Tag: anniversary

Year 18 – An Anniversary Reflection

Year 18 – An Anniversary Reflection

Ordell and Beth Walker

Happy 18th Anniversary Ordell

We are yet again surrounded by boxes. In a few weeks, we will be settling into another new house and calling it our home. Thankfully, this move is one of the less stressful ones since it’s just around the corner, in the summer, and into a bigger space than we currently occupy.

This January I watched Marie Kondo on Netflix and you half-joked that it was time to move as I purged room after room, but now we’re both glad I spent that time getting rid of all that unnecessary junk once again because it’s making packing and purging go quickly. It feels like a small victory in the timeline of the past 18 years. Knowing that some routines are worth the time even when they aren’t applicable every year.

One way to measure our timeline is by moves and almost moves. Another by more football games than I can remember, more players than I can count. So many meals cooked, so many moments stolen, so many times when we wondered what was coming next.

This year we learned that our 40’s are going to be what everyone promised, a whole new decade of discovery and adventure. We’ve learned more about ourselves than the past several combined. That has also brought a new closeness between us and I’m thankful for that as well as the honesty closeness brings.

This next year we will face having a high schooler, a child who will soon learn to drive. Another football season is on the calendar as well as the completion of a long book project and the next steps that come with that, and of course, settling into a new house.

Change is our only constant and I’m thankful for the way we grow and change together. I’m most thankful for the ways that we give each other space to pursue the nudges we feel from God. Partnering together and trusting God is guiding us well is the most comforting part of our past and our future.

Insulate Your Marriage from Stress

Insulate Your Marriage from Stress

insulate your marriage from stress

I grew up hearing that fifty percent of marriages end in divorce. I always found this confusing because barely anyone I knew was divorced, nor were their parents. It turns out that the fifty percent number was statistically accurate in 1980 and when you analyze the trends it has dropped since. The current numbers of divorce are dropping specifically with millennials as more couples choose to live together rather than marry. Regardless of whether you choose to marry or cohabitate your coupling in the coaching world will experience significant stress. Today we’re going to talk about ways to insulate your marriage from stress which can lead to divorce.

Paying Attention to the Data

Time Magazine reports: “In 2018, 15% of folks ages 25 to 34 lived with an unmarried partner, up from 12% a decade earlier. More Americans under 25 cohabit with a partner (9%) than are married to one (7%). Two decades ago, those figures weren’t even close: 5% were cohabiting and 14% were married.”

While divorce rates are dropping, experts have further analyzed the data of marriages which have ended and thanks to the U.S. Census we know that employment is a factor in the divorce rate.

We know that high-stress jobs have higher divorce rates. Of course, this is likely not a surprise to you. But I’m going to break down a few details from an analysis Zippia conducted on the U.S. Census.

The Top 21 Jobs at Risk of Divorce Include:

  • The list features military positions in the 1st, 4th, and 7th positions on the list of the top 21 jobs at risk of divorce essentially naming all military positions. The reasons speculated for divorce included the time spent apart, the stress of the job, the job required moving, and the load the spouse carries during deployment.
  • Listed 20th is a Laborer and Freight Handler. The analysis is that these positions work more than eight hours in one shift and even overnight, for low salaries.
  • Number 18 is those who complete computer and other electronic machine repairs. The analysis noted some of these workers put in over 50 hours per week, and field technicians often travel to complete repairs.
  • Probation officers were listed 15th. The observation offered was that since probation officers spend a majority of their time with people who have difficult personalities and are required to work overtime documenting and evaluating their interactions the combination leaves them stressed and exhausted.
  • Number 14 listed Administrative Services Managers noting these workers juggle a lot daily. Administrators are the supervisors required to document everything, deal with budgets, goals, long term plans and they also are expected to handle problems as they arise. Ultimately, they are accountable for everything that happens.
  • Medical Assistants were listed 12th. I’m including this because it was noted the in the medical field medical assistants are low in the medical hierarchy. Their job is very demanding with long hours and low pay.

I’m not sure if you have the same alarms going off in your head that I had in mine as I read this list, but if jobs with long hours and low pay are at high risk of divorce I think we need to be realistic that coaches should be somewhere on this list.

Think about the tension points when it comes to why your husband does what he does. The vast majority of coaches take pay cuts to stay in the profession. What other job do you know of where someone with a masters degree willingly makes $10,000 a year with no benefits and often no contract?

Long hours for little pay often require that additional income streams are left to the spouse to contribute. This makes coaching a family commitment. And that is something that isn’t easily understood by those outside the profession.

To drive home the point, one list of Professionals Prone to Burnout lists Teachers as 4th.

Not All Advice is Helpful

The first thing we need to understand is that we cannot avoid the wounds divorce brings by avoiding marriage. Couples who live together for extended periods of time experience deep hurt if they separate as well.

There are a lot of well-meaning people you will encounter who have little to zero understanding of the pressures your husband faces on a daily basis nor how that impacts your marriage.

Coaches wives seek advice of me often asking how to communicate properly to family that they can’t attend their cousin’s wedding on that Saturday in October because they need to be present at their husband’s football game. They also ask for help in explaining why they can’t ask their husband to quit his job even though it means moving far from family.

I have no doubt that these families believe their advice and requests are reasonable. But we all need to learn to discern helpful and applicable advice from that which is offered without a full understanding of the impact following it would cause.

When Solomon was anointed king he asked for wisdom and God made him the wisest man in the world and with that the ability to discern and judge the truth. (1 Kings 3:11)

Solomon wrote the book of Proverbs for his children and explains where wisdom comes from. Proverbs 2:6-11 says:

“For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.
He holds success in store for the upright he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless, for he guards the course of the just and protects the way of his faithful ones. Then you will understand what is right and just and fair—every good path. For wisdom will enter your heart, and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul. Discretion will protect you, and understanding will guard you.”

