My Life :

Last week David and I celebrated our 5th wedding anniversary!  In what has become a tradition we celebrated out on the boat watching fireworks.  See I like to think of myself as a smart wife, we were married on July 5th so I guaranteed that I’d get fireworks for my anniversary every year and most likely we would both be off for it :).  Also this way David can’t forget!  This anniversary we spent the better part of the day elbow deep in our boat’s engine trying to repair it to come home but we still managed a very late dinner and of course a glass of champagne to mark the occasion!

On Saturday as we faced a long journey home praying for enough wind to get us there I thought about the last 5 years and the symmetry our marriage has had with our sailing adventures.  In the beginning when we first got our small sailboat we argued every time we had to dock the thing.  Neither one of us really knew what we were doing or could express to the other what they needed to do.  Instead we just yelled when they didn’t do what we needed or we couldn’t understand what they expected of us.  Now when it came to our marriage that first year we didn’t yell but we didn’t talk and we didn’t express to the other what we needed.  It was a very rocky year.  Similar to our first weekend on the new sailboat where we were thisclose to selling it we almost gave up on our marriage too.  Ironically almost giving up is what led us to sailing.  It was suggested that we find an activity to do together to bring us closer and repair the damage we caused.  I remember hearing from other couples on the docks that if you can get through that first year of sailing together without a divorce you are golden.  At the time I thought great we took up sailing to not get divorced!

We kept at sailing though and learned some lessons along the way.  The first being the slower you come in to dock the better and the less risk of crashing and causing damage.  The second being if you are the only ones on the water in rough weather there might be a reason why and you should probably head back to the dock and check a weather report.  Once we got past those lessons we really started to love it.  We started to learn to work together as a team and instituted a no yelling rule.  We found ourselves always wanting to be out on the boat together.  There is really nothing to do on a boat on a nice day with a gentle breeze but hang out and talk to each other so that is what we did and what we do now.  As we fell more in love with sailing we stepped up to a bigger boat.  We talked about expanding our family too.  We both agreed that we wanted our babies out on the water with us, we want them to love the boat as much as we do!

As we grew closer together in our marriage we became a team on the boat.  One instance that sticks out in my mind was last summer when our engine wouldn’t start while out on the water (that’s becoming a trend it seems :() and we sailed it into the marina into a slip.  David handled the sail (our power) and I handled the wheel, we talked ahead of time about what was expected of the other and what to do in case of emergency (like crashing into the sea wall outside the marina).  It was a narrow path but we managed to keep the boat moving forward in the right direction and avoided the seawall by a couple feet.  She sailed right into a slip near the front and we docked without crashing.  High fives and celebratory alcohol was had as we figured out what was wrong.  A loose wire was our only problem and she was fixed in about 30 seconds!  I remember feeling like a solid team at that moment we took on a difficult challenge and overcame it!

Back to this past weekend, if you follow me on Facebook or Instagram you probably saw some photos documenting our journey home under sail only with no motor!  It only took about 13 hours of sailing and a lot of frayed nerves but we did it once again as a team.  All the lessons we have learned along the way were put into action that day.  I think it was even a great kick in the pants for us to not chicken out because the wind isn’t where we want it sometimes and fire up the motor.  Instead we had to turn the boat to where the wind was even if it wasn’t the direction we wanted to go exactly.  I impressed myself but not chickening out every time the wind went over my comfort level of 15 knots.  I held on at 17-18 knots with the boat heeled over a good bit and kept her under control and just rode the wind!

So to wrap up this very long blog post the point I really wanted to make is the wedding is just the beginning.  It is the start of your journey together as one and the seas will get rough and you will want to sell the boat at times but if you can get through the hard times it will make the good ones that much sweeter!  In the last 5 years my life has changed dramatically and I’m more in love with my husband now than ever!

Enjoy some moments from our weekend!  Yes that is my bloody head you’d think I would have learned by now where the hatch latch is!

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Maternity and Newborn Photography

I'm a Virginia born and raised photographer, DIYer, and educator sharing life, love and all my latest projects with you! Ready to chat about your photography needs - just click here!

xoxo, Melissa Arlena

diyer, sailor, mother, dog lover, military wife


based out of Fredericksburg, Virginia

540.307.0233 • [email protected]