Four years ago next month I met my husband-to-be. I didn’t know that at the time of course. In fact, a friend of mine pointed him out to me. She had a crush on him, but instead of acting on it, she asked me to go talk to him for her. The end result of that being that he and I hit it off and started dating. We started seeing each other almost every day; before work, after work, and a lot of time in between. After a couple of months of this, he came home with me one day and just never left. This is fairly significant because at the time I was staying with my parents while I was finishing up nursing school. I realized somewhere in my last year that I couldn’t work enough hours to pay rent and also keep up in school. At least with my sanity intact. So I went home. And my future hubby joined me there. He lived with my parents and I for pretty much a year straight. Then, when we decided to buy a house, we moved back in with them to save money. Total he lived with my folks and I for around 2 years, off and on. Just imagine that: your significant other living with your parents, or you with theirs. For two years. It didn’t end in any fighting or anything like that. Honestly, he has always been the more selfless one in our relationship. He wanted to be near me, and the only way to make that happen at that time was live with my parents. He did house and farm chores for them. He worked on construction projects around the property with my dad. He made everyone dinner. A lot. He made sure I was well fed and rested. He gave me space to study and brain breaks when I needed them. Now, in our own home, he has picked up even more of the chores and work on the homestead so I can pursue a new job 2.5 hours away. He is the one who gives up what he may want to support me and what I want. He always encourages and supports me. Now don’t get me wrong; I’m not a completely self-centered, selfish beast. When he said he had some interest in crafting custom knives and selling them, I encouraged, supported and even, at times, pushed him. He now has a small shop and is selling his gorgeous custom knives. I try to tell him how much I appreciate everything he does. I try to make sure he has everything he needs to build his business. But in truth, I am still the more selfish partner. Last night I was pondering what to do with the gift card to the rural store his mother gave us for Christmas and I got a little annoyed at the thought that he may want to use it to buy supplies for his shop. I want to spend it on garden stuff. And it occurred to me for the millionth time- this is our life, our shop, our homestead, our garden. I rarely think about what it will be like to be an older person. There are no warm fuzzy visions of afternoons spent in rocking chairs on a front porch. So sometimes it’s hard for me to imagine us as an old couple. And sometimes I forget that it’s not “him” and “me’, it’s we.
I don’t usually make New Year’s resolutions; not that I don’t need improvement, because of course I do. I just never stick with my vaguely worded plans to be “healthier”, to “eat better” or whatever. This year, however, I am making one New Year’s resolution. Just one. For my selfless, hardworking husband I resolve to be more. More attentive, more patient, more forgiving, more supportive and more selfless. A small thing reminded me that all too often, when he gives I am more than happy to take. This year, I will strive to give to him the way he has given to me the last four years. And what, if anything, does all this have to do with homesteading? Neither one of us can do it on our own, we have to work together. And it has to be ours if it is going to succeed.