefits.  Some studies even show it to extend your life!  Seriously, simply flossing your teeth daily might add years to life, yet still most don’t do it.  At the very least it leads to healthy teeth and gums as well as decreases the likely hood of breath related people repellent issues.

Now I ask, if you can’t convince yourself to take two minutes a day to doGlide something that will make you healthier and might help you live longer, how are you going to do the little things that keep your marriage going?  You know that saying “I love you” (sometimes saying it first boys) is important.  You know that appreciating the little things matters.  “Please,” “thank you,” “You’re my best friend,” are all simple acts of expressing your feelings.  They all will make you feel better and extend your relationship.  How many times do you say them?  Do you write thank you notes, love notes, notes in the steam on the bathroom mirror?  Do you kiss your wife/husband good bye?  Hello?  Just for the fun of it?

I’m telling you it’s easy.  As easy as flossing your teeth.  The problem is that skipping a flossing or two won’t show immediately on the health of your teeth any more than skipping a kiss or two every now and then will on the health of your relationship.  But once your start skipping, skipping gets easier and leads to eventual elimination.  Pretty soon your sitting in the dentist chair getting fitted for dentures wishing to heck you’d flossed more often.  Get it?  Now go floss your teeth, plant a kiss and say I love you to someone…  preferably in that order.

Dear Trista, I love you.  Love me.

Reflection – My Advice to Ben and His Girl.

IMG_0647As the final episode of the 20th season of ABC’s The Bachelor approaches, we all wait with baited breath to see which of the two girls Ben has fallen in love with will get his final rose.  Last week, on the women tell all special, Ben told host, Chris Harrison, without hesitation, that he would “marry her tomorrow.”  A bold, confident statement by a man who, by all accounts, is honest and true to his heart.  Ben’s statement was more than an expression of his feelings.  It was a direct message to his girl in the wake of an experience most can not understand nor imagine.

I am not most.  Though it has been awhile, I was there, in this poor girl’s shoes watching the person of your dreams dating, kissing and, in Ben’s case, falling in love with someone else.  And even if you don’t really watch it, you feel it.  You can’t escape the noise of it.  It surrounds you, eating away at the confidence and love that was so easy at first.  In many cases, the pressure is too much.  The temptation to allow doubt and jealousy to prevail and take over is tremendously powerful.  That’s the easy road – the road travelled by those who have quickly found themselves alone despite a once genuine connection.  The battle is real.  To survive requires an antidote to the poison of uncertainty.  For me, that antidote comes in the form of reflection.

Reflection is the dry sponge of reason applied to the wet mess of life.  Left unabsorbed, life will run uncontrollably along the path of least resistance. In the case of Ben and his mystery girl, that path is towards resentment, regret, distrust and perhaps anger.  Life must be taken in, put in it’s place and in perspective.  Reflection does that.  A few moments to understand – to soak up life’s experiences – controls the mess.  Unchecked, life will grow from a drop, to a puddle, to a lake to an ocean.  At some point it becomes too much, desperation sets in and we drown.  The associated pain results in the need to press the reset button, leaving all that was once good in its wake.

Periodic and routine reflection allows life to be taken in well before it becomes too much.  Lending perspective to experience keeps doubt at bay and allows clarity to influence judgement.  Furthermore, reflecting on life’s experiences and relationships builds resiliency, thus warding off the effects of adversity in the future.

For Ben, reflection can provide the perspective needed to understand the thoughts driven into his girl’s head as a result of the difficult Bachelor process.  He can begin to comprehend the steps necessary to repair any damage or lost trust and place focus on demonstrating the depth of his feeling for her and only her.

For the mystery girl, reflection will shine light on the path forward, allowing her to accept that going on The Bachelor was a choice with known consequences yet capable of great reward.  Though she is feeling the consequences, reflecting on the reward and the vast potential within it will carry her from the depths of doubt to the certainty and joy of a future with Ben.

Life, on The Bachelor or off, is a series of experiences and relationships.  They move fast and carry tremendous possibility – good or bad.  However, without an effort to reflect and absorb their impact, life’s important moments run roughshod over our personal landscapes, preventing the ability to harness their power and allowing their likely gravitation towards pain and discomfort.  My advice to Ben, and to everyone, is to spend a few moments a day in reflection.  Absorb life.  Appreciate it.  And pick Lauren B…

Why Adventure.

March/April Issue of Dorado Magazine. Photo by Matt Nager
March/April Issue of Dorado Magazine. Photo by Matt Nager

At the time of this post, I’m 41 years, 5 months, 2 weeks and 4 days old.  I weigh 10 lbs more than I did in High School and 30 lbs less than when I was in college.  I have a bad back, bad knee and bad shoulder.  I need coffee in the morning and plenty of sleep at night.  I don’t subscribe to a diet or swear allegiance to a work out program. After a crash in The Leadville Trail 100 mtn bike race last August, in which that bad shoulder became worse (torn rotator), I got up, finished the race, had surgery and committed to attempting the almost unrivaled test of completing the Leadman Challenge (finishing the Leadville Trail series marathon, 50 mile bike, 100 mile bike, 10k and 100 mile run all over the course of a few months and almost all above 10,000 feet in elevation).

I’ll do this, along with the GoPro Mountain Games Ultimate Mountain Challenge (kayak, mtn bike, trail run, road bike), as a continual personal reminder of the importance in pursuing adventure and accepting challenge.  I am not a physical specimen.  Nor am I an elite athlete.  Having been exposed to the fragility of life as a fire fighter, I simply understand that life is short.  Life is fair but it is not easy.  It is incredibly important to me to “practice” adversity so that I am prepared for it when life might introduce it.  It has been my experience that, in challenging moments, people are guided – through their previous experiences – to a place of either strength or weakness.  I want that place to be strength. That is why I adventure.

ESPN Job Posting ***FAKE***

*This is not a real job posting.  Just a dream job posting I completely made up.  Please don’t be mad at me.  Thank You.

ESPN Insider Position – Reality Television

Looking to fill the position of ESPN Reality Television Insider. Qualifications for the position include the ability to creatively communicate reality television analysis to a sport focused, and potentially Reality TV adverse, audience. Reality television experience is not necessary unless you actually want the job. Athletic experience is not required but is highly recommended with a minimum of 8 seconds of professional experience preferred. At times, the position may require general commentary on daily sporting events not related to reality television, though admittedly, expectations will be low given the adolescent nature of reality television purveyors and reality television in general as a baffling, non-intellectual medium. Opportunity for advancement is highly unlikely, though not impossible but probably nearly impossible. Some level of vanity is expected. Drinking is prohibited on set.

Send Applications via social media or personal blog/websites to the most appropriate ESPN handle you can think of.

Thank you for your interest in this remarkable position. Good Luck!

Ryan Sutter’s Application:

Letter of Intent