Making Self-Sufficiency Relationships Work

A comment I regularly receive is that people can’t understand how Rebecca and I can work so closely together and for so many years. (We recently celebrated 31 wonderful years together, 25 of which we’ve worked in business together and 13 of which we’ve been self-sufficient.) Of course, there isn’t any hard and fast answer to this question and what works for us is unlikely to work for anyone else.

However, I think you could boil some of the key elements down to a few words, such as mutual respect. We do odd things like say, “Please” and “Thank you.” I say these things are odd because I don’t know that many couples exercise the option to show each other courtesy. We also expect that we’ll fail and that the other person will also failthat forgiveness is both necessary and desired. If people simply respected each other and employed courtesy freely, I’m sure the divorce rate would decrease. Worrying more about the other person than yourself has gone out of style, unfortunately, so I’m sure the divorce lawyers have nothing to worry about.

Rebecca has a special talent though that’s the topic of today’s post. She makes the mundane seem quite spectacular. Every year she creates a rock garden for me. It’s the first thing I see from the window when I get up in the morning and the last thing I see each night. I won’t share the window view, howeverthat’s exclusively for me. Here is a ground level view of some of the highlights of the garden. One of my current favorites is the Scottish bluebells:

ScottishBluebells

The purple flowers really show up nicely. They’re getting tall and spiky now. Another colorful member of the rock garden is the blanket flower shown here:

BlanketFlowers

From a color perspective, they remind me of a larger version of the Indian paintbrush that grows natively around here. We need to plant the blanket flower each year (the Scottish bluebells come back on their own each year).

The rock garden has a lot of shade, so Rebecca plants sedums freely in it. The blue spruce sedum is flowering right now. The yellowish flowers are a contrast to the rest of the plant and make it look quite fancy as shown here:

BlueSpruceSeedum

The autumn joy sedums are also quite pretty. The variegated version adds some lovely color to the rock garden as shown here:

AutumnJoySeedum

At the front of this part of the rock garden is a John Creech sedum. All of these sedums will last through the winter. Rebecca normally covers them with leaves. However, if I ever found them in precisely the same spot for more than two years in a row, I’d be amazed. Rebecca loves to move things around.

A final offering is the Japanese painted fern. it looks a bit metallic in some respects as shown here:

JapaneesePaintedFern

These are young ferns. As they mature, the center will take on a more reddish hue. I’m looking forward to seeing what they look like later.

The care that Rebecca takes in maintaining this rock garden (and all of our other gardens) tells me a great deal about her love for me. That, in turn, makes it easier to overlook the rocks in the road we take together. I can’t imagine working anywhere without my wife. Together, the two of us make an amazing team.

If you’re going to enjoy your self-sufficiency, you need to come up with a plan to maintain your relationships. Being courteous helps, but taking time to care is better. Can you imagine working with your significant other for 25 years? I certainly hope that you’ve found the same joy that I have. Write me about your best experiences at John@JohnMuellerBooks.com.