I’ve been asked for marriage advice by many people within the fantasy football Twitter-sphere. I feel like it’s because my husband, Nate Polvogt, and I have made it work through so many trials and tribulations. We might look perfect on paper, but there’s a lot that goes into a functional relationship.
I’m no expert, by any stretch of the imagination. Yes, Nate is my second husband, but that doesn’t mean I know everything. I certainly know some things, but I only know a fraction of things and I’m happy to share my experiences.
In this edition of “Jen’s Friday Night Insights” I’ll lay out my first marriage successes and failures, then follow up with how I manage and enjoy my relationship with my second, and current (also, forever) husband.
It’s a very real and raw story that I’m about to share. It’s uncomfortable and relatable. It might just ruin everything we’ve worked so hard to achieve. But it’s us. And we’re real. I should probably keep this locked away in my journal forever, but I don’t want anyone to ever feel as isolated as I have felt. If this story reaches one person’s heart and makes a difference, then it’s all worth it.
Where It Started
I met my ex-husband, Jason in the smoking section of Denny’s on February 14, 1998. My first “real” boyfriend, broke up with me a few days prior to the traditional high school Sadie Hawkins dance and I went to the dance with a good male friend, instead of my boyfriend, as previously planned, because, you know, he just broke up with me.
We had a lovely evening and dinner was a group affair, as it typically was in these circumstances. We ended the night and the girls went out for some chicken tenders, fries and ranch dressing afterward.
We noticed a group of three guys who occupied a booth adjacent to us and decided to join them. After a very enjoyable conversation, one thing led to another and we exchanged numbers and then ended the night.
I had my eyes set on one named Mike. He was spontaneous and mysterious, yet looked like bad news. He was dark, handsome and had all the ingredients to drag my heart through a river of mud. We dated for a bit until he broke my heart.
Jason was there to pick up the pieces. He said all the right words and had an amazing bear hug that could melt all my woes away. He was genuine and loving and, most importantly, safe.
Jason and I dated for 6 years. He was with me through my high school graduation, then my college graduation and proposed marriage just before I graduated college. Everything smelled like roses through our engagement and marriage, until it started smelling like hard-boiled eggs.
Nothing significant happened. He wasn’t abusive, didn’t cheat on me and only treated me with respect. But it wasn’t enough. I met a guy who turned my world upside down in my second year of marriage to Jason. I was lying and stayed out late at night and found every excuse to not go home to Jason. It was a nightmare. And it was exciting.
I was 23-years-old at the time and went from my dad’s “payroll” to my husband’s “payroll.” Jason and I split our bills based on a percentage earnings scale. I made $12.50/hour in the movie promotions business vs. his $30-something-an-hour job in software engineering. I couldn’t compete, but I could contribute. And Jason knew that.
He came up with a fancy formula that took our income and expenses into account and we paid bills accordingly.
I digress, but it all comes down to one life lesson. Not everything in life can be deduced into one spreadsheet. We lacked true, romantic love. We loved each other as roommates, or siblings, not as husband and wife.
Hell, I still love the guy. I haven’t spoken in over a decade, but he’ll always be a part of my history. In total, we were married for 18 months, and together for almost 8 years. What I gained from that experience is priceless.
Where to Next?
Don’t sweat the small stuff. Shit happens and people make mistakes. Learn to forgive and attempt to forget. We’re all human. No one is perfect.
If there’s hair in the sink, rinse it down the drain. Don’t berate your other human until they’re beaten to a pulp and they feel like they can’t actually live in their own house.
Com. Mun. Ic. Ate. Speak up, but be respectful. Emotions can take over quickly. Take a walk and call someone you trust before you lay into the person you have to lie next to in bed.
Remember – you found joy, love and laughter with the person you chose at one point in time. If all else fails, and you’ve done everything you can (communicating, therapy and weekend get-a-ways), there’s always a respectful way to get out.
Jason and I didn’t end up working out in the end, but I gained the freedom to find my “forever” person. Nate is far from perfect, as am I, but we work every day to be perfect for each other. We communicate as best we can. We listen as best we can. We laugh. We forgive (that’s a big one, people). We don’t hold grudges and we don’t hold the past over each other’s heads.
We’re still new at this, even 12 years into our marriage and 15 years into our relationship. But, we work at it almost every day. We have shows we like to watch together. We like the same music (mostly). We have similar parenting styles and similar goals. We’re plenty different, but we agree on the big things in life. Reference “experience No. 1” (side note – autocorrect tried to turn “experience” into “whoring” and I almost left it in).
