Our story began in the Summer of 1993 at a church convention in Chugwater, Wyoming. Cody was single, I was not!We exchanged addresses and wrote a few letters throughout the years.
In October of 1997, I was a senior in High School. I was very active in volleyball and had just experienced a rough break up with a boy. I had a “NONBOY” attitude.My mother decided that I needed to attend a church convention in Kansas. She insisted that I go. I went by myself and I can remember thinking, “Why am I going?” I made a little detour and was a little late getting to the convention. You see, I really didn’t want to go and I felt like I had my life in control. Turns out that I need to attend that convention. I think my mom and God talked to each other. I sat at a lunch table, when I heard this, “Naomi, can you please pass the tea?” I about fell off my chair. Cody Loomis remembered my name.
To tell you the truth I cannot remember a thing that the preachers talked about. All I can remember was the butterflies in my stomach and the long walks that we went on.After the convention was over, I drove Cody to his ranch and we went on a horseback ride. We talked about our faults, our weaknesses, our goals in life, our fears, our past relationships, and our future. I can remember leaving his ranch that night and thanking God that I went to Kansas.
In September of 1998, Cody took a knee and asked me to be his wife. I said, “YES”. Two weeks later in Lone Tree Canyon, east of Chugwater, Wyoming we said these vows:
“You are my constant friend, my faithful partner and my love from this day forward. In the presence of God, our family and friends, I offer you my solemn vow to be your faithful partner in sickness and in health, in good times and in bad, and in joy as well as in sorrow. I promise to love you unconditionally, to support you in your goals, to honor and respect you, to laugh with you and cry with you, and to cherish you for as long as we both shall live.” We celebrated 17 years of marriage in October. I’m surprised by how fast the years have gone by.
When I think back on our dating days and then our wedding day, it was filled with such hope and promises. Our love was blossoming and a new life was beginning for both of us. In the course of these 17 years, we’ve learned a great deal about ourselves and about each other. About the importance of marriage and why it’s worth fighting for. We were young, in love and ready for marriage when we said yes in our late teens, but that doesn’t necessarily mean we knew how to have a great marriage.
17 years later, here are 12 lessons that have been clarified for us in our marriage:
- The 50/50 Game Doesn’t Work.
For a season, we view marriage like it is a game, a competition. If I do this, you should do that. Meet me in the middle here, do a little more there. If you do 50 things, I’ll do 50. That sort of game. But, true love is shown when one of us can’t get to the middle. Then, it’s up to the other to go the extra mile. Maybe that ratio is 90/10 for a season if one of us is sick, stressed, or even depressed. Don’t view marriage as a scorecard. Someone always loses that way.
- Keep Adventure Alive.
Fighting to keep adventure alive doesn’t have to be extravagant. Maybe it’s a small drive with no kids, or maybe you shut the door to your bedroom, maybe its a date to a feeder meeting, or a surprise baby sitter for the evening or even a simple handwritten note. One of our favorites is a horse back ride!
- Kiss, Hug & Hold Each Other.
This is a hard one but probably one of the most important. Make a point to kiss and hug your spouse each morning and night. When you’re leaving and arriving too. I challenge each of you to try this. It makes a huge difference in your day and night. Be the one to make the move first, don’t always wait for the other. I also challenge you to hold hands, it rekindles the flame!
- Grit Is Often The Best Description Of Love.
When we where newlyweds love was easy, but after years real life can get chaotic, stressful, and confusing. The answer is to dig your boots in when life gets hard.
- Real Life Happens In The Mundane.
Babies being born, buying a piece of land, buying a new car are the peaks of marriage, and they are great. However, most normal days are mundane. I’ve been guilty of missing the little moments while I work to make the big ones happen. I’m realizing that life happens in those little moments. I’m learning to love the journey, every bit, as much as the destination.
- Proximity Doesn’t Equal Presence.
Being physically close isn’t the same as being close emotionally. We need to put away our phones and listen to each other’s hearts. Life is busy; when you have the ability to be together physically, it is important be there emotionally as well.
- Comparison Will Kill.
In an age of social media it’s easy to feel like your marriage sucks. It does our relationship no good when we compare our money, house, kids’ performance and marriage to others through social media. We will become the losers. It robs our joy.
- Don’t Throw It Away.
Each day we need to keep choosing each other. When our going gets a little rough, I remember our wedding day or the birth our kids and decide that it will pay to keep our spark alive. We need to be honest about when we fail. It will be worth it.
- Giving & Serving.
Are we giving and serving? Or are we only taking and using? Life is best when we are giving ourself away for the benefit of the other.
- Live In Community.
Nobody told me that marriage is hard. It can be beautiful and redeeming. When we chose to surround our self with friends and family who know your strengths as well as your struggles, you realize you have support and encouragement.
I’m Naomi Loomis and I am a rancher from the Sandhills of Nebraska. My husband, our 4 kids and myself are raising the next generation of ranchers and cattle. My blog gives you a glimpse of our ranch and our story—all to better connect consumers with ranchers. Visit me at www.fromthecornerofthecirclel.blogspot.com.