Finding Helpful Advice

The coaching life is challenging. There is value in finding a few couples that have been in coaching for several years to resource when situations come up.

Think about it this way, when you get pregnant or have your first child if the only people you glean advice from are single without kids or haven’t raised children in 20-25 years you are likely to miss out on some important perspectives.

This doesn’t mean that you must follow every piece of advice you receive. Pray, ask God for discernment. Talk about it as a couple and decide what works best for you.

If you cannot connect with a coaching couple, consider reaching out to FCA, InterVarsity, or a pastoral couple. One of my most impactful mentors was the wife of a Young Life area director, the other a youth pastor. Ministry lives are not that different than coaching in many ways.

In addition to finding mentor couples, you must continue to invest in your marriage. I’ve gathered resources in a previous post I’ll link here.

Actions to Insulate Your Marriage

  • Stay aware and attentive to the realities of your spouse’s job stress factors.
  • Stay attentive to the stages of burnout.
  • Find wise mentors who have experience in the same or similar life situations.
  • Pray for discernment to filter through advice.
  • Keep the lines of communication open between you and your spouse.
  • Invest in your marriage with resources designed specifically for your career choice.

Insulating your marriage from the stresses that could lead to divorce requires an active participation in your relationship. Thankfully, there are many who have gone before you who are available to cheer you on and encourage you in your journey if you ask for help.

Year 17- Anniversary

Year 17- Anniversary

Anniversary Year 17 Coach's Wife

Dear Ordell,

We celebrate year 17 today and the modern gift list informs me this year is the gift of furniture. I can’t help but chuckle as I glance around our current house. I would love a new kitchen table since the boys are beyond the years where they color on things. I’d love a more comfortable couch or chairs that match, but none of these things could make our home any better.

Do you remember our first trip to IKEA together? Every couple around us was fighting just as we were! Then the first couch we bought was returned because our apartment was so small it wouldn’t fit in the designated room. If I had to guess I’d say we’ve thrown out as much furniture as we currently own. Furniture which was broken by football players, pieces stained by babies, and pieces that we couldn’t fit on a moving truck here or there.

Our home is a mixture of items from my childhood, hand me down item from friends or family, thrift store finds and items we have chosen for our home. Furniture comes and goes. It’s not meant to last forever, which is my guess as to why it’s on the list of gifts to give at year 17. Still, there are memories in each item we own because even that which was mine or yours before has now become ours.

So my love, as we enter yet another year as partners the thing I know for sure about furniture is that the only thing that really matters is that it fits in our home. Our current home or our future home. It doesn’t matter, as long as it’s our home, because I can’t imagine a home without you.

Silver Holloware and Anniversary 16

Silver Holloware and Anniversary 16

Thoughts from the Sidelines

Dear Ordell,

According to the Wedding Anniversary Gift Guide year, 16 is Silver Holloware. This seems fitting considering we seem to loose multiple forks with each recent move.

Reflecting on the last year our marriage it’s hard to believe so much has happened in just 365 days. Even harder to believe is that although neither of us could have predicted where we would be living, nor even both of our jobs transitioning, we’ve embraced things together so well it has been the smoothest transition so far.

This year marks the sale of our first home (finally), moving back to the Midwest, and the year we no longer have single digit children in our house. We’ve never been healthier physically, emotionally, spiritually nor as a married couple.

Our roles are ever-shifting as the boy’s needs change, as job demands change, and as we figure out our strengths and limits. I love watching your relationship with Elijah and Levi deepen. As they take on new challenges you are there with them reminding them to be courageous, and they are listening.

I love seeing you put into practice at home all the thing we’ve heard you say on the football field the last decade and I love seeing our sons respond.

We are figuring out another new normal these days, and yet our home has a calmness to it that I haven’t felt in years. I know it is in large part because that is the tempo and tone you strive for.

There is something solid about silver that seems so fitting for year 16. When tarnish build-up is removed a beautiful shine appears. There is no doubt of the sturdiness of silver. It will last, regardless of the shape, it is formed into. A dish, bowl, knife or fork will function as it is created to do. And right now I can’t think of a better symbol for year 16 of marriage.

Year 16

Anniversary 15

Anniversary 15

Anniversary 15

I’ve never been good at long-term plans. I had no idea what year 15 would look like when we said our “I do’s”.  Because of that, I can’t say I’m surprised by the most recent chapter of our adventure, still, I find myself pausing to soak in the reality of our current state more often than I imagine most do.

This year’s highlights include:

  • another move (closer to campus)
  • watching both our boys get baptized
  • a much-needed beach vacation
  • work successes and disappointments for both of us
  • a new car (we said goodbye to the car purchased a few months before the wedding!)
  • settling into a church
  • ministry joys
  • transitions that drew us closer to each other
  • the realization we continue to learn about ourselves and each other

In the coming months, we will experience another football season, middle school with Elijah and many other things I’m not aware of.  We will practice communication skills, do our best to serve each other and chase God through it all.  If it is possible to have a routine in the unknown then I think we are in that cycle.  We will encounter challenges, we will experience successes, and we will have our times of just cruising through the weeks.  Here’s the thing, though, the we is not a question or a dream. It’s an expectation.  It’s the routine in our 15 years entering the unknown.

This trust and intimacy of the “confident we” is the result of battles won when giving up was the easier option.  I do not for a second take the blessing of “we” for granted and I know you don’t either.  It’s because we don’t take the last 15 for granted the expectation of tackling the next 15 together feels like a given to me.

Thank you for the opportunity to adventure together, I have no doubt my life is richer for it!

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