By the time you read this, my wife and I will have rounded the bases on our second year of marriage.

We’ve spent a lot more time in close quarters this year. Back in September, we took a 10-day road trip, sleeping out of a van most nights. Since March, we’ve worked every day side-by-side in our home office. Many nights, we cook dinner together. We spend our non-labor time reading on the porch, taking walks or cooling off in the pool.

A friend of ours, a yoga teacher, once said in a class, “You try so hard all the time. Try easy.”

It’s easy for us to get along together, and I’m thankful for that. I can’t recall a single petty argument, or a period of discord that lasted more than an afternoon. Even on tougher days, we each assume the other is doing their best.

Perhaps that’s because we’re such hard workers. We have to keep each other from working ourselves into the ground. Rarely is one of us working or doing chores while the other is relaxing, so, to get her to take care of herself, I must take care of myself, and vice versa.

The past six months especially have been full of hard decisions. We try to anticipate tough calls that are coming down the pipe and talk them out beforehand, before they’re pressing on us. It’s nice to come to the table as a team to hear each other’s perspectives, opinions and fears.

Though we are certainly like-minded, we don’t assume what the other thinks or believes is best. If we can’t agree on something, we’re always able to hash out a compromise that respects both of us.

Lord, raising a child is tough, but there is nothing more worthy or more wonderful. Though it feels like there is no right answer sometimes, I treasure working with my wife to discern the best path for our daughter, to give her the tools that allow her to take her life into her own hands wring whatever she wants out of it.

Every few months, my wife will look over at me (or I’ll look over at her) and say, “Relationship check-in.” I can’t remember who started this practice, some time in our early dating life, but we talk with profound openness about our relationship – what we’ve appreciated lately, worried about, been frustrated by. Usually, it ends up being a conversation about how grateful we are for each other. I don’t have trouble believing it will be this way forever.

RILEY MANNING is a fiction writer, former religion reporter for the Daily Journal, and a copywriter at Mabus Agency. Readers can contact him at

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