I started drafting this post on the day of our 11th anniversary. My ever-beautiful, awesome, and happy wife shared with me that morning how cool it was to have our special day on a Saturday, just like our original wedding day. I figured it high time I wrote about what an awesome partner she is, and how she’s made me a better all-around dude.
The first thing I appreciate my wife for is the competitive nature she brings to life. If you ever get a chance to take her on in a card game, bowling, golf, Wii Boxing, or backgammon, watch out.
She’ll bring some fire to that match-up. It probably comes from growing up with parents who were both coaches in high school. That or she just likes winning – nothing wrong with that!
I certainly had some competitive fire of my own, or I wouldn’t have convinced my honey-hun to marry me. But ever since we met, I’ve gotten more and more courage to take on things I might never have tried before.
A Happy Wife Transforms You
Take for instance running. When we met, I couldn’t run around the block without passing out from exhaustion. The only exercise I did was lift weights – and as a fairly scrawny guy, not anything particularly Arnold worthy. So along comes Mrs. Cubert, a star high school and collegiate runner. Before long, she’s got me running 5ks in sub-8 minute miles.
She got my lazy butt out on the ski slopes. Before we met, I had purchased all the gear and let it sit in my basement. She’s declared, “We’re going skiing. You’re not keeping all that gear to have it just sit there.” So off we went, taking on black diamonds without any technique, but having a blast crashing our way down Minnesota’s fiercest inclines. Happy wife? How about Happy Husband!!
She’s been an amazing companion in so many adventures I wouldn’t have taken otherwise. Thanks to her rock climbing friends, she had me scaling a beginner-style face right off the highway in Moab. Ask me how many times I’ve tried this since. And I don’t count the indoor climbing gym.
We’ve sailed on Lake Superior and nearly shipwrecked when an 80 MPH headwind slammed into us during a freak thunderstorm. My lovely wife was calm as a cucumber, napping down in the cabin. That certainly calmed me down, but I could’ve crapped my pants a few times that day.
A Happy Wife in Retirement
And now we’re raising twin humans. Life has been full of changes for both of us. Not all that long ago my lovely got hooked on kettlebells. The gym we go to is the kind where after a one hour class you feel like you’ve been through the first day of Navy Seal training. It’s a distant cousin to cross-fit, only a supremely more intelligent version, with an incredible variety of head to toe exercises.
Ever heard of burpees, weighted ropes, pull-ups, and double kettlebell squat presses? You get the idea. If there’s a bigger challenge out there, Mrs. Cubert is going to face it head-on, and bring me along for the ride.
When it comes to business, we feed off each others’ ambitions. She raised the bar big-time striking out on her own to start-up a clinic with other practitioners. Her patient volume is off the charts, and yet she still finds time to be with our kids and teach part-time at the gym. It kind of gives me zero excuses for just sticking with the little old’ day job, no?
I haven’t mentioned the superior kitchen skills. That’s right, Mrs. Cubert is a scratch cook chef, capable of whipping up the most elaborate vegetarian dishes this side of the Twin Cities. There’s nothing better than coming home after a long day and have my family home, and the wafts of an amazing dinner once I walk in the door.
You get the idea. She works hard.
When it comes to managing our household finances, we’re effectively on the same page. It’s not always an easy conversation. See, she’s more interested in helping people solve their physical health problems than she is making a fast buck. Her husband is the Hamburgler who tries to sneak in pointers about raising treatment rates and lowering expenses. All with the good intentions of course!
It took a while to convince her that the rentals were a good idea. Starting, it seemed I was over at our first rental every free hour I wasn’t in the office. It took nearly two months after closing to get a tenant signed onto a lease.
She stuck with me through all the growing pains. Today, I’d be hard-pressed to get a new rental off the ground without her help (elbow grease) and input (is that a nice paint-color for this room?)
A Shared Husband and Wife FIRE Journey
After I discovered the early retirement and FI community, I did what I imagine a lot of us “fix it” types do. I act like I just saw a burning bush and have urgent revelations to share.
(me) “Honey, it’s time we considered selling the car and moving into the condos next door to my office.”
(her) (pause…the “look”…pause some more)
Okay – that’s an exaggeration. But I was moving too fast and not thoughtfully bringing my wife along for the ride.
Needless to say, I tend to jump in full-bore on things that capture my imagination. Early retirement was my Nestea Plunge.
In the beginning stages of my conversion to frugality, the simple, mighty, and elegant bicycle was center stage. I rode the 10-mile round trip trek to the big box hardware store with a bike trailer in-tow. I plowed through the snow to drop packages at the post office. This newfound inspiration would be the new way we did errands in our household, by golly!
(she) “I need to go grocery shopping.”
(me) “You’re going to take the bike and bike trailer, right?”
(she) “No.” (with a facial expression that gave away an easily discernible “f*ck that!“)
Well, it was wintertime after all. In hindsight, I pushed a bit too hard, too fast on the extreme frugality front. When it was time to jump on the Costco bandwagon, she was, shall we say, reluctant.
