The End is the Beginning.

Picture us here, 40 years from now. Or on bicycles, just going really slow.

Thirty days ago Nan of Little Black Dress Diaries and I entered into a faux war — which of us had the most amazing, intimate relationship with their fabulous husband?  Secretly, we each knew it was no contest.  😉  For the details on the 30 day Intimacy Challenge, click here.  For details on a GIVEAWAY, see the “p.s.” to this post.

Today is day 30.  And, just so y’all will know what a giant goober I really am, I have tear tracks on my cheeks as I type this.  Not sad tears.  Emotional tears.  Happy, grateful tears.

Sometimes my husband Eric and I marvel at our blessings. Other times we wish our path through life was a bit less steep and rocky.  While these sound like polar opposites, they are not.  That’s how it is for most of us, isn’t it?

I issued this challenge to Nan, not realizing how hard this month would be.


I didn’t know my husband would spend 20 of the 30 days challenge period on the road, half of it in a time zone 10.5 hours ahead of mine.  I didn’t foresee that we would each get a stomach virus and then the flu.  I couldn’t have known his oldest son would total his car, and call.  “Umm, Dad, can you come, like, NOW, please?”  This challenge came on the heels of my athletically-obsessed (and I mean that in the best possible way, honey!) husband undergoing a summer of no exercise, while he endured nearly two months on a liquid diet, the related medical procedures, the vicious migraines for weeks on end while his body refused to metabolize medicines, the removal of all OTC pain relievers from his life, and, worst of all, the return of knock-you-to-your-knees back pain, ending with yet another procedure.  He missed day after day of work and fun and training, sitting in clinics and hospitals.  He was unable to release his stress through the normal channel — endorphins/exercise.  We had serious kid issues, and, frankly, we continue to have one very serious parenting issue.  His father has spent the entire time period in a hospital, his health fragile, and his mother has born a heavy load emotionally and physically.

I  lost my ability to run a year ago.  Last November, I ran 60 miles a week.  Now?  Zero.  I am only just beginning to see a future for myself as a runner again, someday.  Plantar’s fasciitis sucks.  I have thrown myself into a void where I announced “World, I am a Writer!” because I am, but the self esteem issues I experience, the up and down, sob, laugh, sob, laugh, is punishing.  The hours I spend trying to earn a sufficient income (someday I will blog about our financial woes, when I can find the “funny” in it), while still devoting myself full time to writing — because it takes that kind of devotion or you will not make it — well, I get tired.  Dealing with an ADHD teenager? Exhausting.  And dealing with myself, a peri-menopausal woman driven crazy by hormones 33% of the time?  Worse.  (Another blog for when I can find the funny.  Not yet.)

Guys, I don’t talk about these things on the blog, even though they are part of my Road to Joy.  I go for the laugh, I look for the funny, I work hard, I love harder, and whining — even about stuff I maybe could whine about a little — doesn’t belong here.  Except today.

Because I want you to know something that requires contrast to adequately convey.  My life is perfect.  It is P-E-R-F-E-C-T.  I would not change a thing.  I have everything I ever dreamed of, because God completed me with Eric, with a partner, a lover, a champion, a husband, a best friend.   We kid around about Couples That Make You Want to Puke and our 365 Questions  for Couples book, but I seriously want to share a question we answered from the book recently.

Question:  If you could live this life over again, what type of person would you try to be and where would you reside?  Would you make the same decisions this time?


I thought about my answer for a long time.  I relived all my painful mistakes.  I cringed at my ignorance, my lack of humility, and my insensitivity.  Oh my gosh, could I really have a do-over?  I’d rock it this time!

But then I realized that if I changed one thing, one tiny detail, that I might not have ended up sitting with Eric at this moment, reading this stupid question and agonizing over my answer.

So, my answer:  Nothing.  I would change nothing.  My life has been and is perfect, because it led me to where I am today.

The real question is, for the rest of my life, what type of person will I try to be, where will I reside, and what decisions will I make?

And the answer to this one rockets out of me, no thinking required.  I want to live a life of gratitude, I want to cherish my blessings, I want to focus on the positive, I want to find a way to laugh, I want to be a great mother, and I will do anything — ANYTHING — that will keep the intimacy between this man and me alive.

I will fall short.  I will be a PMS-y bitch.  I will lose my temper and scream like a banshee.  I will get a rejection letter and sink into days of funk.  I will pull to the side of the road in the middle of a bike ride on a perfect day and sob because my whole body aches from the poison of those damn hormones, ruining Eric’s day in the process of trashing mine.  I will lose my patience when Eric falls short of perfection.

But I will try.  I will try so hard.  I will never quit trying.  And.  I.  Will.  Always.  Show.  My.  Husband.  I.  Want.  Him.  I.  Respect.  Him.  I.  Believe.  In.  Him.  I.  Am.  Grateful.  For.  Him.  I love him.

This was the best 30 days of my life.

And the next 30 will top it.

It’s not #30days.  It’s a lifetime.

