Two Christmas trees, one home renovation, and 14 million views later, Troy Amdahl, author of Oola: Find Balance in an Unbalanced World, has a lesson for loved-up couples: focus on what brings joy to your partner, instead of pushing your own agenda.
A self-avowed “Christmas curmudgeon,” for decades Amdahl approached the holiday season with a debate: when to put up the Christmas tree. His wife, Kris, on the other hand, loves Christmas and everything about it—decorating the house, gatherings with their large family, making homemade gifts, the Hallmark movies, and most importantly, the meaning of the season. Married for 29 years, Troy and Kris met in kindergarten, went to the senior prom together, and eventually married and raised four children. Yet, through it all, Troy tried to rein in the holiday cheer.
As the first leaves started to fall, “no tree before Thanksgiving” was his policy. But he had a change of heart. A summertime home renovation gave Amdahl an idea. While on a family vacation, he quietly called back the decorators to fully decorate two stunning trees: one “blank canvas” for the many family ornaments the kids had made over the years, and another Pinterest-worthy tree to surprise his wife as she walked in the door.
“Why did I put these restrictions around when, what and how,” mused Amdahl, “when enjoying Christmas early gave my wife such joy?”
Amdahl thought back over all the years of encouragement and support his wife had given him, encouraging him to dream bigger and chart his own path. Even when, at age 42, Amdahl announced he wanted to retire from a successful career to spend more time at home and pursue a career in writing, Kris supported him and pressed him to fulfill his dreams.
Today, Amdahl has co-authored with Dave Braun numerous international bestselling books in the Oola series, and is committed to changing the world with their simple, yet life-changing message, “Find more balance in life and live the life you deserve.” On Halloween, he decided to walk the talk.
“My wife is one of the most humble and amazing people you will ever meet,” says Amdahl. “… always putting others ahead of herself.”
Yet he never expected her response when they returned to their home on Halloween. The tears of joy and hugs were worth it. Luckily their son was there to capture the magical moment, and Troy posted it to his Facebook page, 90 thousand shares later (and counting), and a “teachable moment” emerged.
“Love well the people who love and support you,” he says. “Invest in their dreams, even if they are different than your own.” By his wife’s reaction, he continues, “my only disappointment is that I didn’t do this years ago. Heck, if it makes someone I love this much, this happy, it can stay up all year as far as I’m concerned.” “OOLA for Christians: Find Balance and Grow,” is their newest book.