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An off-roading adventure this past Sunday made me reflect on all the invitations that my husband, Brandon, has sent my way. If you would’ve asked me if I ever would have allowed myself to go along on a ride on an unsteady “road” where one or more tires would not have contact with the ground below me at one point or another, I would’ve told you without pause, a hearty “No!”.

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There are so many adventures that he has included me on, that I would have never experienced without his invites. To be honest, there are also a few invitations that I would not have accepted if I didn’t love this man with all my heart.

As I reflected, all the invites were completely optional on his part, yet he chose to include me; he wanted me to join him, and then he even would go a step further to do the work to make it worthwhile for me.

Here’s a list of some of these optional invites. Some of these are places where Brandon had to go for work, but he would extend his trip and take vacation days to allow me to experience destinations with him.

Without Brandon including me, (or, in some cases, our children too) I/we would have yet to do some of the following examples.  In most of these, Brandon didn’t just take me along, but he equipped me for success.

-Drive to the top of Pike’s Peak, Colorado, experiencing the Continental Divide along the way.

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-Experience the beauty of Ireland.

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-Stay in Times Square, NYC.

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-Know exactly what’s happening on the field during college football.

(Brandon taught me the difference between a zone defense and man-to-man coverage, how the center is the one that snaps the ball, what a running back is, a defensive back, a toss sweep, etc. This was not always easy, mind you, but his cute smirk and patience pays off when we can truly enjoy all parts of the game together.)

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-Explore the state parks of Utah, and discover this is one of my favorite adventures!

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-Shoot a gun.

(He taught me how to hold each type of gun, how to line up the target, how to load/unload it, take the safety off, what type of bullet it takes, if it’s a single-action or double-action, etc.)

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-Ride a mountain bike through the woods, and be grateful when we only tagged one tree during our ride.

(When we were dating, and working for spending money, he bought me my first mountain bike. He supplied me with gloves, a helmet, explained the gears, how to ride over rocks, logs, tiny bridges along the trail that scared me to death, etc.)

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-Explore a fort in Puerto Rico.

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Here’s the thing, though, invitations require work on both parts. While he issued the invites, and prepared me for success, I had to do the learning. Inviting and accepting these invitations meant that with each invitation, our marriage would grow stronger and stronger.

Brandon has not only invited me along for his adventures, but he has invited himself into my world. I have to be totally honest here, my world is not nearly as exciting as Brandon’s world.

Why, you ask?

Well, that’s because, he’s invited himself into my adventures in the laundry room, and learned how I like to fold our towels, our sheets, my jeans, etc. He’s also invited himself into the kitchen, and has cooked dinner, of which he is very good!

See how these are not nearly as thrilling as his adventures?

Why in the world would he do such things as these?

Because he knows me so well, and in some cases better than I know myself. (Yes, I did just admit this to the world, there’s no going back now.) He knows that if the laundry is not backed up on a weekend, that I’ll enjoy mountain biking, rather than resenting the time away. Brandon knows that my mind is almost impossible to still, and that if things are taken off my to-do list, it allows the freedom to add an adventure onto that list.

Oh man, we need to stop here for a second.

We need to bring to light that our marriage is not perfect.

We have our bumps in the road, for sure. Actually, it’s due to the non-perfect nature of our marriage, that spending intentional time together is so important. Those common-based experiences are key. Whether it’s folding laundry, or hiking a trial, it works! Inviting each other along our journey of life is something that should never cease, and I hope it never does.

Thank you, Brandon, for pushing my limits. You know I don’t like to walk in grass, but put me on a mountain bike, and I’ll ride with you through mud. Literally and figuratively! Thank you for being so patient with teaching me things of your world, and equipping me for success to join you there. You are my sunshine and my hero. Just like the song says, I’m truly grateful that God must have been thinking of me when He created you.

Thank you for inviting me.

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