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Iron Sharpens Iron Series: Patrick Willis, Husband

If you are new to the Iron Sharpens Iron Series, I urge you to check out the inaugural post to learn more about what the series is all about.

Iron sharpens iron, and the people in my life sharpen me. They make me better. They make me more than I can be alone. And this series is about interactions I’ve had that make me better, that change my perspective, and that challenge me to grow. 

This is all about interactions that have left a lasting impression on me. No matter how small, or short the interaction, if it leaves an impression worth sharing, it will live in this series.

Patrick Willis


Patrick is my wonderful husband, a.k.a. the person that puts up with my shit more often than anyone else.

The Sharpening of Iron

This entry in the series is in honor of our wedding anniversary coming up in February. It feels incredibly sappy to be writing something like this, and anyone who knows me knows that I really suck at stuff like that.

Romantic is definitely not our thing as a couple. I tried to run away from my husband when he proposed to me (not because I wanted to say no, but because I was too dense to read the situation and realize what he was preparing to do). We got married in a jail. Our “honeymoon” was 2:00AM dinner at a Waffle House on a road trip across the country to move. 

Romantic is decidedly not in my repertoire. So let’s see how this goes…

My husband and I met at a time when neither of us wanted a relationship. The universe clearly felt otherwise. This story is actually about a series of interactions I didn’t even really know was happening until months later.

About 6 months after we started dating, my husband let me in on a little secret. For the entire first month of our relationship he was sneakily subjecting me to tests in an effort to find a reason to dump me

We both are incredibly independent people, and he’d been so happy flying solo he was looking for an excuse to go back. So he actively tried to find ways to get me to have some kind of negative reaction so he’d have an excuse to do just that.

My favorite test (again that I learned about after the fact) was the “running out of gas test.” On our third-ish date, he purposely ran out of gas on the way to drop me back off from our date. 

You see, one of his requirements of a relationship was a person who could be flexible and roll with the punches. So this was his way of testing my ability to do that. 

Needless to say, I passed his tests, despite his best efforts to rid himself of me. When he finally told me about all of this, my initial reaction was to be a little bit offended. But when I actually thought about it, he had just paid me the biggest compliment I could have ever asked for.

And it taught me something incredibly valuable, that is sometimes hard to admit: some relationships are worth investing in, and some are not.

Knowing what relationships not to invest time in, and figuring it out fast, is one of the most important skills a person can have. He taught me to be explicit in my efforts to evaluate relationships rather than leave it up to chance.

Choosing not to invest in the wrong relationships gives you the space to over-invest in the right ones. And that makes those relationships rock solid.

So thank you Babe, for teaching me how to build incredible relationships with those who deserve it, and for giving me the wisdom to know when not to invest further in relationships that don’t make sense. 

And also, thanks for marrying me, and giving me my two beautiful children, and blah blah blah…. (See, there goes my romantic side.)