I quit my high-pissing (had to leave this one in because – you know – how could I not?) ahem. High-PAYING job to stay home with my then 1-year-old son, and Nate.
Where We Are Now
When the pandemic hit, nothing major changed for us. We had already been home together for about 2 years and did (and still do) everything together.
This lifestyle isn’t for everyone and I don’t encourage anyone to try it, but it works for us. We watch the same shows, go to bed at the same time, wake up at the same time, eat the same meals, share the same vices and have deep gratitude for each other’s existence.
We truly listen to each other. Like, really listen. We’re empathetic to each other’s points of view and put our egos aside. We give each other the space to be wrong and feel safe being wrong (another side note – I’m never wrong, so that’s helpful).
All joking aside with the last comment, it’s true. When you feel safe, you’re safe to share yourself, even if you’re in the wrong. Laugh together and at each other!
We recently took a trip to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico and were required to take a COVID-19 test to re-enter the United States. When we got the test results, I nonchalantly told Nate I was negative, then paused and gave our son, Jackson’s, results to him – negative.
Then I gave a long pause and told him he was positive. He immediately grabbed at his chest and tried to comprehend what I told him. I waited for approximately 2 seconds before I told him I was kidding and that his test came back negative.
Did he call me names and run off? No. Did he take a few minutes to recover from my “joke?” Yes. Did he shake for the following 10 minutes? Yes. Did we laugh about it? Yes.
It’s all about creating a safe space for you and your partner to feel free and to be themselves. No guilt. No stress. All freedom.
While speaking of new beginnings, let’s talk about the two quarterbacks who have recently been named the starter on their team and what it means for fantasy football.
Jen’s Friday Night Insights
Teddy Bridgewater (QB, Denver Broncos)
It took head coach, Vic Fangio, a great deal of time to name Teddy Bridgewater as the starting quarterback for the Broncos. We all held our breath through our drafts trying to figure out if we were going to draft Drew Lock, Bridgewater or neither. Through two preseason games, it became glaringly clear that Bridgewater had won the starting role.
He came out and looked confident. With 249 passing yards, two touchdowns and zero interceptions throughout the preseason, he should provide Denver with a fighting chance at the Wild Card, pending his performance against the Kansas City Chiefs in Weeks 8 and 13.
With running backs Javonte Williams and Melvin Gordon in the backfield, Bridgewater has a strong run game. And with receivers like Jerry Jeudy, Courtland Sutton and K.J. Hamler as reliable targets, I predict that Bridgewater will prove that he was the correct decision to lead the Broncos to a winning season.
That said, Bridgewater has, at best, mid-range QB3 potential in 2021. If you are looking for a bench stash that may have an occasional favorable match-up during the season, or to fill a bye week gap, there are worse targets at his current Average Draft Position (ADP) of QB43.
Jameis Winston (QB, New Orleans Saints)
As obvious as it was that Teddy Bridgewater would be named the starting QB for the Broncos, the same can be said for Jameis Winston in New Orleans. Sadness rained down on The Big Easy when future Hall-of-Famer Drew Brees announced his retirement after the 2020 season.
Backup QB and gadget-player, Taysom Hill, stepped in for an injured Brees as the starter for four games last year and threw for 834 yards, four touchdowns and two interceptions. Simply said, aside from his rushing, his performance to the eye was slightly underwhelming, but he did the job.
Winston was picked up by New Orleans in 2020 and only saw the field in four games, passing for 75 yards, zero touchdowns and no interceptions.
He led the league in passing yards in 2019 in his final year as the starting QB in Tampa Bay with 5,109. Conversely, he also led the league in interceptions with 30 to match his 30 touchdowns that year. Turnovers were Winston’s Achilles heel from 2015-2019 with the Buccaneers.
But it appears as if he spent his time under Brees wisely, as proven in the second game of the preseason where he threw the ball for 123 yards, completed nine of 10 attempts and managed two touchdowns. So long as he continues this trend, he’ll be a good stash for your bench at QB3.
I’m here to join the conversation, drink in hand and watch the upcoming 2021 NFL season unfold. Cheers! If you choose to make any of my drink recipes, I’d love to see them! Please take a picture and tag me!
Drink Recipe for the Month:
Gladiator Drop Shot
- 1 oz raspberry vodka
- 4 oz Red Bull
- 1 oz peach schnapps
- Red wine to use as a “floater”
- Combine raspberry vodka and Red Bull in a 12-oz glass
- In the shot glass with the peach schnapps, add a small layer of red wine on top
- Drop the shot glass in the 12oz glass and chug!
Thanks for reading, and follow me on Twitter for more motherly and fantasy sports advice @JenPolvogt.