Nan, I declare a tie.  🙂

Love y’all,


p.s.  Want to win a copy of 365 Questions for Couples?  Enter your most romantic story in the comments.  I’ll pick a winner (how? I’m going to print the comments, cut them out individually, and draw the winner out of my Longhorn Half Ironman cap).  What is really cool is that Nan is running the same contest with a different prize, so copy what you type here, head over to Little Black Dress Diaries, and paste it in a comment there.  Read her blog first, though; you’ll love it.

p.p.s. To read other stories on the 30 day Intimacy Challenge, check out one of these great posts:

30 Days — No This is Not All About Sex!

30-days of Intimacy

IC Day Three

30-Day Couples Intimacy Challenge

SEE Them

I Love Your Face

I’m Truly In Love With Him

30 Day Intimacy Challenge Day Four

Find 100 Ways

Is Your Marriage Collecting Dust?

Never Say No

30 Days of Intimacy: The Challenge

Intimacy Challenge Day 7

Looking for Love in All the Right Places

In Which Eric Brings Me Back Something From India

There’s an old flame burning in your eyes.

When Intimacy is Taken Too Far

Kiss and Make-Up or Die Trying

The Proposal

Is it Over?

Published by Pamela

edit biographydelete Biography Pamela writes overly long e-mails and the What Doesn't Kill You romantic mysteries from deep in the heart of Nowheresville, TX and way up in the frozen north of Snowheresville, WY. Pamela is passionate about hiking with her hunky husband and pack of rescue dogs (and an occasional goat and donkey), riding her gigantic horses, experimenting with her Keurig, and traveling in the Bookmobile.

Join the Conversation


  1. I can’t think of a romantic story. But I thought of something last night
    as I played racquetball (chased and cursed at the ball) with my husband.
    One of the things I love about him/our relationship
    is that he doesn’t make me afraid to fail. And sometimes my lack of confidence
    comes from the fear of failure. With him I know I’ll be okay.
    He doesn’t judge me or get impatient (appear impatient anyway).
    He doesn’t give up on me. Sometimes my confidence comes from his confidence in me,
    giving me just enough to get out there…and fail, or not.

    I love your post, BTW.
    You’re awesome!

    1. It takes a lot of courage to write. I have trouble believing someone with a partner can succeed as a writer without a partner who believes in them and makes it ok to fail. I love to hear this about him. Yay Kim!

  2. LOVE LOVE LOVE this:
    “And the answer to this one rockets out of me, no thinking required. I want to live a life of gratitude, I want to cherish my blessings, I want to focus on the positive, I want to find a way to laugh, I want to be a great mother, and I will do anything — ANYTHING — that will keep the intimacy between this man and me alive.

    That’s why I read you. You are real and you give a shit.

    So happy that you are happy!


  3. I couldn’t have said it better…what a great post to “end” this challenge on! I had tears reading it, I can only imagine the tears that went into writing it!

    And that reminds me that I need to update my own challenge…such a slacker! 🙂

  4. As usual a most heartwarming and challenging post – challenging me to do even better – not on posting but in my intimacy with Alpha Hubby. You always say it ‘JUST RIGHT’ so that all i have to do is link to your post and it says it all for me. I don’t call that slacking off, I call it being wise, saving time, and linking to someone who just ssys it better!

    1. It has been collaborating on this, Nan. And you do the same for me — say things just right that I don’t need to repeat, because all I have to do is point people over to you!

  5. Lines from two songs hit me as reading this: “I am woman, hear me roar” by Helen Reddy and “I wanna be like you, hoo hoo …” from The Jungle Book. :o)

    I, too, wanna live a life of gratitude and to be like you mention here, in so many ways. Luckily, I already have a couple of them down. In particular, I’m right beside ya on this: “I will fall short. I will be a PMS-y bitch. I will lose my temper and scream like a banshee. I will get a rejection letter and sink into days of funk.” Been there, done that, keep doing that. The funk just keeps on keeping on. But I’m grateful for it as it’s moving me toward my goal.

    Great post.

  6. Reading this I’m reminded we live in parallel universes, but we are LIVING!! Living fully and happily, good, bad, ugly, etc. I commend your courage– share the UN-PRETTY things, too! It is what it is and we love our chosen paths, right??

    My romantic tidbit (you’ll chuckle…)– sitting in a post-run state, hair stuck to my head, reading specs down on my nose because i can’t see after 6pm these days, socks and furry crocs on. Get the picture?? Ughhh. My husband looks at me and says (completely seriously): “You’re so fabulous it pisses me off.” Hahhahaaaahhahaha! Love that man! Good, bad, ugly, girl. 🙂

  7. Its times like these (after reading this post),that I am reminded just how much better Pamela expresses things than I do. And I don’t say that in a jealous way but in a proud one. I am so incredibly proud of what she is doing and happy for her, and also grateful to be in a situation where support is more important than competition.
    All that I can say is “what Pamela said” or something silly like that. She has described it perfectly for me too. I am very glad for us.

  8. I really like this post, Pamela.

    P.S. I have come to the same conclusion. We can’t change a thing. Our errors? The ones that make us cringe when we think of them? Those are the same ones that make us as wise as we are today. 🙂

    1. Thanks, Deb.

      Yes. Yes. Yes. I am a more empathetic person now b/c of some of the pain I have caused that in turn caused me pain. I could go on and on.