(me) “Let’s go to Costco today. You know, just check it out. See if it’s worth the membership…?”
(me) “It’ll be fun. The kids can ride around in the giant shopping carts. We’ll save a sh*tload of money today buying stuff.”
(she) “That makes no sense at all. But if you’re set on it, let’s get it out of the way.”
Fortunately, we already had a good set of habits to lean on, thanks to HER. These habits included cooking our food and relying on consignment shops for clothing and kids’ stuff. My amazing wife has always been enthusiastic about a “steal” or a great bargain, and I love her for that.
A Happy Wife in Retirement: Priceless!
I wasn’t looking for a frugal superstar when we dated. Bargain hunting wasn’t a quality I was after. Nope. I was after a very attractive, witty, and intelligent partner who I could enjoy life with for the long haul. Honestly? I won the lottery when I found my wife.
Similarly fortunate, Mrs. Cubert won a pull-tab with me: a not-bad looking goofball who thinks he’s smarter than he is. But hey, if nothing else, I make good kids!
It’s crucial for a life of no regrets to continuously show appreciation to your life partner. Communicate often and openly. Make sure you’re on the same page with your long-term goals. If you fail to do these, early retirement is bound to be an elusive endeavor.
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What a lovely ode! You’re wife is one lucky gal.
I think we both got lucky! Cue the Daft Punk!
Mrs. Picky Pincher says
This is so sweet! Congrats on 11 years of marriage! Isn’t it crazy how much fun it is to have a partner in crime? 🙂 Mr. Picky Pincher absolutely makes me a better person and challenges me to be better. That’s what it’s all about. 🙂
Thanks, Mrs. Pincher! It’s loads of fun. It can be trying when there’s twin toddlers involved, but we rely on each other – Islands in the Stream style. 😉
Mr Defined Sight says
Congrats on the anniversary! Sounds like you did hit the jackpot with your wife. Sooooo that’s a beginner rock climb in the photo? Cripes. Was your sailing incident near Duluth by any chance? Love that area.Take care dude!
Thanks, man! I certainly did.
Yes – that was a beginner climb for the Moab set. If you fall down, the rocks are a problem, but so are the passing fools going 60MPH.
The sailing incident was near Duluth, but more precisely the Apostle Islands. The headwind spun us completely around in our 28″ Catalina. Yee haw!
The Luxe Strategist says
I always felt the best relationships were ones where you brought out the best in each other. I’m glad your wife whips your butt into shape. With my husband as well, I started running with him, but I never ran by myself.
“Early retirement was my Nestea Plunge.” Ha, you dragging your wife along on the mustachian ride sounds a lot like me and my husband! I’ve taught him to shop through online portals for extra points and plan out meals ahead of time to save money. We still have our differences but we always compromise.
Yes, those are the ideal relationships, Luxe! We have to keep each other accountable and improving. Otherwise it’s easy to fall into complacency. Especially with the plethora of options on Netflix. 🙂
Dylan | Trail to FI says
I basically introduced Mustachian principles to my wife the same way you did to yours…and got verrrrrry similar responses! I think she’s a lot more on board since the end game is early retirement. Congrats on your anniversary! Sounds like you’ve had a lot of fun.
Too funny, Dylan!
For me, part of the battle was justifying my personal early retirement, since she’ll continue to practice at least part-time for a number of years still. But at least not from a cubicle!
Michael | The Student Loan Sherpa says
Awesome Perspective… congrats on your anniversary
Thanks, Michael. Appreciate that.
Amy @ Life Zemplified says
Loved this post! A partner that brings out the best in you is priceless.
Congratulations to you both!
Thanks, Amy! Priceless indeed! 🙂
Bernz JP says
Love it when a spouse is competitive. I guess we have a few things in common. My wife is also a competitive person and we’re together golfing, working out and we both love watching sports events such as football, baseball and most of all the NBA. Somehow I feel that she’s really more into sports than me.
Our difference? I’m the house chef.
Hey Bernz – There is none more competitive than Mrs. Cubert. At one point I was the house chef but she quickly took the reigns. 🙂
Tread Lightly, Retire Early says
She’s so competitive that she made two humans instead of the typical just one 😉
I seriously got lucky on the spouse factor as well, which I need to remember sometimes when I try and drag him further down the frugality path than he necessarily wants to go.
We were JUST joking about that yesterday. I kid you not! 🙂
Just remember to bring him along for the journey – slow and sure. I think I mentioned in the post my mistake of jumping in head-first, which didn’t work so hot then. But fortunately, we’re on the same sheet of music now.
Tread Lightly, Retire Early says
Thankfully he is already naturally pretty frugal (hence our 22-23% savings rates as of late) and he mostly is going along for the ride to notch it up this year, so I have to remind myself how awesome it is to have him on board as much as he is. Just have to temper myself to keep things slow to get to the really crazy stuff.