Riley and I celebrated six years of marriage on September 5, 2021. We spent the holiday weekend in Dallas, exploring Deep Ellum, and cheering on our beloved Wildcats at Jerry World. It was lovely and the perfect weekend getaway. I’ll be honest, I accidentally started this tradition of writing a blog post each year to mark our anniversary and I thought seriously about skipping it this year, but I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. 2020-2021 was a big year for the Hundley’s and I learned a lot! So, here goes nothing!
1. Buying a house is no joke
Riley and I purchased our first home in December 2020. It was a long, difficult trek to become first-time home owners in the current housing market, but we persevered and could not be more grateful for the house we now call home. The entire process was one huge learning experience and I could probably write an entire blog post on our experience before we even moved in, but for now, I’ll leave you with this: If you see a sketchy foundation wall in a home that you are viewing, run away. Fast. It’s not worth it.
The really fun part of buying a house came when we got to move in and start decorating. Compromise in our marriage looks like me having creative control over decor on our main floor and Riley having creative control over the basement, which has resulted in three tvs strategically placed in one room. One might describe my style as desert boho, and one might describe Riley’s style as, classy sports bar. Is having three tvs in one room classy? It is for a sports bar. It’s important to have class in everything you do.
Yes, in case you’re wondering, we’ve already had our refrigerator replaced twice, electrical panel replaced once, AC repaired once, and have broken one lawn mower beyond repair. Welcome to home ownership, Hundleys.
2. Relationships take priority
One of my favorite realizations from this past year is seeing how much Riley loves to create community and build friendships. I’ve always known this about him, but I’ve loved seeing him get excited about inviting friends and family into our home as place for connection and fun. Hospitality is definitely a value that Riley and I share as a couple and having more opportunity to lean into this value and dream about how we’ll continue to prioritize it has been a blast. Hospitality doesn’t have to look like made from scratch baked goods, or even a perfectly tidy home. It just looks like offering an invitation and creating space for relationship. We’ve been so blessed this year with deep and rich friendships. This hasn’t happened over night, it’s been a lot of years making intentional investments of time and attention and showing up when it’s easier not to. It’s looked like playing pickle ball, moving furniture, throwing parties, dog sitting, celebratory dinners, birthday gifts, road trips, serving at church, weddings, weekend visits, tailgates, double dates, and sand volleyball. Riley has always exemplified what it look likes to be a good friend and I am grateful to learn from him and be the main recipient of his love and loyalty. Relationships are truly what makes life rich and I feel blessed that we both love to prioritize them.
3. The only page you need to be on is the same page
In January I went to a new dentist. As if going to the dentist wasn’t bad enough, as I was checking out at the front desk, the receptionist looked at me and said, “When are you and your husband expecting?” I stood there for a second, kind of in shock, and finally responded, “We’re not.” She quickly apologized and tried to salvage whatever was left of our conversation after making such a bold assumption. I walked out of the office still in shock and immediately called Riley because Brene Brown taught me to ‘speak my shame’. “You’ll never guess what just happened at the dentist….” I gave him all the details. “Does this jacket make me look pregnant?” I asked him as soon as I got home. He assured me it didn’t and that the receptionist was crazy. He’s a good man. It was one of those moments that you know happens to women all the time but you just never assume it’s going to happen to you, and to be asked by a woman of all people! Ha! Needless to say, if anyone has a dentist they would recommend in the KC area, let me know. I’m only kind of kidding.
I’ll address the elephant in the room. We’ve been married for 6 years and we don’t have kids. We actually haven’t felt a lot of pressure from friends or family to have babies yet and I’m really thankful. Many couples who have been married as long as we have already have a baby or two or have been trying to get pregnant for awhile. I’ve secretly wondered if people look at me and Riley and question if we’ve had trouble getting pregnant or are dealing with infertility. The truth is, we’re enjoying the season of life and marriage that we’re in now and we’re not ready for kids yet. It’s a frequent topic of conversation and one that is obviously very personal to Riley and I, but one that I’ve prayed about and spent a lot of time thinking about this year. While I haven’t felt a lot of pressure from people close to me, I have noticed a fair amount of pressure I’ve been putting on myself. Asking myself questions like, “Is there something wrong with me that I don’t want to have kids yet?”, “What if we do have a hard time getting pregnant like so many other couples? Do we need to start now?”, “Are we being selfish for enjoying this season of life and not feeling ready to start a family?”. I know these questions are normal whether anyone else admits them or not and I just want to normalize the fact that any decision is the right one as long as you’re in agreement with your spouse and are living in obedience to what God is asking you to do. The same page is the right page.
I do find it a bit comical that when Riley and I were engaged and dreaming about our future, he said he wanted to wait three years to have a baby and I said seven. We landed on five and when year five rolled around last year we both decided absolutely not. It’s kind of a moving target right now, but the most important thing is that we’re both on the same page and not guilting ourselves into a decision that we feel internal or external pressure to make. Maybe the most comical thing of all is that it’s really out of our control anyways. As much as we’d like to think that we can have it all planned out, God could throw us a curveball. Either way, I told Riley this summer that the thing I’m looking forward to the most about having kids someday is getting to watch Riley be a dad. He’s going to be the best.
4. Say it anyways
It may be no shock to you reading this that one of my top love languages is words of affirmation. I love to write and words hold a lot of weight for me. Surprisingly however, I still find myself having to be really intentional about lifting Riley up with my words. Last year for his birthday, I gave him a notebook that I had been keeping for an entire year. In this notebook I would right down anything that I loved about Riley. Everything from the fact that he does laundry, to his blue eyes. Big things and small things I loved about Riley lined the pages of the ‘Riley journal’. That was a simple way to shower him with affirmations, but it doesn’t always feel natural to speak verbal words of affirmation to my husband. When I think nice things about Riley, I don’t often vocalize them. In the name of busyness, or maybe if I’m being more honest, apathy, I don’t take the time to express these simple thoughts to my husband, and I miss out on really great opportunities to encourage him.
While we were in Colorado in August, we went on one of our favorite hikes in Crested Butte, CO called the Green Lake Trail. It’s about 9 miles round trip and the view at the top is worth every second spent catching my breath. There’s not much talking while we’re hiking, which gives ample opportunity for my mind to wander. I had this thought on the way back down the mountain, “I wonder if Riley knows that I don’t just love him, but I’m actually in love with him?” It’s true I love him and I believe he knows that I love him. We’ve both been showing up in our marriage since day one, proving our love and commitment to each other, but there’s something quite different about Riley knowing that I love him and knowing that I’m in love with him. Wouldn’t you agree?
Any Taylor Swift song would have us believe that the high-intensity, emotional rollercoaster type relationship is what is required to ‘feel in love’, but I couldn’t disagree more. You know what’s sexy? Emotional stability. You know what makes me ‘feel in love’? Six years of marriage to a good, kind, responsible man who shows up for our relationship every single day determined to make me laugh. No amount of screaming, fighting, or kissing in the rain can compare to that. Also, can I just say that actually sounds exhausting? Ain’t nobody got time for that. Note: I actually do love Taylor and I think she’s a lyrical genius, just maybe not a relationship genius.
We got home from our hike exhausted but happy because we spent the day in the mountains. I told Riley I had something to tell him and he got a worried look on his face. I felt a little awkward but I embraced it. I told him that I had been thinking and I needed him to know that I love loving him. I told him that I love him and I’m in love with him. He was confused and charmed all at the same time. Say it anyways.
Dang, I think Taylor just found the story for her next hit.