      I don’t even mind the pain I have let others cause me. I mind the pain I caused others. Ugh.

  9. It’s so refreshing to see and read someone’s affection for their spouse, lover, friend, guardian, punchin bag (hahahahahahaha), companion, and partner! You so truly love Eric! The love you two share is rare! I love my husband, but I don’t have that passion you two have.

    Just reading Deb’s comment above….we can’t change a thing. As much as we’d love to, we can’t. Cringing is an understatement in my case. And it’s funny that this year, that question has been asked more times than I can remember-if you could change anything, what would it be? OR if you could go back in time, what would you change?
    My answer would be everything. Starting from age 18 on. Life just isn’t turning out the way I planned. I won’t go into it, but I will just have do my best to make the best of it.

    I wish you and Eric many long and blissful years of loving happiness!

    1. Thanks, Irene.

      There are many, many, many things I regret and wish I had not done, don’t get me wrong. Whoa. I think I’ve posted on those before (Confessions of a Guilt Stricken Mom, Wasted Days & Wasted Nights), and could write whole books on regrets. What I wish I had was a magic wand so I could have both — a life of no regret, and Eric. I wonder if that is possible? I need a fairy godmother.

    1. Ah, if you are feeling good enough to write then as your fairy blogmother it will be my duty to hound you.
      Let that brain process away, and go Erin go!
      Hope you’re feeling less…bloated 🙂

  10. Here’s a romantic story for you: my husband left me for a shot girl he met in a strip club. But they’re still together 5 years later (despite breaking up and making up every third week for the entire 5 years), so it must be true love!

    Yes, I am a bitter bitch. The good news is that I can laugh about it.

    1. I love that you can laugh about it, and you are a funny, funny person. I love your blog.

      Still, I may put a voodoo hex on them today. My friend Heidi taught me how. 🙂

  11. I was thinking – people say “we can’t change a thing” but we can – we can change our today and our future. I remember looking in the bathroom mirror way back when, and saying to myself, “This has got to stop. You have to change what you are doing RIGHT NOW.” This was after a near-death experience that would have been my own fault thru stupidity. I made a 180 turn that night and life changed dramatically since then. My life is so blessed, it wiped out all my non-blessed years. I want what you want – both statements that you said – ” want to live a life of gratitude, I want to cherish my blessings, I want to focus on the positive, I want to find a way to laugh, I want to be a great mother, and I will do anything — ANYTHING — that will keep the intimacy between this man and me alive.” and “I will try. I will try so hard. I will never quit trying. And. I. Will. Always. Show. My. Husband. I. Want. Him. I. Respect. Him. I. Believe. In. Him. I. Am. Grateful. For. Him. I love him.”

    1. You have had such a dramatic contrast, old life versus new life. Bad choices versus good ones. Unhappy versus happy. You are living proof that making different choices can lead to a different life, even when it looks hopeless. So much to admire in you, Nan!

  12. Wow! I’m sorry you’ve dealt with all that and I’m awed at your positive attitude! Good for you! It is all about how we choose to deal with it, and how we deal with it with our significant other, isn’t it? The last couple of years has been HARD, and without details, I will say that Runner’s Knee AND plantar fasciitis for me, and shoulder surgery for my husband, have tried to steal my coping mechanism (running) from me, while struggling to make a living in the worst economy possible. But I dumped my focus into physical rehab, and even though we have our moments, my husband and I stand strong together to tackle whatever life throws our way!

  13. My husband is a romantic, but I am very practical. So over the years, he has adapted his romantic streak to show me how much he loves me in practical ways. When I wanted to go to law school, I knew we couldn’t afford the prep courses that get you ready for the LSATs. So, every time the deadline to sign up for the test came around, I’d flake out of signing up. So he did it for me. He waited until about 3 days before the test to tell me what he’d done (which was a good thing, b/c I didn’t think it was romantic or loving at the time!). So I went in and took the test blind. He believed in my ability to succeed, even when I didn’t. To me, that’s about as romantic as it gets.

    1. By the way, I’m loving your blog, and thanks so much for sending me your first book! I’ve got it downloaded and primed to read while I sit at the kid’s soccer practices this week!

      1. OH! That is so romantic – YES it is when someone wants the best for you, and better, knows you can do it. Alpha Hubby is like that – he says sometimes I look at him like he’s out of his mind over the simple, “You can do it” – but I’m here to tell you – those are powerful words!

    2. Oh man, I’m tearing up. When someone wants the best for you, and shows it in ways they have learned you can understand, wow. That’s giving. He sounds like a wonderful person.

  14. And I thought everything was perfect over there at the House of Hutchins!

    A little inperfection just makes you multi-dimensional,and it makes you better and stronger. But you know that.


  15. The most important thing I want to share is whenever my husband comes home from being gone- either to work, on a trip, or even just the golf course — my heart smiles very big the moment I see him.

    I am one very lucky woman.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *